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WCC Baseball Weekly Notes

April 13, 2009

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The West Coast Conference closed out week three of conference play with Pepperdine and Santa Clara recording the only sweeps of the weekend. Gonzaga earned a big series win over then No. 21 San Diego and has now earned a spot in the top 25, coming in at No. 22 in the Baseball America poll. San Diego maintained a top 25 ranking coming in at No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. LMU took two of three from San Francisco and is now tied for first place with the Toreros at 7-2 in conference play.

This week, the WCC will face three ranked opponents as LMU and San Diego both face No. 3 UC Irvine and Santa Clara takes on No. 15 Cal Poly. Last week, LMU got a huge win at then No. 6 Cal State Fullerton and improved its record to 6-1 against ranked opponents, while the WCC is 16-14 against teams in the top 25. Be sure to log on to wccsports.com later this week to listen to podcasts with Steven Ames (GON) and Nate Simon (PEP), this week's pitcher and player of the week.


All Times PST

Long Beach State at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 3:00 PM
LMU at No. 3 UC Irvine Irvine, CA 6:00 PM
San Francisco at Sacramento State Sacramento, CA 2:30 PM
Portland at Oregon Eugene, OR 3:00 PM
UC Davis at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA
3:00 PM
No. 3 UC Irvine at No. 24 San Diego San Diego, CA 3:00 PM
No. 15 Cal Poly at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA
6:00 PM
LMU at UC Riverside Riverside, CA 6:00 PM
Washington State at No. 22 Gonzaga Spokane, WA
6:30 PM
USC at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 3:00 PM
San Jose State at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA
3:00 PM
Stanford at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA
6:00 PM
No. 22 Gonzaga at Portland Portland, OR 3:00 PM
LMU at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 3:00 PM
Santa Clara at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 3:00 PM
No. 24 San Diego at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 3:00 PM
No. 22 Gonzaga at Portland Portland, OR 1:00 PM
LMU at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 1:00 PM
No. 24 San Diego at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 1:00 PM
No. 22 Gonzaga at Portland Portland, OR 1:00 PM
LMU at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 1:00 PM
No. 24 San Diego at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 1:00 PM

WCC Player of the Month: FR 3B Troy Channing, SMC
Troy Channing had a huge month of March, twice earning the WCC Player of the Week award. In the month, he hit .417, going 35-for-84, while scoring 22 runs, tallying six doubles and 10 home runs, and batting in 37 RBI. His slugging percentage was .845, while his on base was .474. He also had a hit in 17 straight games during the month, while leading all freshman in the country in hits, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, and total bases.

WCC Pitcher of the Month: FR RHP Cole Cook, PEP
Cole Cook went 4-1 during the month of March, totaling 30 strikeouts, a 2.59 ERA, and a league-best .149 opponent's batting average. Cook was originally the Waves' middle reliever, but earned the job of weekend starter after holding off UCLA, Evansville, Cal Poly, and Wichita State long enough for Pepperdine to come back and win each of those games. His only loss of the month came at No. 23 San Diego, where he pitched eight innings, giving up just two hits.

WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week: Nate Simon, PEP
Simon helped the Waves go undefeated last week and went 7-for-11 (.636), while compiling three doubles, a home run, four runs, and seven RBI. He was also responsible for six of the seven Pepperdine runs in the 7-6 win over the Gaels.

WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week: Steven Ames, GON
Ames pitched a complete-game in the win over then No. 21 San Diego in the series opener. He allowed just two runs off six hits, while striking out a career-high 10 batters.

Also Nominated: Jonathan Johnson, LMU; Ramiro Carreon, LMU; Matt Bywater, PEP; Stephen Yarrow, USF; Jon Karcich, SCU; Alex Rivers, 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
Rivals.com - No. 15
Collegiate Baseball - No. 17
Pingbaseball.com - No. 17
NCBWA - No. 18

Rivals.com - No. 8
Pingbaseball.com - No. 12
Baseball America - No. 17
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)



Overall Record: 23-10
WCC Record: 6-3
  • Gonzaga went 3-2 last week, splitting a make-up series with Washington, before taking two out of three from San Diego. The Zags have now earned a top 25 ranking, coming in at No. 22 in the Baseball America poll.

  • IIn the series finale against San Diego, JR RHP Steven Ames collected his WCC-leading sixth win and is undefeated on the season. He allowed just two runs off six hits, while striking out a career-high 10 batters, earning WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week honors.

  • In the series opener against the Toreros, SR RHP Matt Fields improved his record to 5-1 with the win. He tossed in 7.1 innings of work, giving up just two runs while punching out seven. Fields is currently ranked second in the conference with a 2.52 ERA. As a team, the Zags are ranked second in ERA at 4.19.

  • Gonzaga will host Washington State (4/14), before going on the road to play Northwest rival Portland (4/17-19).
  • Overall Record: 22-15
    WCC Record: 7-2
  • Loyola Marymount went 3-1 last week, earning a big win at No. 6 Cal State Fullerton, before taking two of three from San Francisco.

  • In the win over the Titans, LMU got big games from JR INF Ryan Wheeler and JR OF Angelo Songco. Wheeler went 3-for-5 for his 14th multi-hit game, while Songco went 2-for-4, with five RBI including a home run. LMU is now 6-1 against teams in the top 25.

