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2007 WCC Baseball Preview

Jan. 18, 2007

Complete 2007 WCC Baseball Preview
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WCC Preseason Notes

West Coast Conference Announces WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team
In honor of the West Coast Conference celebrating its 40th season of sponsoring the sport of baseball, the conference office is proud to announce the selection of the WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team. The ceremonial team consists of 40 of the top players that have graced West Coast Conference 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.

For the complete WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Team Release Click Here

Pepperdine Tabbed As Favorite In 2007 WCC Preseason Poll
Pepperdine was chosen as the favorite to capture its fourth straight West Coast Conference baseball title in the 2007 preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches. The Waves, who have been ranked as high as No. 19 in the preseason polls, received six first place votes and a total of 47 points to edge out San Diego and 2006 WCC regular season co-champion San Francisco for first place in the listing. Headlining the list of returners for Head Coach Steve Rodriguez is 2006 WCC Co-Pitcher of the Year Barry Enright, who has been named to the Brooks Wallace Award and Roger Clemens Award preseason watch lists. The Toreros and Dons tied for the second place spot with 41 points apiece, with each team garnering a first place vote. LMU checked in at No. 4 with 28 points, just ahead of Gonzaga which received 25 points to grab the No. 5 spot. Santa Clara was tabbed for a sixth place finish with 19 points, while Saint Mary's and Portland were picked to finish seventh and eighth with 16 and eight points, respectively.

Three WCC Teams Garner Preseason Rankings
Pepperdine, San Diego, and San Francisco were each listed among the nation's elite heading into the 2007 campaign. The Waves were ranked No. 19 in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball preseason poll. The Waves also checked in at No. 20 in the initial National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) listing. San Francisco garnered a No. 32 ranking in the Baseball America poll, and were listed at No. 36 in the Collegiate Baseball rankings. The Dons also received votes in the NCBWA poll. San Diego begins the season at No. 46 in the Baseball America Top-50, and received votes in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll along with conference rivals LMU and Santa Clara.

WCC Pitching Standouts Named To Preseason Watch Lists
Six different WCC pitchers were named to the preseason watch lists for the Brooks Wallace and Roger Clemens Awards. Four players were named to both preseason compilations, as LMU right-hander Brad Meyers joined Pepperdine's Barry Enright, San Diego's Brian Matusz, and San Francisco's Aaron Poreda on the watch lists for both the Wallace and Clemens Awards. Pepperdine relief pitcher Brett Hunter and Santa Clara closer Mark Willinsky were each named to the Clemens Award watch list, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate pitcher. Below is a listing of WCC players on the preseason watch lists and their key statistics from the 2006 season.

Pepperdine's Preseason All-Americans
Three Pepperdine players have been tabbed for 2007 preseason All-American honors. Right-hander Barry Enright, the 2006 WCC Co-Pitcher of the Year, received second team All-American accolades from both Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Wave closer Brett Hunter was named third team All-American by the NCBWA, and shortstop Danny Worth was named as a third team selection by Collegiate Baseball.

WCC Enjoys Record Breaking 2006 Season
The West Coast Conference closed out one of the most successful seasons in conference baseball history, as three WCC teams earned selection to the postseason for the first time since 1988 ... Pepperdine hosted its first-ever NCAA Regional at Eddy D. Field Stadium ... San Francisco received its first bid to the NCAA Tournament after claiming a share of the WCC regular season title for the first time in program history. The Dons set a program record for wins with 39 overall victories during the 2006 season ... San Diego earned an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time, and made the program's third postseason appearance in the last five seasons. The Toreros recorded a historic three-game sweep over No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Texas to open the 2006 campaign in February ... Gonzaga received the program's first national ranking since 1981, as the Zags checked in at No. 29 in the Collegiate Baseball poll on February 13 ... Pepperdine and San Diego were both ranked in the top-10 in the February 20 CBN poll, marking the first time that two conference squads have been ranked in the top-10 at the same time ... Pepperdine's David Uribes broke the WCC all-time hits record, pounding out 328 base hits during his four years in Malibu ... A record 25 WCC players were selected by MLB clubs in the 2006 MLB Draft, snapping the previous high of 19.

