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WCC Baseball Weekly Notes

March 24, 2009

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CONFERENCE PLAY BEGINS THIS WEEK
The West Coast Conference closed out its last week of complete non-conference play last week by going 26-12 against its opponents, including a perfect 4-0 against teams ranked in the top 25, with LMU's sweep over defending national champions Fresno State. Pepperdine and San Diego continue to be ranked nationally, with Pepperdine ranked 17th according to Baseball America and San Diego ranked 29th according to the NCBWA. Heading into the week, Gonzaga has a 1.5 game lead on Pepperdine for the top spot in the standings. Headlining this week's conference series is a matchup of the two teams ranked nationally when Pepperdine heads to San Diego for a three-game set.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

All Times PST

MONDAY, MARCH 23
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Columbia at No. 29 San Diego San Diego, CA 3:00 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 24
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
UC Davis at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 2:00 PM
Brown at No. 17 Pepperdine Malibu, CA 3:00 PM
Corban College at Portland Portland, OR
3:00 PM
Cal State Northridge at LMU Los Angeles, CA 3:00 PM
Nevada at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA
3:00 PM
Long Beach State at No. 29 San Diego Malibu, CA 3:00 PM
Utah at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Utah at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 12:00 PM
Santa Clara at California Berkeley, CA
2:30 PM
UCLA at No. 17 Pepperdine Malibu, CA
3:00 PM
FRIDAY, MARCH 27
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Gonzaga at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 3:00 PM
No. 17 Pepperdine at No. 29 San Diego San Diego, CA 3:00 PM
Portland at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 3:00 PM
LMU at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, MARCH 28
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Gonzaga at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 1:00 PM
No. 17 Pepperdine at No. 29 San Diego San Diego, CA 1:00 PM
Portland at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 1:00 PM
LMU at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 6:00 PM
SUNDAY, MARCH 29
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Gonzaga at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 1:00 PM
No. 17 Pepperdine at No. 29 San Diego San Diego, CA 1:00 PM
Portland at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 1:00 PM
LMU at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 1:00 PM

AROUND THE WCC
WCC Co-Player of the Week: Mark Castellitto, GON
Castellitto helped his team to a 3-0 week over Pacific and went 7-for-13 (.538), while collecting a double, scoring two runs, and batting in six. His big hit came in walk-off fashion in the second win over Pacific.

WCC Co-Player of the Week: Angelo Songco, LMU
Songco had a monster week helping the team sweep No. 24 Fresno State. He went 7-for-15 (.467), scoring seven runs, batting in seven, and collecting a double and two home runs.

WCC Pitcher of the Week: Alex Rivers, SCU
Rivers led the Broncos to a 3-0 shutout over Dartmouth in game tow of the series, tossing in seven no-hit, no-run innings, before giving up just two hits in the eighth. He struck out a career-high 11 battes and is now 2-0 on the year.

Also Nominated: SR RHP AJ Proszek, GON; SO RHP Chris Eusebio, LMU; SO LHP Matt Bywater, PEP; JR C Trent Diedrich, PEP; SR OF Matt Long, SCU

WCC Teams Garner Preseason Rankings
San Diego and Pepperdine were each listed among the nation's elite in numerous rankings heading into the 2009 campaign. The Waves were ranked No. 8 and the Toreros checked in at No. 15 in the Rivals.com rankings. The Toreros came in at No. 11, while the Waves finished 17th by Baseball America. The USA Today/ESPN poll had the Toreros at No. 15, while the Waves came in at No. 21. The Toreros finished 18th in the NCBWA poll, while the Waves were ranked No. 21.

San Diego
Baseball America - No. 11
USA TODAY/ESPN - No. 15
Rivals.com - No. 15
Collegiate Baseball - No. 17
Pingbaseball.com - No. 17
NCBWA - No. 18

Pepperdine
Rivals.com - No. 8
Pingbaseball.com - No. 12
Baseball America - No. 17
USA TODAY/ESPN - No. 21
NCBWA - No. 21
Collegiate Baseball - No. 23

WCC's Preseason All-Americans
Seven WCC standouts were tabbed for 2009 preseason All-American honors, with two earning first team recognition. San Diego's AJ Griffin earned first team honors by the NCBWA and third team honors by Collegiate Baseball, while teammate Victor Sanchez earned third team honors by Baseball America. Joining Griffin with first team honors is Pepperdine's Bryce Mendonca, who was recognized by Collegiate Baseball. Also recognized by Collegiate Baseball were Santa Clara's Thain Simon with second team honors and Tommy Medica with third team honors. Joining Medica on the third team were Pepperdine's Nick Gaudi and Saint Mary's Kyle Jensen.

