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WCC weekly baseball notes, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011

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West Coast Conference Action Resumes Thursday
All four series will get an early start this week, as WCC play picks up on Thursday afternoon.

San Francisco's Travis Higgs Named Rawlings WCC Player of the Week
USF catcher Travis Higgs was behind the plate for all three of the Dons' wins at Portland last weekend and was a late-game substitute in a loss to San Jose State. Higgs hit .429 with a .929 slugging percentage. The senior collected six hits in 14 at bats and totaled seven RBIs, two home runs, one double and four runs scored with only three strikeouts. His first home run was a two-run bomb in game one against Portland that jumped started USF to a 19-2 win. His second home run came in the final game of the series against Portland - another two-run shot. USF's pitchers totaled a 1.00 ERA against Portland with Higgs calling the signs.
Also Nominated: Cameron Edman, GON; Kris Bryant, USD; Kyle DeMerritt, SCU

Gonzaga's Cody Martin Named Rawlings WCC Pitcher of the Week
Gonzaga's Cody Martin pitched 3 2/3 hitless innings in three relief appearances at LMU - the league's top offense - over the weekend. In addition to striking out six, he retired all batters he faced except one. He earned his sixth save of the season in Gonzaga's come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Lions Friday, retiring the side in order with two strikeouts and a ground out on 12 pitches as the Bulldogs remained in first place in the WCC standings.
Also Nominated: Chris Jensen, USD; Cory Hall, SCU

Portland's Dennis Named To Stopper Of The Year Watch List
Portland senior closer Chris Dennis was named to the initial watch list for the seventh annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Dennis, who is the all-time career leader in saves at UP, has also been named to the NCBWA Pre-Season All-American First Team and to the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American Second Team.

Two WCC Players Candidates for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
Portland reliever Chris Dennis and San Francisco outfielder Connor Bernatz are two of thirty NCAA baseball student-athletes selected as candidates for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Coaches Tab San Diego To Repeat in Preseason Poll
The University of San Diego is a unanimous selection to repeat as the West Coast Conference champions, garnering all seven possible first place votes and 49 points in a preseason poll of the eight WCC head coaches. Last season was memorable for USD. Led by 2010 WCC Player of the Year James Meador and Pitcher of the Year Kyle Blair, the Toreros posted a 19-2 WCC record en route to an NCAA berth and a 37-win season. Despite having ten players drafted, Coach Rich Hill and his staff have reloaded once again. The coaches selected Pepperdine to finish second in the WCC with 39 points. The complete poll follows.

Team (First Place Votes), Points
San Diego (7),49
Pepperdine, 39
San Francisco, 33
Portland (1), 32
Loyola Marymount, 23
Gonzaga, 20
Santa Clara, 16
Saint Mary's, 12

Player, School, Yr.,Pos.
Troy Channing, Saint Mary's,Jr., IF
Ryan Hawthorne, LMU,Jr.,OF
Riley Henricks,Portland,Sr., IF
Brian Humphries, Pepperdine,Jr.,OF
Jonathan Johnston,LMU,Sr.,INF
Matt Lowenstein,LMU,So.,OF/INF
Kevin Muno,San Diego,Sr.,OF
Joe Sever, Pepperdine,So.,IF
Curtis Wagner,Santa Clara,Sr., 1B/DH
Stephen Yarrow,San Francisco,Sr., IF

Mark Anderson, Saint Mary's,Jr.
Ryan Carpenter, Gonzaga,Jr.
Chris Dennis, Portland,Sr.
Kyle Kraus, Portland,Jr.
Martin Viramontes,LMU,Jr.

A New Look
The West Coast Conference has teamed with CBSSports.com College Network, its web site host and multimedia partner, to re-launch WCCsports.com. Among the new features on the site are front-and-center video content, larger images and graphics, campus updates, fan polls, and integration with other West Coast Conference social media platforms - such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Visitors to WCCsports.com can also find additional features such as a WCC insider blog, and interactive results.

What'd He Say?
For the latest scores and news, follow the West Coast Conference on Twitter @WCCSports.

Did you know that WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich is on Twitter, too? See what The Commish has on his mind. Follow him @WCC_Commish.



Overall Record: 21-11-1
WCC Record: 5-1
  • The 24th-ranked Bulldogs took two-of-three at previously-unbeaten Loyola Marymount over the weekend to remain one game in front of the Lions atop the WCC standings.
  • Senior RHP Cody Martin was named the Rawlings WCC Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Martin came out of the bullpen in all three games at LMU, striking out six without allowing a hit over 3 2/3 innings against the league's top offense.
  • Redshirt catcher Cameron Edman was 6-for-17 at the plate at LMU, collecting a homer and two doubles, while driving in five runs. He is hitting .391 with eight RBI in six WCC games.
  • Gonzaga returns home for a three-game series against Saint Mary's this week. Thursday's action is scheduled to get underway at 6 p.m.

