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2010 Baseball Season Gets Underway this Weekend

Feb. 18, 2010

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2010 SEASON OPENS THIS WEEKEND
The 2010 baseball season opens this week, and the new year promises to be another strong campaign for the West Coast Conference. A pair of WCC teams are ranked heading into the season, with San Diego being ranked as high as No. 19 in the Baseball America preseason poll and Pepperdine ranked No. 34 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll. Gonzaga has also received some preseason recognition as it is receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches poll.

Heading into the season, San Diego was picked as the preseason favorite by the head coaches in the league, followed by Pepperdine. In all, 10 players from last year's All-WCC first team will be returning, including the 2009 WCC Player of the Year, James Meador (USD) and Troy Channing (SMC), who won the Triple Crown.

All eight league teams will begin the season this Friday with eight games coming against teams that participated at last year's NCAA Tournament as Gonzaga will play a couple games against Missouri at the Cactus Classic, San Diego takes on Indiana and Oklahoma, LMU faces UC Irvine, and Pepperdine plays Cal State Fullerton.

Several players come into the season already having earned preseason recognition. Cody Martin (GON) and Zach Varce (POR) have been named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List, Channing has been named a Louisville Slugger preseason second team All-American, and Kyle Blair (USD) was named a third team All-American by Baseball America.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

All Times PST

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Gonzaga vs. Missouri Tucson, AZ
Cactus Classic
1:00 PM
Concordia at Portland Portland, OR 2:00 PM
San Jose State at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 2:00 PM
Indiana at San Diego San Diego, CA 2:00 PM
LMU at No. 7 UC Irvine Irvine, CA 6:00 PM
San Francisco at Pacific Stockton, CA 6:00 PM
Nevada at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 6:00 PM
Pepperdine at Long Beach State Long Beach, CA 6:30 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Indiana at San Diego (DH) San Diego, CA 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM
Gonzaga vs. New Mexico State Tucson, AZ
Cactus Classic
11:00 AM
No. 7 UC Irvine at LMU Los Angeles, CA
1:00 PM
Saint Mary's at San Jose State San Jose, CA 1:00 PM
Nevada at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA
1:00 PM
George Fox at Portland Portland, OR
2:00 PM
San Francisco at Pacific Stockton, CA
3:00 PM
Pepperdine at No. 3 Cal State Fullerton Fullerton, CA
6:00 PM
Gonzaga vs. Washington Tucson, AZ
Cactus Classic
7:00 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Gonzaga vs. Missouri Tucson, AZ
Cactus Classic
11:00 AM
LMU at No. 7 UC Irvine Irvine, CA 1:00 PM
Oregon at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 1:00 PM
San Jose State at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 1:00 PM
Oklahoma at San Diego San Diego, CA 1:00 PM
Pacific at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 1:00 PM
Nevada at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 1:00 PM
Concordia at Portland Portland, OR 2:00 PM

AROUND THE WCC

WCC Teams Garner Preseason Rankings
San Diego and Pepperdine were each listed among the nation's elite in numerous rankings heading into the 2010 campaign. The Toreros have been ranked in several publications, with the highest ranking coming in the Baseball America preseason poll, that had San Diego at No. 19. Collegiate Baseball ranked the Waves at No. 34 heading into the season, while Gonzaga received votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.

San Diego
Baseball America - No. 19
USA TODAY/ESPN - No. 23
Collegiate Baseball - No. 24
NCBWA - No. 24

Pepperdine
Collegiate Baseball - No. 34USA TODAY/ESPN - Receiving Votes
NCBWA - Receiving Votes

Gonzaga
USA TODAY/ESPN - Receiving Votes

WCC's Preseason All-Americans
Several WCC standouts were tabbed for 2010 preseason All-American honors. After winning the Triple Crown last year, Saint Mary's Troy Channing was tabbed a Louisville Slugger preseason second team All-American and was ranked No. 6 on the Rivals.com power rankings for third basemen. Santa Clara's Geoff Klein and Tommy Medica were both named honorable mention preseason All-America catchers by Ping! Baseball.

Two Players Named To Stopper Of The Year Watch List
Gonzaga junior right hander Cody Martin and Portland junior right hander Zach Varce were both named to this year's Stopper of the Year Watch List.

This marks Martin's second time being nominated to the list as he also made the midseason watch list as well. Last year, Martin posted a 3.07 ERA while going 5-4 with six saves and 68 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. In his freshman season, he set the school record for saves in a season with nine.

Last season, Varce led the league with a 2.69 ERA and tied for the league lead with nine saves, which also tied the school record. Posting a 3-5 record, he held opposing batters to an average of .249 and had 62 strikeouts in 60.1 innings.

The Boys of Summer
This past summer, many WCC baseball players took part in summer leagues all across the country with many receiving All-Star recognition and individual rewards. Below is a list of all the WCC players receiving recognition.

