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Zags Continue Road Swing With Three Games At BYU

March 7, 2007

SPOKANE, Wash. -

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Games 18-20
Gonzaga at Brigham Young
Larry H. Miller Field (2,204)
Provo, Utah
Thursday, Mar. 8, 4 p.m., PST
Friday, Mar. 9, 4 p.m. PST
Saturday, Mar. 10, Noon PST

THIS WEEKEND: The Gonzaga University baseball team will begin the final leg of its 22-game road swing this weekend when it travels to Provo, Utah for a three-game set against Brigham Young University. The Bulldogs and Cougars are set to face off Thursday, Friday and Saturday as the Zags begin a five-game trip to the state of Utah. Josh Monroe is expected to get the start for Gonzaga Thursday in the 4 p.m., PST start. Friday Gonzaga will start Brandon Harmon in the 4 p.m., PST start while the Zags' Chris Highmark is expected to get the starting nod Saturday at Noon, PST.

LAST WEEKEND: Last weekend Gonzaga University participated in the Banana Belt Tournament in Lewiston, Idaho. The Zags swept the tournament, winning all four games to take home the tournament title. The Bulldogs up ended the Air Force Academy Thursday 3-1 behind seven shutout innings from starter Josh Monroe. During his seven innings of work, Monroe allowed only two hits while striking out nine. Friday, Gonzaga smacked eighth doubles as the Bulldogs scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to come back to defeat Utah Valley State University 6-5. Chris Highmark earned the win Saturday, throwing seven innings, allowing no runs on two hits while striking out a career-high 10 batters faced in a 4-2 victory over Southern Utah University. Sunday, the Zags earned the tournament title by upsetting host and previously undefeated Lewis-Clark State College 4-3. The game was the only time this season the Warriors had scored under five runs. Heading into the match-up with Gonzaga, LCSC had been averaging 10 runs a game.

ON DECK: Next week, March 12-17, Gonzaga University will start the week with two games in Salt Lake City, Utah against the University of Utah before returning home to play on campus at Gonzaga University for the first time in nearly three and a half years. Thursday March 15 will mark the first game at the Zags' new facility, Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field, as Gonzaga opens a three-game home series against Rider University.

SCHEDULE NOTE, TIME CHANGES: Due the a delay in the installation of the lights at Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field, the game time of six home games on the Gonzaga University baseball team's schedule have been changed. The games on March 20, March 21, March 23, March 27, March 30 and April 17 have been changed to a 3 p.m. first pitch. All six games were originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The games on April 20 and May 4, also scheduled for 6:30 p.m., will remain at the originally scheduled time. April 20 against Saint Mary's College will mark the first night game held at the new facility, as well as serve as the Dedication Game for Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field, with the dedication ceremonies occurring prior to first pitch.

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.

LONG ROAD SWING: The Gonzaga University baseball team will begin the final leg of 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 next week for a 12-game home stand before embarking on the road, once again.

SCOUTING THE COUGARS: Brigham Young University enters the three-game series with Gonzaga University with an 8-5 record, the best start since the 1994 season for BYU. The Cougars are fresh off of a two-game series with Kansas State University, in which BYU dropped both games by scores of 5-1 and 6-3. Brigham Young is led by Steve Parker, who is currently batting at a team-high .417 clip. The pitching staff is anchored by Jordan Muir, who is leading the Cougars with a 1.93 earned run average and an unblemished 3-0 record. Muir is expected to start against the Zags on Friday. The opening game of the series on Thursday will mark the 15th meeting all-time between the two schools on the field, with the all-time series record tied 7-7. In the last meeting between the two schools, during the 1995 season, BYU prevailed over Gonzaga 13-1 as part of a tournament hosted by the Bulldogs in Spokane, Wash. The last time the Zags posted a win over the Cougars was during the 1990 campaign, when GU earned a 2-0 victory. The last time the two schools played a three-game series was in 1983, with BYU winning the series 2-1.

