Jan. 30, 2007
USF TRAVELS TO FRESNO FOR OPENING WEEKEND MATCH UP WITH THE BULLDOGS: The Dons play three against Fresno State February 2-4 in the opening weekend for both teams. Friday's game starts at 6:05 PM with Saturday and Sunday's first pitch at 1:05 PM.
DONS RANKED 32 IN BASEBALL AMERICA PRESEASON TOP-50: After setting the record for most wins (39) and making their first trip to an NCAA Regional in program history, USF has been ranked 32nd in the Baseball America preseason Poll. This is the second year in a row that the Dons have been ranked in the top 40 prior to the start of the season and the third time since 1998. San Francisco plays no fewer than eight teams ranked in the preseason top-50, headlined by a three game stint against 2006 College World Series champion Oregon State. The No. 16 Beavers host the Dons in Corvallis March 16-18. USF hosts No. 26 UC Riverside for three February 16-18, then travels to Palo Alto for a mid-week contest with No. 31 Stanford. The Dons play No. 37 Baylor twice, first at the Pacific Baseball Tournament in Stockton (March 2) and at the Baylor Baseball Tournament in Waco, Texas on March 9. USF will also meet No. 33 San Diego State in the Pacific Tournament on March 3 and No. 23 Winthrop at the Baylor Tournament on March 10. Two conference foes also made the list. USF will host No. 19 Pepperdine at Benedetti Diamond on April 20-22, and travel south to take on No. 46 San Diego May 4-6.
Aaron Poreda NAMED TO WALLACE AND CLEMENS AWARDS WATCH LISTS: Junior LHP Aaron Poreda was named to the 2007 Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, as announced by the College Baseball Foundation. Poreda led the WCC with a 2.49 ERA last season and helped San Francisco to a program record 39 wins and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The left-hander went 8-5 in 18 appearances and 17 starts, while striking out 75 batters en route to first team All-WCC honors. The Moraga, CA native tossed 6.2 innings to earn the victory in USF's historic 5-1 win over No. 6 national seed Nebraska at the Lincoln, NE Regional last June. Poreda was also named to the watch list for the Roger Clemens Award, an award given to Collegiate Baseball's best pitcher.
DONS WIN FIRST EVER WCC CHAMPIONSHIP AND PLAY IN FIRST EVER NCAA REGIONAL: After earning a share of the West Coast Conference title (with Pepperdine) for the first time in program history, the Diamond Dons earned their first ever trip to an NCAA Regional. In game one of the Lincoln, NE Regional, USF fell to Miami 11-2. The Dons earned a 5-1 victory over Nebraska in game two, but fell to Manhattan 6-4 to end their season.
HEAD COACH Nino Giarratano REACHES MILESTONE: Giarratano enters the 2007 campaign with 222 victories at USF and is just the fifith coach in Dons athletics history to surpass 200 victories on the Hilltop. His 200th victory wan an 8-2 win over eventual National Champion (No. 12) Oregon State on March 29. Giarratano joined NSCAA Hall-of-Famer Steve Negoesco (544), baseball legend Dante Benedetti (373), women's basketball All-American Mary Hile-Nepfel (270) and baseball's Ken Boman (209) in the 200 victory club.
SCOUTING REPORT - WEEK 1
GAME #1-3 - FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE: The 2006 WAC baseball champion Fresno State returns to the field to take on San Francisco on February 2-4. Fifth-year head coach Mike Batesole led the squad to one of their best records in school history with 45 wins and only 18 losses. The Bulldogs have now made 29 NCAA tournament appearances and have 27 conference championships in the program's history. Key returners for the Bulldogs include junior outfielder Steve Susdorf who recorded a .329 batting average with 74 hits and shared the lead in home runs with 14. Junior outfielder Ozzie Lewis recorded a .331 batting average with 50 hits and 23 RBI's. Lewis also earned earned WAC Tournament MVP honors, after hitting .588 with two home runs and two doubles in four games. Sophomore Brian Lapin hit .349 with 42 RBI's. Lapin garnered Second-Team All-WAC as an outfielder. One of the fastest players in the Bulldog lineup is senior utility/outfielder Loren Storey who stole 21 bases in 25 attempts. He also earned First-team All-WAC outfielder. Sophomore second baseman Eric Wetzel started every game for the Bulldogs recording a .325 batting average registering 48 runs, 66 hits and 27 RBI's. Wetzel also earned First-Team All-WAC. Senior, Brandon Burke will highlight the pitching core this year as he recorded eight wins with a 3.88 ERA.
LAST MEETINGS: Fresno State 4, USF 3 (3/1/06); Fresno State 5, USF 2 (3/8/06).
