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WCC Baseball Weekly Notes

April 21, 2009

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CONFERENCE PLAY CONTINUES THIS WEEK
The West Coast Conference closed out week four of conference play with Pepperdine, Portland, Saint Mary's, and San Francisco winning their respective series. With just three weeks left in conference play, the race for the top two spots is heating up. San Diego and LMU are currently tied for first place, while Gonzaga sits just one game back of both. Pepperdine and San Francisco are also in the mix as both are tied, just two games back of first. The Toreros are the sole ranked team in the conference, coming in at No. 28 in the NCBWA weekly poll.

This week, the WCC will face two ranked opponents as San Diego and Pepperdine both get a crack at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton. Last week, San Diego and Santa Clara both beat ranked teams as the Toreros beat No. 3 UC Irvine and the Broncos defeated No. 15 Cal Poly, putting the WCC at 18-15 against teams in the top 25. Be sure to log on to wccsports.com later this week to listen to podcasts with Cole Cook (PEP) and Tyson Van Winkle (GON), this week's pitcher and player of the week.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

All Times PST

MONDAY, APRIL 20
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Arizona at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 12:00 PM
Santa Clara at Stanford Stanford, CA 5:00 PM
TUESDAY, APRIL 21
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Saint Mary's at UC Davis Davis, CA 2:30 PM
Pepperdine at Cal State Northridge Northridge, CA 3:00 PM
San Jose State at San Francisco San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM
USC at LMU Los Angeles, CA 3:00 PM
Portland at Washington Seattle, WA
4:00 PM
No. 28 San Diego at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton Fullerton, CA 6:00 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
No. 8 Cal State Fullerton at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 3:00 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 24
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
LMU at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 3:00 PM
Pepperdine at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 3:00 PM
Portland at No. 28 San Diego San Diego, CA 3:00 PM
Gonzaga at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 25
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
LMU at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 1:00 PM
Pepperdine at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 1:00 PM
Portland at No. 28 San Diego San Diego, CA 1:00 PM
Gonzaga at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 6:00 PM
SUNDAY, APRIL 26
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Portland at No. 28 San Diego San Diego, CA 12:00 PM
LMU at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 1:00 PM
Pepperdine at San Francisco San Francisco, CA 1:00 PM
Gonzaga at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 1:00 PM

AROUND THE WCC
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: Tyson Van Winkle, GON
Van Winkle had a huge week for the Zags en route to earning his second WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week award. For the week, he went 13-for-18 (.722) with six doubles, a home run, seven runs scored, and nine RBI. He also had games of five and four hits and had multiple hits in each contest.

WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week: Cole Cook, PEP
Cook had an impressive outing in the first win over the Lions last week. He went eight innings, allowing zero runs off just three hits, while striking out seven and is now 6-2 on the year and has held opponents to a .157 batting average.

Also Nominated: Nate Simon, PEP; Kris Kauppila, POR; Anthony Aliotti, SMC; Scott Schneider, SMC; Derek Poppert, USF; Doug Murray, USF; Nate Garcia, 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: 25-13
WCC Record: 7-5
  • Gonzaga went 2-2 last week defeating Washington State, before going 1-2 against Portland. The Zags opened this week with an 8-7 loss to Arizona.

  • JR C Tyson Van Winkle had a huge week for the Zags en route to earning his second WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week award. For the week, he went 13-for-18 (.722) with six doubles, a home run, seven runs scored, and nine RBI. He also had games of five and four hits and had multiple hits in each contest.

  • In the series opener against the Pilots, SR OF Anthony Synegal hit two home runs, driving in three runs to lead the Zags to victory. SR RHP Matt Fields tossed in the first five innings, allowing just three runs while striking out seven.

  • Gonzaga lost an 8-7 game against Arizona (4/20) to open the week and will have the rest of the week off before playing a three-game set at Santa Clara (4/24-26).
  • Overall Record: 24-18
    WCC Record: 8-4
  • Loyola Marymount went 2-3 last week, losing to UC Irvine and defeating UC Riverside, before going 1-2 against Pepperdine.

  • Against the Anteaters, SO 2B Jonathan Johnson was a perfect 4-for-4 with a double, a triple, and two singles. The triple was Johnson's seventh of the year, and of his career, placing him tied for fourth in the LMU all-time single season record book.

