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Three Zags Named To WCC 40th Anniversary Team

Jan. 5, 2007

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SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Three former Gonzaga University baseball standouts have been named to the West Coast Conference/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team, as announced by the conference office. Former Bulldogs Jason Bay, Nate Gold and Barry Matthews were named to the ceremonial team that consists of 40 of the top players that have graced WCC baseball diamonds over the past four decades.

Only individuals from the league's current membership were eligible for selection, with primary focus placed on each player's collegiate accomplishments. The WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team was selected by a 30-member voting panel comprised of WCC administrators, league institutions, national collegiate baseball writers, and local media members.

"The West Coast Conference is proud to announce the selection of the WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team," said Commissioner Michael Gilleran. "The west is traditionally one of the strongest regions in the nation for baseball, and our conference has competed successfully at a national level since 1968, which is a testament to the league's baseball coaches and the administrations that support our eight programs. I would like to recognize and commend the 40 individuals that were selected, and would like to thank Rawlings for their role in honoring these outstanding student athletes."

"Rawlings is proud of its long standing relationship with the West Coast Conference and is honored to be a part of this project," said Rawlings Western Regional Sales Manager Dave Bracci. "Rawlings hopes to continue its support of collegiate baseball nationwide."

The WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team features an impressive collection of past collegiate standouts from the conference's eight member institutions. Included on the list of honorees are 24 players that received WCC Player or Pitcher of the Year recognition during their collegiate careers, 27 All-Americans, 11 Freshman All-Americans, and two Academic All-Americans. Highlighting the compilation are 23 players that have played baseball at the Major League level. WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team athletes have combined to make seven Major League Baseball All-Star Game appearances and seven players that participated in MLB games during the 2006 season are included on the list.

Highlighting the Gonzaga trio named to the team is a two-time Major League Baseball All-Star, Bay. The 2004 National League Rookie of the Year compiled a .374 career average with125 runs, 152 hits, 24 doubles, 35 home runs and 121 runs batted as a Bulldog. He currently ranks in GU record books in single-season categories for runs (65), hits (80), home runs (20, 15) and RBI (74). Bay is a two-time All-WCC first team selection and was the conference batting champion in 2000 with a .388 average. After being drafted in the 22nd round of the 2000 draft, Bay played for the San Diego Padres before joining his current team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bay was selected to represent the National League during the 2005 and 2006 All-Star Games and was voted a starter by fan voting for the 2006 classic.

Gold reigns as the WCC single-season home run king having hit a league-record 33 long balls during the 2002 season. His home run record also set a Gonzaga program record and led the NCAA as well as earning him WCC Player of the Year accolades. He was also named a first team Collegiate Baseball All-American in 2002. During his time in Spokane, Gold posted a .307 career average with 147 hits, 95 runs, 46 home runs and 124 RBI. A two-time All-WCC honoree, Gold set conference a program records with a single-season total of 76 RBI. His 46 career home runs place him second on the WCC career list. Gold was selected in the 10th round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers and was named the Texas Rangers Minor League Player of the Year in 2006.

Matthews was one of the top two-way players in Gonzaga history, holding spots in both the hitting and pitching record books. At the plate, Matthews compiled a .332 career average with 144 runs, 207 hits, 46 doubles, 29 home runs and 130 RBI. On the mound, he posted a 21-12 career record, registering a 5.01 earned run average with 11 complete games, 284 innings pitched and 215 strikeouts. The three-time All-WCC selection ranks on the GU single season lists for at-bats (224), doubles (17), innings pitched (106) and strikeouts (83). He also holds spots in the Gonzaga career record books for runs (144), doubles (46), home runs (29), innings pitched (284), wins (21), strikeouts (215) and complete games (11). During the 200 season, Matthews strung together the longest hitting streak in Bulldog history, collecting hits in 26 consecutive games. The 2001 first team Collegiate Baseball All-American signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers in 2001.

Pepperdine led all WCC programs with 13 former standouts earning selection to the WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team. Seven former LMU players also earned a spot; while Bay Area rivals Saint Mary's and San Francisco each placed five players on the team. Santa Clara was not far behind with four honorees, followed by Gonzaga with three, San Diego with two, and Portland with one former player recognized.

For a complete list of the WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team, including accomplishments of all recognized, please view the full release.