Feb. 6, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. -
THIS WEEKEND: The Gonzaga University baseball team will look for its first win of the 2007 season this weekend when it travels to Riverside, Calif. to take on UC - Riverside. The three-game series will begin Friday at 3 p.m. and will continue throughout the weekend. Game times for both Saturday and Sunday are scheduled for 1 p.m. The three-game set will mark the first time the two schools have met on the ball field.
LAST WEEKEND: Last weekend, the Gonzaga University baseball team struggled against then-No. 27 University of Arizona in the opening weekend of the season, falling in all three games to the Wildcats. Friday, the Bulldogs dropped a 14-0 decision, narrowly avoiding a no-hitter. Evan Wells recorded the lone Gonzaga hit, a single, in the top of the ninth inning. Saturday, Arizona defeated the Zags 10-3. In the game, Gonzaga stranded 11 runners on base, including six in scoring position. Sunday, Gonzaga dropped the third game of the series, 12-1. The lone Bulldog run was scored in the seventh inning when Aaron McGuinness was plated on a single by Mark Castellitto.
ON DECK: Next weekend, Feb. 16-18, the Gonzaga University baseball team will defend its tournament title at the Coca-Cola Spring Training Baseball Classic in Surprise, Ariz. Also participating at the tournament will be defending national champion Oregon State University, No. 12 Arizona State University and the University of Missouri. Last season at the tournament, Gonzaga defeated then-No. 10 Arizona State (9-1), Nevada (11-5) and then-No. 2 Oregon State (6-5) en route to the tournament title.
McGUINNESS OFF TO HOT START: Gonzaga University senior Aaron McGuinness started the 2007 season off on a hot note, going 5-for-9 in the opening weekend of play. The shortstop led the Bulldogs in the three-game series against the University of Arizona, batting .556 with two runs scored and eight total bases. For the weekend, he recorded a .889 slugging percentage. In Saturday's 10-3 loss, McGuinness fell a home run short of hitting for the cycle. He recorded a single in his first at-bat in the second inning, before smashing a triple to left field in the sixth and a double to right center in the eighth frame.
LONG ROAD SWING: The Gonzaga University baseball team will continue with its 22 consecutive road games this weekend. Over the first month and a half of the season, the Bulldogs will travel to five states, including two trips to Arizona. Besides Arizona, GU will travel to California, Texas, Idaho and Utah, totaling nearly 10,500 miles. Following the road games, the Zags will return home for a 12-game homestand before embarking on the road, once again.
PATTERSON BASEBALL COMPLEX AND WASHINGTON TRUST FIELD: This season, the Zags will call the Gonzaga University campus home for the first time in nearly three and a half years. The 2007 season marks the inaugural year of play at Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field. The new home of Bulldog baseball is a state-of-the-art facility that also incorporates an old-time baseball feel. The new stadium includes 1,300 theater-style seats and includes classic brick detailing. Major League amenities include a state-of-the-art infield, a professional candle lighting system and authentic home and visitor dugouts with underground passages to full-service clubhouses. The first game at the new facility is scheduled for March 15 against Rider University. Dedication ceremonies will be held April 20 prior to the game against Saint Mary's College.
SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS: UC - Riverside enters the weekend 3-0 after coming off of a season opening three-game sweep of the University of Nevada on Feb. 1-3. The Highlanders, who finished the 2006 campaign with a 29-25 record, were ranked as high as No. 26 in the 2007 preseason polls. UC - Riverside is currently led by Carl Uhl, the Big West Player of the Week. During the series against Nevada, Uhl hit .778, going 7-for-9 with four runs batted in, four runs scored and a stolen base. The Highlander pitching staff is highlighted by James Simmons, a preseason nominee for both the Wallace and Clemens Award which is awarded to the nation's top player and pitcher, respectively. Last weekend, Simmons (1-0) established a 1.80 earned run average in 5.0 innings of work, allowing one run on five hits in his first start of the season. The three-game series this weekend marks the first time Gonzaga University and UC - Riverside have met on the field.
THIS WEEK AT PATTERSON BASEBALL COMPLEX AND WASHINGTON TRUST FIELD: This week at Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field, the new home of Gonzaga University baseball, much of the focus will be put on finishing installation of main components of the Bulldogs' clubhouse. This week installation of lockers in both the players and coaches locker rooms will be finalized, as will the installation of the Bulldog laser cut logo that will grace the floor of the Zags' player locker room. The placing of handrails in the seating areas will also be completed this week. Last week, the remainders of the seats were installed.
SOLID DEBUT: Mark Castellitto had a solid debut in Gonzaga University's opening weekend of play, as the redshirt freshman drove in two runs on three hits. Two of the designated hitter's hits in the series were doubles.