COMMON OPPONENTS: The Gonzaga University and Brigham Young University baseball teams share eight common opponents this season. Both teams previsouly faced the Univeristy of Missouri, with BYU being victorious 4-1 in 10 innings, while Gonzaga fell to the Tigers 10-3. The Cougars have already faced the University of Portland, a team Gonzaga will play in West Coast Conference play, and posted a 1-1 record in the two-game series. Last weekend, the Bulldogs played three teams that BYU will face further into the season. The Zags posted a 3-0 record in single games against Southern Utah University, Utah Valley State College and the Air Force Academy, all teams that the Cougars will play three-game series with later in the season. Both teams also have series scheduled for later in the season with Washington State University, the University of Washington and the University of Utah.

HOMECOMING, OF SORTS: When Chris Highmark takes the mound Saturday in his projected start against Brigham Young University; the sophomore will be pitching against his former teammates. Highmark, who has started five games for Gonzaga University this season, was a letter-winner for the Cougars last season. With BYU, Highmark posted a 6.38 earned run average with a 0-1 record in 14 appearances, all of which came in relief. In his 18.1 innings pitched, Highmark allowed 19 runs, 13 earned, on 31 hits and eight walks, while striking out 19. As a Zag, the native of Scottsdale, Ariz. has posted a 2-3 record with a 6.41 ERA. In 26.2 innings of work, he has allowed 21 runs, 19 earned, on 29 hits and 14 walks, while striking out 23. Highmark leads all Gonzaga starting pitchers, holding opponents to a .282 batting average.

HURLERS RECORDING STRIKEOUTS AT QUICK PACE: Entering the 2007 season, no Gonzaga University pitcher had struck out 10 or more batters in a single game since 2003. To date this season, a Bulldog hurler has struck out 10 or more in a single outing three times. Clayton Mortensen leads the way with two games in which he has fanned ten or more. On Feb. 11, the senior struck out a career-high 11 in a 3-2 win over UC Riverside. His outing that afternoon marked the first time since 2003 a Bulldog pitcher has accomplished the feat. Mortensen repeated the accomplishment on Feb. 25 when the right hander fanned 10 batters in 6.1 innings in a 8-7 victory over Missouri State University. Chris Highmark also hit the 10+ K's mark with ten punch outs against Southern Utah University on March 3. The Gonzaga pitching staff is recording, on average, 7.2 strikeouts a game.

HOT HOLCOMB: Darin Holcomb led Gonzaga University last weekend at the Banana Belt Tournament, leading all starters by hitting at a .438 clip. The junior went 7-for-16 with two doubles, a stolen base, two runs scored and two runs batted in. Holcomb, who was the starting third baseman in all four games of the tournament, is batting .262 for the season. He leads the Bulldogs with 65 at-bats, 15 runs scored and 21 total bases. Last weekend, Holcomb recorded a pair of hits on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, while his single Sunday extended his current season-high hit streak to 11 games.

MULTIPLE HIT GAMES: Seven members of the Gonzaga University baseball team have posted multiple hits in more than one game this season. Leading the pack are Aaron McGuinness and Evan Wells, both of which have posted five multiple-hit games. McGuinness has recorded two hits in four outings and had a three-hit performance at the University of Arizona on Feb. 3. Wells, who has recorded a pair of games with two-hits, leads Gonzaga with a trio of three-hit games. Mark Castellitto maintains the season-high for multiple hits in a game with four against the University of Texas Arlington on Feb. 22, including three doubles - a Gonzaga single-game record.

MULTIPLE RBI GAMES: Ryan Wiegand and Mike Terry of the Gonzaga University baseball team have both had more than one game this season in which they have posted multiple runs batted in. Wiegand leads the Zags with four games with more than one run batted in. The sophomore has three games with two RBI and on Feb. 10 at UC Riverside, Wiegand drove home three. Terry has posted two games with two runs driven home. The single game RBI leader for the season is Mark Castellitto. On Feb. 22 Castellitto knocked in four runs on four hits.

MORTENSEN EARNS NATIONAL AND CONFERENCE RECOGNITION: Clayton Mortensen lifted Gonzaga University to its first win of the season on Feb. 11, as the senior earned the decision in a 3-2 win over UC Riverside. For his efforts, the junior was named West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week for the week of Feb. 12 and was also named to the College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll. Mortensen tossed a complete game, allowing just one earned run on six hits and three walks, while striking out a career-high 11 Highlander batters. Mortensen held UC Riverside hitless through five innings and scoreless through seven frames during the outing, and became the first Bulldog since 2003 to fan 10 or more batters in a single game.