Four WCC Hurlers Named To Stopper Of The Year Watch List
Four WCC pitchers were among the 40 players named to the initial watch list for the fourth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced Tuesday. Gonzaga RHP Cody Martin, Pepperdine RHP Nick Gaudi, San Diego RHP AJ Griffin, and Santa Clara right hander Thain Simon were each named to the preseason watch list for the award, which is presented to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. The West Coast Conference enjoyed the second highest amount of players from any conference to be named to the list, following the ACC with nine. The Big 12 also placed four, while the SEC and Pac-10 had three each.

WCC Standouts Named To Wallace Award Watch List
Eight WCC players headline the 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List. The Wallace Award is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The 2009 award banquet will be at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 2, in the United Spirit Arena on the campus of Texas Tech University.

San Diego led the way with junior All-American closer AJ Griffin along with sophomore right-hander Kyle Blair and sophomore lefty Sammy Solis. Also on the list from the WCC were senior Ryan Wheeler of Loyola Marymount, sophomore Riley Henricks of Portland, sophomore Thain Simon of Santa Clara, junior Kyle Jensen of Saint Mary's, and sophomore Matt Lujan of San Francisco.

Player, School              2008 Key StatsKyle Blair, USD             3.86 ERA, 99 SOA.J. Griffin, USD           2.15 ERA, 14 SVRiley Henricks, POR         .301, 69 hits, 8 HRKyle Jensen, SMC            .421, 82 hits, 13 HRMatt Lujan, USF             3.19 ERA, 7 winsThain Simon, SCU            2.59 ERA, 9 winsSammy Solis, USD            3.83 ERA, 42 SORyan Wheeler, LMU           .345, 70 hits, 20 2B

LMU Names Jason Gill Head Coach
Jason Gill begins his first year at the helm of the LMU baseball program after serving as an assistant coach for the Lions in 1999 and 2000. Gill, who has spent the last four years working under head coach George Horton at Oregon and Cal State Fullerton, returns to the bluff to become the seventh head coach of the Lions' program. Overall, Coach Gill has been to Omaha four times as a player and a coach, to the postseason a total of nine times, coached four Conference Players of the Year, and has seen 14 of his student-athletes make the Major Leagues.

San Diego and Pepperdine Picked To Finish First In 2009 WCC Preseason Poll
San Diego and Pepperdine were chosen to finish as West Coast Conference champions in the 2009 preseason baseball poll, as selected by conference coaches. The Toreros, who have been ranked as high as No. 11 in the national preseason polls, received the same amount of points as Pepperdine, but garnered one more first place vote. San Diego is coming off the most successful season in program history, as the Toreros compiled a 44-17 overall record en route to the WCC crown in 2008. Pepperdine earned three first place votes and was picked second with 45 overall points, while Santa Clara checked in at No. 3 in the poll with 32 points. Gonzaga nabbed the last first place vote, receiving 30 points to come in at No. 4. San Francisco, off a fourth place finish from last year, was picked to finish No. 5, with 26 points. LMU, under first year Head Coach Jason Gill, is expected to finish sixth, with 20 points. Saint Mary's and Portland round out this year's preseason poll, earning 14 and nine points respectively.

WCC Baseball Preseason Poll
1. San Diego - 45 (4)
Pepperdine - 45 (3)
3. Santa Clara - 35
4. Gonzaga - 30 (1)
5. San Francisco - 26
6. LMU - 20
7. Saint Mary's - 14
8. Portland - 9
(first place votes)


WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 14-5
WCC Record: 0-0
  • Gonzaga went undefeated for the second straight week, sweeping a three-game series against Pacific and has won eight straight.

  • JR LF Mark Castellitto was oustanding for the Zags in the three wins. He finished the series going 7-for-13 (.538) with a double, six RBI, and two runs scored, including a walk off base hit in the second win over the Tigers. For his efforts, he was awarded Co-WCC Player of the Week for the first time in his career.

  • SR RHP AJ Proszek collected two saves over the week, pitching in five innings of work and only allowing two hits and zero runs. In his 12 innings pitched this season, he has yet to allow a run.

  • Gonzaga stays home to host a two-game set against Utah (3/24-25), before beginning conference play where it will head down to play a three-game series at San Francisco (3/27-29).
  • Overall Record: 12-12
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Loyola Marymount lost to Long Beach State, before coming back to sweep a four-game set against defending national champions Fresno State.

  • JR OF Angelo Songco had a huge week for the Lions. He went 7-for-15 (.467) in the five games, scoring seven runs, hitting a double and two home runs, while batting in seven runs himself. For his efforts, he was awarded WCC Co-Player of the Week.

  • Songco is among league leaders in several categories, ranking first in runs scored (33), second in RBI's (28) and total bases (61), and second in home runs (7).

  • SO RHP Chris Eusebio collected a win and a save against No. 24 Fresno State, pitching four innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five.