Alaska Baseball League
Jonathan Johnson, LMU - Gold Glove
Drew Heid, GON - MVP
Ryan Carpenter, GON - All-Star

Cal Ripken League
Jonathan Abrahamson, USF - All-Star, Co-Pitcher of the Year
Ryan Mulligan, SMC - All-Star

Cape Cod
Kyle Blair, USD - All-Star

Hawaii Collegiate
Mark Anderson, SMC - All-Star
Tyler Brubaker, PEP - All-Star
Ricky Villarreal, PEP - All-Star
Joe Vierra, LMU - All-Star
Case Miyahara, LMU - All-Star

New York Collegiate
Miles Silverstein, PEP - All-Star
Brad Jesernig, PEP - All-Star

Northwoods League
Zach Varce, POR - All-Star
Riley Henricks, POR - All-Star
Troy Channing, SMC - Rising Star (Rivals.com)
Aaron Gates, PEP - All-Star
Chris Engell, USD - Silver Slugger Award

Prospect League
Nate Johnson, PEP - All-Star

USF's Nino Giarratano named to USA Baseball Coaching Staff
This will mark the second stint with Team USA for Giarratano, following his work as an assistant coach on Rob Walton's Collegiate National Team staff in 2008. That year, the team won the Gold Medal with a 12 inning victory over Japan and finished the season undefeated at 24-0. He joins Bill Kinneberg (Utah), Dave Serrano (Cal State Fullerton), and Ed Blankmeyer (St. John's). Giarratano is entering his 12th season with the Dons after guiding them to a share of third place last year.

San Diego Picked To Finish First In 2010 WCC Preseason Poll
San Diego was picked as the favorite to win this year's WCC regular season title in the 2010 preseason baseball poll, as voted on by the head coaches in the conference. The Toreros received six first place votes for a total of 48 points and are ranked 24th in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. Pepperdine was picked second with 38 points and is also receiving national recognition, ranked 34th in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. San Francisco totaled 33 points for third, while 2009 WCC Champion Gonzaga got one first place vote for 29 points to finish fourth, just edging out 2009 WCC runner-up Loyola Marymount, who received 28 points for fifth. Rounding out this year's preseason poll are Santa Clara, who received the last first place vote with 20 points, Saint Mary's with 17 points, and Portland with 11 points. The Toreros also placed the most number of players on the preseason all-conference team with five players being selected, including 2009 WCC Player of the Year, James Meador.

WCC Baseball Preseason Poll
1. San Diego - 48 (6)
Pepperdine - 38
3. San Francisco - 33
4. Gonzaga - 29 (1)
5. LMU - 28
6. Santa Clara - 20(1)
7. Saint Mary's - 17
8. Portland -11
(first place votes)

The 2009 WCC Baseball Season at a Glance
The West Coast Conference ended the season ranked in the top half of the NCAA RPI rankings, coming in at No. 11, finishing ahead of the Western Athletic (WAC) and Big Ten conferences ... Gonzaga University received the WCC's only bid to the NCAA Tournament by virtue of winning the WCC Baseball Championship Series against Loyola Marymount. The regular season and championship series title were the first in program history as the Zags finished ranked 22nd in the country according to Baseball America ... Half of the WCC schools finished with even or winning records against nationally ranked non-conference opponents, led by LMU, who finished with a 6-2 record ... Saint Mary's Troy Channing finished a historical year by becoming just the third player in conference history to win the Triple Crown. Channing led all freshmen in the country in home runs and RBI per game on his way to earning numerous accolades including being named to NCBWA and Baseball America All-America teams, the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team and being named a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy as well as the WCC Freshman of the Year ... The WCC had 24 players chosen in the MLB First Year Player Draft, the second most in league history, led by LMU's Angelo Songco, who was picked in the 4th round (127th overall) ... Songco was also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award ... The WCC had numerous players on preseason watch lists, including four pitchers on the Stopper of the Year list and eight players on the Wallace Award Watch list ... Four players were also placed on the 2009 CoSida Academic All District VII Team, the most of any conference in the district ... San Diego's James Meador won the Player of the Year award


WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 0-0
WCC Record: 0-0
  • Gonzaga notched a 36-18 overall record in 2009, with a 14-7 record in conference play en route to its first ever regular season title and WCC Championship Series Title. It was the first time the Zags finished three straight seasons with 30 wins since joining the WCC in 1996.

  • Gonzaga welcomes back one of the top hitters in the conference in Drew Heid (SR, OF), who was second in the league in hits (83) and ninth in the league in batting average (.355) and Cody Martin (JR, RHP), who tied for second in the league with six saves.

  • The opening rotation for this weekend is expected to be Martin, Ryan Carpenter (SO, LHP), and Reedy Berg (JR, LHP). Martin was also named to the Preseason Stopper of the Year List.