LAST TIME AGAINST THE DONS: USF couldn't hold a first inning lead as they fell to Fresno State 4-3 in game one. The Dons managed only five hits against the Bulldogs. San Francisco started off the scoring in the first inning. Sophomore infielder Joey Railey hit a come-backer to Bulldog starter Doug Fister (3-1), sophomore shortstop Tavo Hall hit a flare to right and junior left-handed pitcher Scott Cousins added an RBI single. After senior outfielder Stefan Gartrell was hit to load the bases, Fister struck out sophomore outfielder Luke Sommer. Junior catcher Daniel Morales then hit a shot to Fresno's third baseman Adam O'Daniel, who missed the ball, allowing two more runs to score. Cousins made his first start of 2006, throwing four innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits, no walks and two strikeouts. Fresno's two other runs came off junior right-hander John Quine who threw 1.2 innings of relief allowing two hits and striking out three.
For the second time in a row against Fresno State the Dons scored first, but were unable to hold the lead as they fell to the Bulldogs 5-2 in game two. Sophomore left-hander Aaron Poreda started strong, going 5.1 innings allowing only one walk and striking out 4. He was however victimized by poor defense and allowed four runs (two earned). Senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan was charged with Fresno's final run in the sixth. Offensively, sophomore infielder Joey Railey added two hits to his team leading total and added his third stolen base of the year. Junior catcher Jon Norfolk also had two hits on the night. Junior outfielder Scott Cousins had an RBI double in the first and freshman utility man Zach Kim added an RBI single in the sixth.
WEST COAST CONFERENCE AWARDS: Last season USF earned WCC Player of the Year (LHP/OF Scott Cousins), Co-Pitcher of the Year (RHP Patrick McGuigan), and Coach of the Year. Four players were named to the first team (Cousins, McGuigan, OF Stefan Gartrell and LHP Aaron Poreda). Shortstop Andrew Smith earned Second Team honors. Another four were named to the Honorable Mention Team (OF Luke Sommer, INF Joey Railey, UT Blake Nelson, and LHP Cole Stipovich).
DONS PICKED TO FINISH SECOND (WITH SAN DIEGO) IN THE WCC PRESEASON POLL: With 41 points (one first place vote), the Dons and San Diego were picked to finish second in the West Coast Conference pre-season baseball poll. San Francisco enjoyed the best campaign in program history last season, setting a program record with 39 wins and earning selection to its first-ever NCAA Regional. The Dons led the WCC with a 2.69 team ERA in conference contests a year ago, and return the league's ERA leader from last season in junior Aaron Poreda. Pepperdine was tapped to finish first with 47 points (six first place votes). LMU was picked fourth (28 points), Gonzaga (25, points), Santa Clara (19 points), St. Mary's (16, points), and Portland (8 points).
Aaron Poreda EARNS WCC EAR TITLE: Aaron Poreda claimed the WCC ERA title with an impressive 2.49 ERA during the 2006 season, becoming the second straight USF hurler to pace the circuit in that category.
DONS LEAD WCC IN STEALS: The Dons led the WCC in steals for the third straight season last year, swiping a league-high 83 bags. Joey Railey is USF's top returning base thief after stealing 14 bases in 18 attempts.
OUTFIELD A STRENGTH FOR THE DONS IN 2007: With three starters returning and a deep bench, the Dons outfield will be the biggest strength on the diamond this season. Senior Jonnie Knoble is rehabbed from a season ending injury and will start in right field. Senior Lucas DeLong, the team leader in homeruns (8) will make the start in center and junior Luke Sommer, who led the team in doubles (15), will start in left. Sophomore Zach Kim and transfer Matt Lieb will backup.
DANTE BENEDETTI CLASSIC: San Francisco will host the Second Annual Dante Benedetti Classic, scheduled for April 6 against ancient Bay Area and WCC rival Santa Clara. Game time at AT&T Park is set for Noon, preceding the Giants-Dodgers game that night. Last season, the Dons took an exciting 4-3 game from Cal. The Classic celebrates the legacy of a giant in San Francisco baseball. Benedetti, who coached USF for 16 years for an annual salary of one dollar, passed away in November of 2005 at the age of 86 after a long illness.