LIVE ON THE INTERNET: All Gonzaga University home matches will be available via Gametracker on the internet at http://www.gozags.com. Check the Gonzaga web site for all Gametracker links. This weekend's games against UC - Riverside will also feature live stats that can be accessed by visiting the Highlanders website, www.athletics.ucr.edu/baseball.
NEWCOMERS GALORE: Six members of the starting lineup against the University of Arizona were newcomers to the Gonzaga University baseball team. In addition, three members of the Bulldog pitching staff made their debut in a Gonzaga uniform last weekend. Redshirt sophomore Evan Wells, freshman Mark Ellis, junior transfers Michael Rhodes and Ben Greenslitt and redshirt freshman Mark Castellitto all made their debut in the GU starting lineup. Wells marked the lone newcomer to the infield, while Rhodes, Ellis and Greenslitt patroled the outfield. Castellitto was used as the designated hitter. Sophomore transfer Chris Highmark and freshmen Jeremy Stumetz and Chris Griffith also made their first pitching appearance as Bulldogs.
PROGRAM FIELDING RECORD BROKE, AGAIN: For the second year in row, the Gonzaga University set a school record for fielding percentage. The Zags' .976 fielding percentage ranked seventh in the country last season, and first in the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga also ranked 84th in Division I with 0.91 double plays per game. The Bulldogs committed only 49 errors in 2,018 chances in 2006.
HEAD COACH Mark Machtolf: Mark Machtolf enters his fourth season as the head coach of the Gonzaga University baseball team and 15th year as a member of the Bulldog coaching staff. Machtolf was handed the head coaching reigns on August 7, 2003, following an 11-year stint as an assistant coach. He replaced former head coach Steve Hertz, who moved into an administrative position in the Gonzaga Athletic Department. Machtolf has posted an 81-80 record at Gonzaga, including a 40-38 mark in West Coast Conference play. During his first three seasons he has led the Bulldogs to three top-five finishes and produced the WCC Player of the Year in 2004, former Zag Kiel Thibault. A 1987 graduate of Stanford University, Machtolf was a member of the Cardinal's 1987 College World Series championship team and was an All-CWS selection.
MACHTOLF PART OF TEAM USA COACHING STAFF: Gonzaga University head coach Mark Machtolf served as an assistant coach for Team USA during the summer of 2006. Under Machtolf's guidance, the National Team posted a 28-2-1 record, including going a perfect 8-0 at the Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) World Championships in Havanna, Cuba. The .919 win percentage for the season was the best ever posted by a USA Baseball collegiate team and the tournament win was the first ever for a USA Baseball National Team in Cuba. Vanderbilt University head coach Tim Corbin served as head coach while TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle and Auburn head coach Tom Slater joined Machtolf as assistant coaches.
NEWCOMERS LEAD CANADA TO BRONZE: Mark Ellis and Cory Hall, a pair of freshman on the Gonzaga University baseball team, helped lead the Canadian Junior National team to a bronze medal last summer at the 2006 World Junior AAA Championships in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. Hall pitched seven innings of relief allowing two runs on eight hits while posting five strikeouts earning a 6-2 win over Mexico for third place. For the tournament, Hall posted a 3-1 recording with a 1.13 earned run average and 15 strikeouts. Ellis, Canada's starting third baseman, posted a .207 average with one double and two runs batted in. The bronze medal was Canada's fifth-ever medal at the World Junior AAA Championships and it's first medal since 1997.
TRIO NAMED TO WCC 40th ANIVERSITY TEAM: Three former Gonzaga University baseball standouts were named to the West Coast Conference/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Baseball Team. 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. Bay, the 2004 National League Rookie of the Year, compiled a .374 career average with 125 runs, 152 hits, 24 doubles, 35 home runs and 121 runs batted in as a Bulldog. Gold, the WCC single-season home run champion, hit a league-record and NCAA leading 33 long balls in the 2002 season. The 2002 WCC Player of the Year posted a .307 career average with 147 hits, 95 runs, 46 home runs and 124 RBI. Matthews was one of the top two-way players in Gonzaga history. At the plate, Matthews compiled a .332 career average with 144 runs, 207 hits, 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.
ZAGS PICKED TO FINISH FIFTH: The Gonzaga University baseball team has been selected to finish fifth in the 2007 West Coast Conference preseason poll, as voted on by the conference's head coaches. Pepperdine University, who has been ranked as high as No. 19 in preseason polls, received six first place votes and a total of 47 points to edge out the University of San Diego and 2006 WCC regular season co-champion University of San Francisco for first place. The Toreros and Dons tied for second place with 41 points apiece, with each team garnering a first place vote. Loyola Marymount University checked in at fourth with 28 points, just edging out the Zags, who received 25 points. Santa Clara University was tabbed for a sixth place finish with 19 points, while Saint Mary's College and the University of Portland were picked to finish seventh and eighth with 16 and eight points, respectively.