  • Gonzaga opens the season at the Cactus Classic and will face Missouri (2/19, 2/21), New Mexico State (2/20), and Washington (2/20).
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Loyola Marymount closed out the 2008 campaign with a 30-29 overall mark, and a 13-8 record in WCC play to finish as the runner-up in the WCC Championship Series under first year Head Coach Jason Gill

  • It marked the first time the program recorded 30 wins since the league moved back to a round robin format in 2006.

  • The Lions will be led by 2009 All-WCC first team selection, Jonathan Johnson (JR, 2B), and all-freshman team members Ryan Hawthorne (SO, OF) and Shon Roe (SO, INF).

  • The probable starters for this weekend will be Martin Viramontes (RHP), Ramiro Carreon (RHP), and Aaron Griffin (RHP).

  • The Lions open the season with two road games (2/19, 2/21) and a home game (2/20) against No. 7 UC Irvine.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Waves extended their streak of 30+ win seasons to 33 last year and enter the season ranked No. 34 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll.

  • The Waves return Matt Bywater (JR, LHP), a preseason all-conference selection, and Cole Cook (SO, RHP), who had a league low .195 opponent batting average, as well as Brian Humphries (SO, OF), who led the team with 67 hits.

  • As a team, Pepperdine led the league in opposing batting average (.240), strikeouts (477), and tied for the lead in saves (12).

  • Pepperdine's probable starters for this weekend are Cook, Bywater, and Robert Dickman (SR, LHP).

  • Pepperdine opens the season at Long Beach State (2/19) and No. 3 Cal State Fullerton (2/20), before hosting Oregon (2/21).
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Pilots notched a 25-26 overall record in 2009, marking the program's highest win total since posting 24 victories in 2002.

  • Portland returns an experienced team with eight starting position players and two starting pitchers returning.

  • Highlighting the list of returnees are WCC all-freshman team members Kris Kauppila (SO, SS), who led the team in hits (72) and was ranked fourth in the league in doubles (20), and Zach Varce (SO, RHP), who tied for the league lead in saves (9) as well as Riley Henricks (JR, INF), who led the team in batting (.344). In addition Varce has been named to the Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List.

  • The Pilots open the season at home against Concordia (2/19, 2/21) and George Fox (2/20).
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Gaels posted a 28-27 overall record, and a 9-12 mark in conference play last season.

  • Saint Mary's returns Troy Channing (SO, 1B), who became just the third player in WCC to win the Triple Crown and was also named a Louisville Slugger preseason second team All-American.

  • Saint Mary's plays a tough schedule this year with nine games against NCAA participants, three series against conference champions, and a total of 33 games against teams who were .500 or better last season

  • The probable starting rotation for this weekend will be Brandon Berl (SR, RHP), Kyle Barraclough (SO, RHP), and Mark Anderson (SO, RHP).

  • The Gaels open the season with two home games (2/19, 2/21) and a road game (2/20) against San Jose State.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • San Diego finished in fourth place last season with a 29-25 overall record and a 11-10 mark in conference play and are ranked No. 19 in the Baseball America preseason poll.

  • The Toreros led the league in batting (.319) and were second in hits (603), doubles (124), batters struck out (425), and opposing batting average (.274).

  • San Diego also fields one of the more experienced teams with eight starting position players and four pitchers returning including 2009 WCC Player of the James Meador (SR, OF) and All-WCC first team members Zach Walters (JR, 3B) and AJ Griffin (SR, RHP).

  • The probable starting rotation for this weekend will be Griffin, Sammy Solis (SO, LHP), and Kyle Blair (JR, RHP).

  • The Toreros open the season hosting a four-game set against Indiana (2/19-21).
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • San Francisco tied for third place last season with a 28-28 overall record and a 12-9 record in WCC play, the program's highest finish since 2006.

  • The Dons return 15 position players and 13 pitchers overall, including 2009 All-WCC first team selections Doug Murray (SR, RHP), who led the league in wins going 9-0, and Derek Poppert (SR, SS), who was eighth in the league in hits (77) and sixth in RBI (56). Also returning will be Stephen Yarrow (JR, INF) who was fourth in the league in home runs with 13.

  • The probable starters for this weekend are Murray, Matt Lujan (JR, LHP), and Cameron Love (SO, RHP).

  • The Dons open the season with two road games (2/19, 2/20) and a home game (2/21) against Pacific.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Broncos finished last season with a 19-34 overall record and a 6-15 mark in conference play.

  • The Broncos return five starting position players and eight pitchers overall including Geoff Klein (SR, C) who tied for the league lead in batting (.379) and was third in doubles (21) and Tommy Medica (JR, 3B), who had 15 hits on .429 hitting in nine games before ending the season due to injury. Headlining the pitching staff will be Nate Garcia (SR, RHP), who led the league in strikeouts (96) in 95.2 innings pitched. Both Medica and Klein were named honorable mention preseason All-America catchers by Ping! Baseball.

  • The probable starting rotation for this weekend will be Garcia, Alex Rivers (SR, RHP), and TBA.

  • The Broncos open the season hosting a three game series against Nevada (2/19-21).