ROOKIES 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.

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 81-77 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. During the summer of 2006, Machtolf served as an assistant coach for Team USA. Under his guidance, the Zags posted a 28-2-1 record, including  going a perfect at the Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) World Championships in Havanna, Cuba. 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.

NEWCOMERS MAKE STRONG IMPACT: Five position players and one pitcher that are newcomers to this season's Gonzaga University baseball team have seen time in the starting lineups. Freshmen Mark Castellitto and Mark Ellis, as well as transfers Evan Wells, Micahel Rhodes, Ben Greenslitt and Chris Highmark have earned starts for the Zags. At the plate, the newcomers have combined for over a third of the Zags' runs scored (27) and hits (37), as well as being responsible for just under a third of Gonzaga's doubles (10) and runs batted in (21). They have also combined to hit half of Gonzaga's triples (1) and steal half of GU's stolen bases (6). As a whole, the newcomers are batting at a .220 clip. Castellitto leads all newcomers with a .300 average. Highmark marks the lone newcomer to earn a start on the mound. The Brigham Young University transfer has posted a 2-3 record in four starts. Jeremy Stumetz and Chris Griffith, both freshmen on the squad, have also seen time on the mound.

BULLDOGS EARN SECOND STRAIGHT TOURNAMENT TITLE: Gonzaga University earned another tournament title this season after posting a 4-0 record at the Banana Belt Tournament in Lewiston, Idaho. Previously this season, Gonzaga won the Southwest Diamond Classic after posting a 2-1 record in Frisco, Texas. Two other teams, the University of Houston and Missouri State University both posted 2-1 records at the event, but the Zags were awarded the title based on run differential. The two titles marks the second consecutive season that Gonzaga has earned two tournament titles. Last season, Gonzaga was crowned the champions of both the Texas Pan American Tournament as well as the Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic.

GONZAGA POSTS .700 RECORD IN TOURNAMENT PLAY: For the sixth straight season, Gonzaga University has posted a winning record while playing in tournaments. This season the Zags posted a 7-3 record (.700) in tournament play. The last time the Zags did not post a winning record in tournament play was in 2000, when the Bulldogs earned a record of 2-4. The Zags did not play in any tournaments during the 2001 campaign and have posted a .500 record or higher every season since. The highest winning percentage for Gonzaga during tournament play was recorded last season, with the Zags went 9-4 (.733).

TOURNAMENT PLAY SINCE 1990: Since the 1990 season, the Gonzaga University baseball team holds a 78-62-2 record when playing in tournaments. This season, Gonzaga has gone  7-3 in tournament play, including capturing the Southwest Diamond Classic Tournament Title and the Banana Belt Tournament Title. Last season, the Zags participated in four tournaments, compiling a 11-5 record in which they earned tournament titles at both the Texas Pan American Tournament and the Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic.

FOUR ZAGS NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: Mark Castellitto, Brandon Harmon, Shawn Wayt and Aaron McGuinness of the Gonzaga University baseball team, have all been named to all-tournament teams this season. Castellitto and Harmon were bestowed with the honor at the Southwest Diamond Classic, while Wayt and McGuinness were honored at the Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic. Castellitto finished the Southwest Diamond Classic going 6-for-11 (.545) with two runs scored and six RBI. At the same event, Harmon threw a complete game on Feb. 23 in a loss to University of Texas San Antonio. McGuinness and Wayt earned all-tournament accolades after combining to lift the Zags over then-No. 9 Oregon state Unviersity 6-5 on Feb. 19. Wayt went 2-for-4 with two run-scoring singles and three runs batted in, while McGuinness drove home the game winning run in the top of the ninth inning.

LIVE ON THE INTERNET: All Gonzaga University home games will be available via Gametracker on the internet at http://www.gozags.com. Check the Gonzaga web site for all Gametracker links.

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, 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.