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Diamond Dons Begin West Coast Conference Play at Loyola Marymount This Weekend

March 27, 2007

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USF TRAVELS TO LOYOLA MARYMOUNT FOR WCC OPENING ACTION: The Dons head south for West Coast Conference play at Loyola Marymount this weekend. Friday's matchup with the Lions is set for 3:00 PM. Saturday's first pitch will be at 2:00 PM and Sunday's game will begin at 1:00 PM.

LAST WEEK: The USF baseball team rallied for four runs in the top of ninth inning for a 6-4 win over host Sacramento State Wednesday afternoon. Trailing 4-2, USF's Luke Sommer opened the ninth with a single up the middle off closer Mitch Lively. After a fly out, Mitchell Bialosky singled to right and moved Sommer to second. A single up the middle by Brian Chavez scored one run to make the score 4-3. Pinch hitter Matt Lieb then flied out to center for the second out. Jonnie Knoble followed with a fading double down the right field line to tie the score and Joey Railey singled down the left field line to plate two more runs. Sacramento State was not able to answer back in the ninth as Chase Tigert earned his first save of the season.

San Francisco took the 12-5 win over Southern Utah Thursday afternoon in their first game at Benedetti Diamond this season. USF smashed 18 hits in the contest, including eight for extra bases. Freshman center fielder Bobby Ethel earned his first ever extra base hits as a Don with a leadoff triple in the second and a two RBI homerun in the fourth. Junior right fielder Luke Sommer smacked his third homerun in his last four games, a two-RBI shot to right in the fourth. Senior right-hander Jason Dufloth (4-3) earned the win for the Dons, throwing six solid innings and only allowing three runs (all earned) off six hits and three walks. Dufloth added five strikeouts.

USF pitchers held Southern Utah to only three hits in a 7-0 drubbing of the Thunderbirds at Benedetti Diamond on Friday afternoon. The Dons smacked 18 hits, their third consecutive game with double figures. Junior right fielder Luke Sommer continued to stay hot at the plate, with his team leading fifth homerun, and second in as many games. Sommer also added a single, three RBI and a stolen base. Junior left-hander Aaron Poreda (4-2) threw six shutout innings, only allowing three hits and a walk while striking out a season high eight batters.

San Francisco completed the three game sweep of Southern Utah with a 13-5 thrashing of the Thunderbirds at Benedetti Diamond on Saturday afternoon. The Dons earned 16 hits in the game, their fourth consecutive with double figures, and eight Dons hit doubles in the contest. Junior right-hander Tommy Peale (1-0) earned his first win as a Don, allowing one run (unearned) off four hits, a walk and three strikeouts in six innings.

Luke Sommer NAMED WCC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior right fielder Luke Sommer has been named Co-West Coast Conference Player of the Week for March 19. In four games last week, Sommer batted .417 (5-for-12), with two homeruns, five RBI, five runs scored and two walks in helping USF go 4-0 in that span. The Canby, OR native had two consecutive games with a homerun against Southern Utah including a two-RBI shot in a 12-5 drubbing of the Thunderbirds, and a fifth inning lead-off solo homer in a 7-0 shutout. With those two homeruns, Sommer now leads the Dons with five on the season. Sommer is currently batting .260 with 26 hits. He is second on the team in RBI with 18, and in slugging at .450 and is 5-for-5 in stolen bases.



SCOUTING LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: LMU was once again predicted to finish fourth among its WCC opponents, a prophecy that the Lions are accustomed to proving wrong. When 11th year head coach Frank Cruz considers the team's strength up the middle, he highlights four key returning starters that will be a big part of the Lions' defensive and offensive attack. Catcher Sean Dovel, infielders Eric Farris and Michael Glomb, and center fielder DeAndre Miller return with a combined seven years experience as starters. Farris leads the lions with a .387 batting average, 48 hits (five doubles, two triples and two homeruns), and 20 RBI. On the mound, Brady Meyers is 2-3 with a 3.61 ERA in eight starts with 46 strikeouts.