  • LMU hosts CS Northridge (3/24), before starting conference play at Santa Clara (3/27-29).
  • Overall Record: 16-6
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Waves went 5-1 last week, sweeping two against Washington State, before going 3-1 against Chicago State.

  • JR C Trent Diedrich led the way offensively for the Waves, going 9-for-17 (.529) with three doubles and four RBI, extending his hitting streak to a team-high 14 games.

  • Several pitchers had career-high strikeouts last week. SO LHP Matt Bywater struck out 12 batters in the second win over the Cougars, while SO LHP Scott Alexander had nine in the first. SR RHP Nathan Newman punched out 11 in the opener against Chicago State, and FR LHP Aaron Gates struck out 10 in the second game. The Waves lead the league in team pitching with a 2.57 team ERA and are second in strikeouts with 205.

  • Pepperdine hosts Brown (3/24) and UCLA (3/25), before starting conference play, where it travels to play No. 29 San Diego in a three-game series (3/27-29).
  • Overall Record: 13-9
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Pilots went 2-2 at their Rose City Invitational, defeating Oregon and Hawai'i, before losing to Washington and falling in the title game to Hawai'i in extra innings.

  • In the victory over Hawai'i, FR LF Garrett Queen led the team, going 3-for-5, with a double and a home run en route to six RBI. He was a triple away from hitting for the cycle. SR RHP Mark Triolo got the win, tossing in seven innings, allowing just two runs while striking out eight.

  • In the win over Oregon, SO LHP Scott Burris and SO RHP Zach Varce combined for the win and save in the shutout. Burris pitched the first six innings, allowing just two hits, before Varce completed the final three innings, striking out five.

  • The Pilots host Corban College (3/24), before beginning conference play, where they will travel to play a three-game series at Saint Mary's (3/27-29).
  • Overall Record: 13-10
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Gaels went 3-3 last week, defeating Cornell twice and splitting two with Utah Valley, before dropping a couple to Oregon State.

  • FR INF Troy Channing continues to be impressive for the Gaels as he went 7-for-24 (.292) over the week, going yard three times, while clubbing in 10 RBI. He has now extended his hitting streak to a team-high 17 games. In the win over Utah Valley, SR RHP Brian Justice tossed in seven scoreless innings, giving up just three hits for the win.

  • Channing is having a great first year, leading the league in hits (40), runs batted in (36), total bases (72), and home runs (9). He is also first in batting average (.449) and slugging percentage (.809). JR OF Kyle Jensen is second in home runs with seven.

  • The Gaels will host Nevada (3/24), before beginning conference play, where they host Portland in a three-game set (3/27-29).
  • Overall Record: 15-10
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • San Diego went 5-1 last week, sweeping three against Columbia, before losing the last in a three-game set to Brown.

  • SR SS Sean Nicol helped the Toreros to the 5-1 week, going 11-for-23, with three doubles, a home run, and four RBI.

  • JR RHP AJ Griffin earned a pair of wins in the double-header against Brown. In the first game, he pitched three innings of relief work, allowing two runs, before getting the start in the second game, where he tossed in five innings, allowing just one run on four hits, while striking out five. Griffin is currently fifth in the league in ERA at 1.90 and ranks third with 14 batters struck out looking.

  • The Toreros finish a four-game series with Brown (3/23) and host Long Beach State (3/24), before starting conference play with a three-game series against No. 17 Pepperdine (3/27-29).
  • Overall Record: 9-14
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • San Francisco went 1-4 last week, losing to Sacramento State, before going 1-3 at New Mexico State.

  • In the game one win over New Mexico State, the Dons scored a season high 20 runs off a season high 24 hits, including four doubles, one triple, and two homeruns.

  • In the win, SR OF Zach Kim went off for five hits in seven at bats to finish with a home run, a double, and four RBI. Seven other players recorded multiple hits, including JR SS Derek Poppert, FR 1B Nik Balog, and SR 3B Dane Braunecker, who all had three each.

  • Kim leads the team in hitting (.392) and the league in stolen bases (14).

  • San Francisco will host UC Davis (3/24), before beginning conference play with a three-game homestand against Gonzaga (3/27-29).
  • Overall Record: 10-7
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Broncos went undefeated last week, sweeping Dartmouth in a three-game series.

  • In the second game of the series, JR RHP Alex Rivers tossed in seven no-hit, no-run innings, before giving up two hits in the eighth, while striking out a career-high 11 batters en route to WCC Pitcher of the Week honors. In the third game, SO RHP Thain Simon tossed in seven innings, striking out seven and only allowing one run on four hits.

  • SR OF Matt Long led the team in the series, batting .571 with five runs scored and five RBI. He also collected a double and a triple. His 11 career triples puts him at No. 5 on the Santa Clara all-time list.

  • The Broncos travel to play California (3/25), before beginning conference play, where they will host LMU for a three-game series (3/27-29).