WCC Team Notes

Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-24/9-12 WCC)
Gonzaga will open a new ballpark this season, beginning play in Washington Trust Field at Patterson Baseball Complex in March ... The Zags tied a WCC record with a .976 fielding percentage last year, committing just 49 errors as a team ... A pair of big bats return in second team All-WCC honorees Darin Holcomb and Ryan Wiegand. The duo combined to drive in 102 runs last season, with Holcomb ranking third in the WCC with 57 RBI ... Gonzaga earned a No. 29 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball poll on February 13 of last year, marking the first time since 1981 that a GU squad has been ranked.

Loyola Marymount Lions (24-32/11-10 WCC)
Head Coach Frank Cruz will have to replace four position starters from last year's team that went 11-10 in conference play, but welcomes back LMU's entire weekend rotation from a year ago in Brad Meyers, Daniel Macias, and Andy Beal ... Meyers, a Clemens Award candidate, highlights the returning group after going 8-4 as a sophomore and ranking sixth in the WCC with a 3.23 ERA ... Junior infielder Eric Farris also returns after batting .332 and swiping a team-high 18 bases last season.

Pepperdine Waves (42-21/15-6 WCC)
The Waves will be looking for a fourth straight conference title this season after sharing the regular season crown with USF last season and winning the WCC Championship Series ... Pepperdine has appeared in all eight WCC Championship Series events since 1999, winning the last three straight ... The Waves return seven position starters, including outfielder Adrian Ortiz (.340/1/28) and shortstop Danny Worth (.310/3/38) ... Preseason All-American pitcher Barry Enright has posted a 13-0 career record against WCC teams during his two years in Malibu.

Portland Pilots (15-37/3-18 WCC)
The Pilots will look to improve on last season's 15-37 overall record and a 3-18 mark in conference play ... Portland clubbed a league-high 42 home runs last season, marking the first time that a Pilot squad has paced the conference in dingers ... Junior Danny Meier returns after batting .305 and tying for the team lead with nine home runs last season ... Head Coach Chris Sperry also welcomes back four starting pitchers from last year's rotation in Ari Ronick, Sean Sargent, Josh Roberts, and Blaine Hardy. The quartet combined to start 42 of UP's 52 games during the 2006 campaign.

Saint Mary's Gaels (26-25/9-12 WCC)
The Gaels posted a 26-25 overall record last season, marking the first time since 1991 that an SMC squad has finished a season with a record above .500 ... Head Coach Jedd Soto loses six position starters and four starting pitchers from 2006, including five players that received All-WCC honors ... SMC will re-load with a conference-high 25 newcomers ... Returning for the Gaels is second team All-WCC honoree Joel Staples, who batted .279 with a league-high five triples as a freshman.

San Diego Toreros (33-25/13-8 WCC)
San Diego earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five seasons last year, and received an at-large bid for the first time in program history ... Head Coach Rich Hill can reach the 600-win mark with USD's first victory this season. He became just the third skipper in history to eclipse the 200-win barrier in WCC games last season ... Josh Romanski became the second Torero in the last three years to be named WCC Freshman of the Year ... Jordan Abruzzo returns for his senior year after finishing second in the WCC with 58 RBI. Abruzzo was selected in the 39th round of the 2006 MLB draft.

San Francisco Dons (39-23/15-6 WCC)
San Francisco won a share of its first-ever regular season WCC title last year, collecting a program record 39 wins and receiving a bid to an NCAA Regional for the first time in program history ... The Dons led the WCC in steals for the third straight season in 2006, swiping a league-high 83 bags ... Shortstop Tavo Hall returns after missing a portion of last season due to injury. Hall batted .279 with nine steals in limited action ... Junior left-hander Aaron Poreda posted a 2.49 ERA to become the second straight Don to lead the conference in that category.

Santa Clara Broncos (28-26/9-12 WCC)
The Broncos featured one of the top freshman classes in the conference last season, as two SCU newcomers earned second team All-WCC honors, and three Broncos were named to the WCC All-Freshman Team ... Relief pitcher Mark Willinsky was named to the Roger Clemens Award preseason watch list after ranking second in the conference with nine saves as a freshman ... Left-hander Matt Wickswat recorded a 9-2 mark in his first season on the Mission Campus, and struck out a league-high 42 batters in WCC play.