  • SO INF Jonathan Johnson had a big week for the Lions. He finished the week 9-for-15 (.600), with four runs, a double, two triples, and four RBI.

  • The duo of Songco (48) and Wheeler (45) are one and two in the conference in runs scored, while Wheeler is third in hits (53) and Songco is second in RBI (42).

  • LMU is on the road this week at No. 3 UC Irvine (4/13) and UC Riverside (4/14), before traveling to face Pepperdine (4/17-19).
  • Overall Record: 20-13
    WCC Record: 4-5
  • The Waves went undefeated last week, sweeping Saint Mary's. Their game against UCSB was postponed with Pepperdine leading 8-5 in the top of the fourth.

  • SR OF Nate Simon led the way offensively for the Waves, going 7-for-11 (.636) with three doubles, a home run, and seven RBI en route to earning WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week honors.

  • In the series finale over Saint Mary's, SO LHP Matt Bywater had double-digit strikeouts for the third time this year with 10. Bywater tossed in six innings, allowing only two runs off four hits and improved Pepperdine to 6-1 in his seven starts. As a team, the Waves lead the league in pitching with a 3.74 ERA.

  • Pepperdine hosts Long Beach State (4/13) and USC (4/15), before continuing conference play, where it will host LMU (4/17-19).
  • Overall Record: 17-16
    WCC Record: 2-7
  • The Pilots went winless last week, getting swept by Santa Clara. They lost all three games by a combined four runs total.

  • In the series finale against the Broncos, FR RHP Kyle Kraus had a strong performance, going seven innings and allowing just one run off seven hits. Kraus currently leads the team and is ranked third in the league in ERA at 2.54.

  • The power-hitting duo of Bryant Kraus (7) and Cort Carpenter (6) are currently ranked fourth and fifth in the league in home runs.

  • FR INF Kris Kaupilla is having a solid first year, leading the team and ranking seventh in the league in hits (48) and sixth in doubles (13).

  • The Pilots head on the road to take on Oregon (4/14), before resuming conference play, where they will host Northwest rival Gonzaga (4/17-19).
  • Overall Record: 19-17
    WCC Record: 3-6
  • The Gaels went winless last week, losing to Cal Poly, before getting swept at Pepperdine.

  • FR INF Troy Channing is continuing his impressive first year with the Gaels. Currently he leads the league in batting average (.394), home runs (15), RBI (49), and total bases (107), while being tied for the league lead in hits (54).

  • In the one run loss to No. 16 Cal Poly, Saint Mary's was led by JR 1B Anthony Aliotti, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI.

  • The Gaels have had some close games recently as three of their last five losses were by one run each.

  • The Gaels host UC Davis (4/14) and San Jose State (4/15), before continuing conference play, where they will host San Diego (4/17-19).
  • Overall Record: 23-13
    WCC Record: 7-2
  • San Diego was 1-2 last week, taking the middle of a three-game set at Gonzaga. The midweek game against Stanford was cancelled due to rain.

  • In the win over Gonzaga, JR RHP AJ Griffin had a solid outing, pitching eight innings and giving up just two runs off six hits while striking out seven batters. Griffin is tied for the league lead for victories with six on the year in his new role as a starter. The Toreros also received back-to-back home runs from SR INF Jose Valerio and SO SS Zach Walters.

  • In the rubber match, JR RHP Matt Thomson pitched in eight innings, giving up just four runs, while striking out eight. Thomson currently leads the league in strikeouts with 64, while teammate SO RHP Kyle Blair is second at 62.

  • The Toreros host No. 3 UC Irvine (4/14), before resuming conference play, where they will travel to play Saint Mary's (4/17-19).
  • Overall Record: 16-20
    WCC Record: 4-5
  • San Francisco went 2-2 last week, defeating Pacific, before taking the middle of a three game set at LMU.

  • JR RHP Doug Murray remains undefeated at 6-0 this season, earning a win over LMU. He tossed in 6.1 innings, allowing five runs. He is one of only three pitchers in the conference to remain undefeated with at least four starts.

  • SO 1B Stephen Yarrow led the way for the Dons in the double-header. He hit his team leading fifth and sixth home runs, and went 3-for-4 with five RBI in the first game.

  • In the win over Pacific, SR OF Zach Kim went 3-for-5 and stole two bases. He is currently tied for the league lead in hits (54) while leading the conference in stolen bases (20).

  • The Dons head over to take on Sacramento State (4/14), before continuing conference play, where they will host Santa Clara (4/17-19).
  • Overall Record: 13-17
    WCC Record: 3-6
  • The Broncos went 3-1 last week, losing to Hawaii, before bouncing back to sweep Portland on the road.

  • JR RHP Alex Rivers earned a save and a win in the double-header. In the first game, he pitched the final inning, striking out all three. In the second, Rivers tossed in 7.2 innings, allowing zero runs on seven hits, while striking out eight.

  • JR RHP Nate Garcia pitched his second complete game of the year in game one of the series against the Pilots. He allowed just four runs, while striking out eight. He currently leads the league in innings pitched (58.1), while ranking third in strikeouts (61). JR C Geoff Klein has been a nice fill-in for all-american Tommy Medica, ranking fourth in the league in batting average (.371).

  • The Broncos host No. 15 Cal Poly (4/14) and Stanford (4/15), before coming back to conference play, where they play at San Francisco (4/17-19).