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WCC Baseball Weekly Notes - 1/23

Jan. 23, 2007

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Baseball Season Begins This Week

The 2007 baseball season opens this week, and the new year promises to be a banner campaign for the West Coast Conference. Three WCC teams are ranked heading into the season, with Pepperdine being ranked as high as No. 19 in the preseason polls. USF checked in at No. 32 and San Diego was listed at No. 46 in the Baseball America preseason poll, while four conference players were named to the Wallace Award watch list for the upcoming season. In all, 13 first and second team All-WCC selections from 2006 return to conference diamonds this spring.

Three league teams begin the season this weekend, with Saint Mary's and San Diego playing series at home, while Santa Clara travels to Hawai'i to begin the campaign. The Toreros will host Cal Poly for a three-game set beginning on Friday, and the Gaels welcome Nevada to Louis Guisto Field this weekend.

The West Coast Conference is coming off of one of the most successful seasons in league history, as three teams (Pepperdine, San Diego, and San Francisco) earned postseason bids in 2006, marking just the second time that three WCC squads earned selection.

Upcoming Games

Jan. 26
Nevada at Saint Mary's - 2:00 PM
Cal Poly at San Diego - 2:00 PM
Santa Clara at Hawai'i - 9:35 PM

Jan. 27
Nevada at Saint Mary's - 1:00 PM
Cal Poly at San Diego - 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at Hawai'i - 4:05 PM

Jan. 28
Nevada at Saint Mary's - 1:00 PM
Cal Poly at San Diego - 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at Hawai'i - 4:05 PM

Around The WCC

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's Preseason All-Americans
San Diego's Brian Matusz and three returning Pepperdine standouts were 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. Matusz snagged third team All-American honors from Baseball America.

WCC Team Notes

Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Zags finished the 2006 season with a 29-24 overall mark, and a 9-12 record in WCC play.

- Second team All-WCC selections Darin Holcomb and Ryan Wiegand return to Spokane after combining to drive in 102 runs last season.

- The Zags set a program record and tied the WCC mark with a .976 team fielding percentage last season. Gonzaga players committed just 17 errors in conference play, setting another league record.

- Clayton Mortensen posted a 6-8 record with a 5.89 ERA last season, and returns to anchor the GU weekend rotation.

- Gonzaga opens the 2007 season at No. 27 ranked Arizona on February 2.

LMU Lions (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- LMU closed out the 2006 season with an 11-10 mark in WCC play and a 24-32 overall record.

- The Lions welcome back their entire weekend rotation from last season, headlined by junior Brad Meyers. Meyers went 8-4 as a sophomore, and ranked sixth in the WCC with a 3.23 ERA.

- Andy Beal and Daniel Macias round out the returning starting pitchers, as the duo combined to post 10 victories for LMU last season.

- Sean Dovel ranked second in the conference with 22 doubles last season, the eighth-highest single-season doubles total in LMU history.

- The Lions host Sacramento State on February 2 to begin the 2007 season.

Pepperdine Waves (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- Pepperdine earned its third straight WCC Championship Series title last season, and hosted an NCAA Regional in Malibu for the first time in program history.

- The Waves' returning group features three preseason All-Americans in Barry Enright, Brett Hunter, and Danny Worth. Enright was named WCC Co-Pitcher of the Year last season, and enters the new year with a 13-0 all-time mark against conference opponents.

- Hunter led the WCC with 11 saves en route to first team All-WCC honors last season, becoming the first freshman since 2001 to lead the league in saves.

- Adrian Ortiz is the top returning hitter in the WCC after batting .340 a year ago.

- The Waves travel to UNLV on February 2 to kick off the new campaign.

Portland Pilots (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- Portland finished the 2006 season with a 15-37 overall record and a 3-18 mark against conference opponents.

- The Pilots led the WCC with 49 home runs as a team last season, marking the first time that a Portland squad has paced the circuit in that category.

- Portland 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 last season.

- Returning infielder Danny Meier hit nine home runs last season to tie for the team lead.

- The Pilots begin their 2007 slate with a road trip to California on February 2.

Saint Mary's Gaels (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Gaels closed out the 2006 campaign with a 26-25 record, marking the first time since 1991 that a Saint Mary's squad has finished with a record above .500.

- The Gaels will feature a league-high 25 newcomers this season including highly touted pitcher Sean Gleason, who went 18-3 with 125 strikeouts in two years at Lamar Community College in Colorado.

- Joel Staples returns to the Saint Mary's lineup after earning All-WCC second team honors as a freshman. Staples batted .279 with a league-high five triples last season.

- Senior Eric Cattoni led the Gaels in doubles (16), walks (30), and steals (17) a year ago.

- The Gaels host Nevada at Louis Guisto Field for a three-game set this weekend.

San Diego Toreros (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- San Diego earned its first-ever at large selection to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, marking the third postseason appearance in the last five seasons for the Toreros.

- Three seniors will highlight the Torero lineup as Jordan Abruzzo (.314/8/58), Daniel Magness (.313/2/22), and Shane Buschini (.290/5/32) all return to Alcala Park. Abruzzo is a three-time All-WCC selection, while Buschini was tabbed for All-WCC first team honors in 2005.

- Josh Romanski became the second Torero in the last three seasons to be named WCC Freshman of the Year. One of the top two-way players in the WCC, Romanski batted .287 with four home runs as an outfielder and posted a 5-4 mark with five saves on the mound in 2006.

- The Toreros open the 2007 campaign at home, welcoming Cal Poly to Cunningham Stadium for three games this weekend.

San Francisco Dons (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- San Francisco received its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, posting a historic 5-1 win over No. 6 national seed Nebraska, giving USF a program record 39 wins for 2006 season.

- The Dons led the WCC in steals for the third straight season last year, swiping a league-high 83 bags. Joey Railey is San Francisco's top returning base thief after stealing 14 bases in 18 attempts a year ago.

- Aaron Poreda claimed the WCC ERA title with a sparkling 2.49 ERA during the 2006 season, becoming the second straight USF hurler to pace the circuit in that category.

- Tavo Hall (.279/0/8) looks to return to shortstop after missing much of 2006 due to injury.

- The Dons will travel to Fresno State to begin the 2007 season on February 2.

Santa Clara Broncos (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- Santa Clara wrapped up the season with a 28-26 mark, and a 9-12 record in conference play.

- A pair of redshirt freshman hurlers made a name for themselves at Santa Clara during the 2006 season. Matt Wickswat, a transfer from Gonzaga, posted a 9-2 record in 14 starts and led the team with 66 strikeouts during his first season at SCU. Mark Willinsky emerged as one of the top closers in the WCC, nailing down nine saves and making 28 appearances in 2006.

- Matt Long earned Freshman All-American honors after ranking second on the team in batting (.338), hits (71), and stolen bases (7) last season. Long was alson a WCC All-Freshman team selection along with fellow Broncos Brady Fuerst and Wickswat.

- The Broncos open the 2007 season on the road, traveling to Hawai'i for a three-game series this weekend.