DONS PLAY IN THREE TOURNAMENTS IN 2007: USF competes in the River City Classic (Februaru 23-25) at Sacramento State and UC Davis. Other teams participating are the host Hornets and Aggies, Oregon State, and St. Mary's. The second tournament will be in Stockton, CA at the University of the Pacific (March 2-4). The Dons square off against national power Baylor, San Diego State, and the host Tigers. The last national tournament the Dons will participate in is the Baylor Baseball Tournament (March 9-11) with games against the host Bears, Winthrop and Mississippi State. Every member of the Baylor Tournament appeared in the Top-25 last year.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH: Brian Chavez, a 6-2, 185-pound junior transfer from College of the Canyons, is one of the best infielders in the state. He has been drafted twice, first by the Seattle Mariners in 2004 and then by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2005. He finished the 2006 season batting .306 with 10 doubles, two triples, four homeruns, 26 RBI and 25 runs scored... Two-way player, junior transfer Tommy Peale had a stellar sophomore campaign at Long Beach City College. On the mound, the right-hander was 16-0 with a 1.48 ERA, three complete games, three shutouts and 90 strikeouts. At the plate, the 6-4, 230-pounder batted .341, 60 hits, eight doubles, two homeruns, 29 RBI and 26 runs scored... Junior transfer Matt Lieb (Fresno City College) will be looked on to bolster the already talented outfield. In 2006, he batted .290 with 42 hits, six doubles, one triple, five homeruns, 42 walks, 44 runs, and 33 RBI along with seven stolen bases... Matt Baugh, junior transfer from the University of Arizona, is a Bay Area product, hailing from Antioch, CA. In his sophomore season with the Wildcats, Baugh went 2-1 with a 5.53 ERA in 16 appearances (one start), one save, and 41 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched... Freshman Chase Tigert (Lancaster, CA), like Peale, is a double threat. The 6'5" Tigert was named as one of the top 200 high school players in the nation and has racked up a 92 on the radar gun. In his senior season at Quartz Hill High School, Tigert won six games, including a complete game shutout, and struck out 42 batters. At the plate, Tigert batted .505 with 15 doubles, four triples, seven homeruns, 39 RBI and a .989 slugging percentage... Bay Area product, Alex Kalogrides (San Jose, CA), has been clocked as high as 94 mph and uses a darting slider and a split-like change up to beat hitters. In his senior season at Santa Teresa High School, Kalogrides was 9-2 with an 0.61 and 82 strikeouts in 69 innings... Derek Poppert comes to USF after four standout seasons at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, CA. The shortstop batted .456 with 10 doubles, two homeruns, 27 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 24 games during his senior campaign... Southern California native, freshman Sean Wilson, played four years at Orange High School in Orange, CA. In his senior season, the shortstop batted .443 with six doubles, four triples, three homeruns, 20 RBI, and eight stolen bases.
RETURNERS TO WATCH: Junior Aaron Poreda was a WCC First Team Selection last season after going 8-5 with a 2.49 ERA, 75 strikeouts and two complete games in 112 innings as USF's Sunday starter. In 2007, the lefty will start on Friday's. Poreda's eight wins in 2006 are enough to put him in an eight way tie for third in a single season. His ten total wins are two away from a top ten ranking on the Dons all-time wins chart... Junior Joey Railey (2006 WCC Honorable Mention) had a fantastic 2006 in the unfamiliar third base position, but will move back to second base this year. Railey finished the season with a .338 batting average, 81 hits (12 doubles, two triples, and two homeruns), 31 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Railey's 81 hits put him in a two-way tie for fifth on the single season hits chart... Lucas DeLong starts his final season as a Don in centerfield. Last year he batted .249 with 10 doubles, a triple and a team leading eight homeruns. The spectacular defender only had one error on the year... Junior Luke Sommer (2006 WCC Honorable Mention) was the doubles King last season with 15. Sommer will get the start in left and possibly spot start or come out of the bullpen.
USF BASEBALL PLACES FIVE ON THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE/RAWLINGS 40TH ANNIVERSARY TEAM: USF Baseball placed five on the West Coast Conference/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team as announced by the league office today. The 40-man team was selected by a 30-member voting panel comprised of WCC administrators, league institutions, national collegiate baseball writers and local media members. Those eligible for nomination were student-athletes that participated in the sport of baseball at one of the WCC's eight current member institutions from 1968 to 2006. Also eligible for nomination were student-athletes who participated for any of the five WCC institutions that took part in Northern California Baseball Association (NCBA) and Southern California Baseball Association (SCBA) play from 1977 to 1984.Infielder Taggert Bozied (1998-01), infielder Jermaine Clark (1995-97), OF/LHP Scott Cousins (2004-06), LHP Dana Hendershott (1969-71) and INF Arnie Sambel (1987-90) represent the Diamond Dons on elite list of student-athletes. USF's five selections account for a combined seven First Team All-America selections, two WCC Player of the Year and nine All-WCC First Team selections.