LAST MEETINGS: USF 5, LMU 4 (11) (5/12/06); USF 5, LMU 1 (5/13/06); USF 10, LMU 1 (5/14/06)

LAST TIME AGAINST THE DONS: In a crucial West Coast Conference series, USF took game one from Loyola Marymount 5-4 in an 11-inning four-hour marathon. The Dons (34-19, 13-6) remain in a first place tie with Pepperdine and drop the Lions (21-29, 8-8) to .500 in the WCC. Junior pinch-hitter Blake Nelson was the hero of the day when he roped a ball down the right field line with the bases loaded in the 11th that scored sophomore third baseman Joey Railey from third. Railey had singled earlier in the inning and advanced to second on senior short stop Andrew Smith's single. Both runners advanced another base on junior pitcher Scott Cousins' sacrifice bunt. Senior right fielder Stefan Gartrell was intentionally walked to load the bases before Nelson pinch hit. Cousins threw a complete nine innings, but came away with the no-decision. The left-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk and struck out a career high eight batters. Senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan (10-2) earned the win in relief throwing two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out two. With the homerun, DeLong now leads USF with seven. Sophomore left fielder Luke Sommer had four hits and a stolen base on the afternoon. Railey and Smith each added three hits apiece. Railey now has 73 hits on the season.

USF defeated West Coast Conference foe Loyola Marymount 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at Benedetti Diamond. With the win, USF secures no less than second place in the WCC and a spot in the Championship Series on May 26-28. This will be the first time in USF baseball history that a Dons team has advanced to the WCC Championship Series. Sophomore left-hander Aaron Poreda (7-4) pitched a spectacular game, going the distance and only allowing one run on 10 hits with four strikeouts and no walks. The complete game was his second of the year and he leads the team with a low 2.14 ERA. In 101.0 innings, Poreda has 67 strikeouts to only 27 walks.

With the 10-1 victory over Loyola Marymount on Sunday, the University of San Francisco earned its first ever West Coast Conference Championship. On senior night, Patrick McGuigan (11-2) made his final start of the regular season and didn't disappoint. The right-hander pitched 5.2 innings, allowing just one run and struck out three Lions. The win moves him into a first place tie on the single-season victory list with USF Hall-of-Famer Dana Hendershott (1971). With 21 career victories, McGuigan is only one away from Hendershott's (1968-71) all-time record. Senior right fielder Stefan Gartrell added RBI number 58 to his team and WCC leading total on a three-for-five night which included his 15th double of the season. Gartrell is now third place on the career RBI chart with 127 and 10th on the career doubles chart with 35.

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.

WCC LEADERS: Through March 25, San Francisco is leading the West Coast Conference in team fielding with .981. Individually, nine Dons are among the top ten in seven categories. Junior second baseman Joey Railey leads the team with three top ten placings, coming in fifth in on base percentage at .469, tied for seventh in stolen bases with seven, and tenth in batting average at .368. Sophomore utility Zach Kim is seventh in batting average with .393. Junior right fielder Luke Sommer has five homeruns, good for fourth place in the WCC charts. Senior left fielder Jonnie Knoble and junior short stop Tavo Hall are tied for seventh in stolen bases with nine each. On the mound, junior right-hander Tommy Peale is first in the conference in ERA with a miniscule 0.53. Senior left-hander Cole Stipovich is ninth in ERA with a 2.31. Senior right-hander Jason Dufloth has pitched 46.2 innings, good for an eighth place tie, and junior left-hander Aaron Poreda is fifth in opponents batting average with a low .229.

WHO'S HOT FOR THE DONS: Junior Luke Sommer earned player of the Week honors after batting .417 last week with two homeruns. Senior Jon Norfolk batted .750 with six hits (two doubles) and two RBI in four games last week. He also his first stolen base of the season. Sophomore Zach Kim started one and played in all four games last week, batting .667 with four hits and an RBI. Junior Brian Chavez batted . 571 last week with eight hits (three doubles), seven RBI and five runs scored. Senior Blake Nelson batted .500 last week, bringing his season average up 137 points from .063 to .200. Junior Joey Railey also batted .500 and increased his team leading hits total by seven to 36. He also was 4-for-5 in stolen bases. Junior Mitchell Bialosky batted .429 with six hits and six RBI. Senior Jonnie Knoble also batted .429 with six hits (double and triple) and three stolen bases. On the mound, Junior Aaron Poreda earned a victory, throwing six scoreless innings and striking out a season high eight. Junior Tommy Peale earned his first win as a Don, throwing six scoreless innings.