Overall Record: 20-15
WCC Record: 4-2
  • Loyola Marymount dropped two-of-three to first place Gonzaga at Page Stadium over the weekend.
  • Sophomore Matt Lowenstein ranks second in the West Coast Conference in both batting average (.371) and hits (49) through Tuesday's games.
  • Loyola Marymount continues to lead the WCC in hitting. As a team, the Lions have posted a .288 batting average and 330 hits. Both marks lead the West Coast Conference.
  • The Lions travel to Pepperdine for a three-game set in the PCH Cup series this week. Thursday's first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. from Field Stadium.

Overall Record: 16-19
WCC Record: 2-4
  • Pepperdine came up short at Cal State Fullerton on April 5, and the Waves Pepperdine dropped its first two games at San Diego, but held on for an impressive 11-10 victory over the host Toreros on Sunday. The Waves fell 3-2 at UC Santa Barbara in 15 innings on Tuesday.
  • Redshirt junior Miles Silverstein had a terrific weekend at San Diego, knocking seven hits in 12 at-bats against the Toreros. He ripped two doubles and scored four runs over the weekend.
  • Junior LHP Aaron Gates is fifth in the WCC, with an opponents batting average of just .221. He has induced 11 double plays while on the mound this season.
  • Pepperdine resumes West Coast Conference play on Thursday, hosting PCH Cup rival Loyola Marymount in the first of a three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m., and the Waves will be looking for their fifth straight series win over LMU.

Overall Record: 12-21
WCC Record: 2-4
  • Portland lost all three games to San Francisco over the weekend, including a doubleheader on Sunday. The Pilots then lost at Oregon on Tuesday evening.
  • Senior 3B Matt Mardesich has belted four homers this season, which is tied for the team lead and tied for second in the WCC.
  • Freshman outfielder Turner Gill is hitting .340 so far on the season, ranking fifth in the West Coast Conference.
  • The Pilots will look to get back on track this week, when they travel to San Diego for a three-game WCC series. Action gets underway at 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon from Cunningham Stadium.

Overall Record: 15-16
WCC Record: 3-3
  •  Saint Mary's dropped two-of-three games at home to Bay Area rival Santa Clara last weekend.
  • Junior Toby DeMello leads the West Coast Conference having picked off eight baserunners so far this season.
  • Junior RHP Mark Anderson continues to lead the West Coast Conference with six victories this season. As a team, the Gaels' 2.95 earned run average is 23rd nationally and tops in the WCC.
  • The Gaels hit the road this weekend for a three-game set at No. 24 Gonzaga beginning Thursday night.

Overall Record: 10-24
WCC Record: 2-4
  • San Diego took two-of-three at home from WCC rival Pepperdine over the weekend. The Toreros fell at nationally-ranked UC Irvine on Tuesday.
  • Junior RHP Chris Jensen pitched a terrific game in Friday's WCC win over Pepperdine. Jensen struck out nine without issuing a walk or allowing an earned run over eight innings. He earned his first win of the season.
  • Freshman third baseman Kris Bryant, the West Coast Conference leader with seven home runs, was 8-for-14 at the plate last week. Bryant doubled three times, drove in four, and stole a pair of bases on the week.
  • The Toreros host Portland at Cunningham Stadium in a three-game series later this week. Thursday's first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Overall Record: 17-20
WCC Record: 4-2
  • San Francisco's bats came to life, as the Dons swept a three-game series at Portland over the weekend. USF out-scored the Pilots 31-4 in the series, and the Dons have won 11 of the last 13 meetings between the two schools.
  • Senior catcher Travis Higgs was named the Rawlings West Coast Conference Player of the Week on Monday. Higgs was 6-for-14 with a pair of homers and seven driven in last week as the Dons swept three at Portland.
  • Senior LHP Matt Lujan tied a USF school record with his 22nd career victory in Saturday's 19-2 win at Portland. Lujan (4-3) pitched six innings in the win.
  • The Dons host Bay Area rival Santa Clara in a three-game series at Benedetti Diamond beginning Thursday afternoon. Thursday and Friday's games are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., and Saturday's game is a 1 p.m. start.

Overall Record: 14-19
WCC Record: 2-4
  • Santa Clara used great pitching to take two of three games at Saint Mary's over the weekend. The Broncos fell at home to No. 23 Stanford on Tuesday night.
  • Senior RHP Cory Hall pitched a complete game, striking out nine, in a conference win at Saint Mary's on Friday. That effort marked Hall's fourth victory of the season.
  • Junior RHP J.R. Graham is second in the nation in fewest walks per nine innings pitched, allowing just 0.26 free passes per nine.
  • The Broncos visit San Francisco for a three-game series beginning Thursday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. from Benedetti Diamond.