  • FR LF Ryan Hawthorne has been extremely consistent as of late. He recorded a hit in each game last week and is on a league-high 16-game hitting streak.

  • The duo of JR OF Angelo Songco (52) and JR INF Ryan Wheeler (51) are one and two in the conference in runs scored, while Songco is third in home runs (12) and second in RBI (49).

  • LMU hosts USC (4/21), before returning to conference play, where it will travel to face Saint Mary's in a three-game series (4/24-26).
  • Overall Record: 23-15
    WCC Record: 6-6
  • The Waves went 3-2 last week, falling to Long Beach State and beating USC, before taking the series against LMU, 2-1.

  • FR RHP Cole Cook had an impressive outing in the first win over the Lions. He went eight innings, allowing zero runs off just three hits, while striking out seven to earn this week's WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week award. He is now 6-2 on the year and has held opponents to a .157 batting average.

  • SR OF Nate Simon was just one hit shy of the cycle in the second win over LMU and also hit the Waves' first grand slam of the season in the game. The Waves did not commit a single error over the week and lead the NCAA with a .986 fielding percentage. No Waves' infielder or outfielder has committed more than two errors this year.

  • Pepperdine is at Cal State Northridge (4/21) and at home against No. 8 Cal State Fullerton (4/22), before resuming conference play with a three-game set at San Francisco (4/24-26).
  • Overall Record: 20-17
    WCC Record: 4-8
  • The Pilots went 3-1 last week, defeating Oregon on the road, before taking the last two against Gonzaga for the series win.

  • The win over Oregon gives the Pilots a three-game season series sweep over the Ducks for what is believed to be the first time in program history. In the game, SO CF Craig Smith went 3-for-5 with four RBI, while SO RF Tyler Thompson added three RBI off a home run.

  • The Pilots earned both victories against the Zags with late game heroics. In the first win, SR OF Bryant Kraus hit a three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth for the one run win and the only Portland runs of the game. In the second win, FR SS Kris Kauppila hit a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth for another one run win.

  • The Pilots head on the road to take on Washington (4/21), before continuing conference play, where they will play at San Diego in a three-game set (4/24-26).
  • Overall Record: 23-18
    WCC Record: 5-7
  • The Gaels went 4-1 last week, defeating UC Davis and San Jose State, before taking two out of three against San Diego.

  • JR 1B Anthony Aliotti was the most productive Gael over the week. He went 11-for-20 (.550), with two doubles, a home run, four runs scored, and nine RBI.

  • JR RHP Scott Schneider earned his fourth win in the second game against the Toreros, giving Saint Mary's its first series victory over San Diego since 2004. He went six innings and allowed just two runs, while striking out a season-high nine batters.

  • FR INF Troy Channing is second in the league in batting average (.391) and hits (61), while ranking first in home runs (15), RBI (57), and total bases (117).

  • The Gaels play at UC Davis (4/21), before returning to conference play, where they will host LMU for a three-game set (4/24-26).
  • Overall Record: 25-15
    WCC Record: 8-4
  • San Diego was 2-2 last week earning a big win over then No. 3 UC Irvine, before going 1-2 at Saint Mary's.

  • In the win over UC Irvine, the Toreros were led by JR C Nick McCoy and JR 3B Steven Chatwood, who both went 2-for-4, driving in two runs each.

  • In the victory over Saint Mary's, JR RF James Meador led the way with a 4-for-5 performance with a double and two RBI. SR SS Sean Nicol also got in the act, going 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI.

  • JR RHP Matt Hauser collected a pair of wins over the week with both victories over UC Irvine and Saint Mary's.

  • The Toreros head over to face No. 8 Cal State Fullerton (4/21), before resuming conference play, where they will host Portland for a three-game series (4/24-26).
  • Overall Record: 19-21
    WCC Record: 6-6
  • San Francisco went 3-1 last week, defeating Sacramento State, before taking the last two for the series win against Santa Clara.

  • JR RHP Doug Murray remains undefeated at 7-0 this season with the win over Santa Clara. He tossed in eight innings, allowing just one run off seven hits. His seven wins now leads the league and he is one of three players in the conference undefeated with at least four starts.

  • JR SS Doug Poppert led the way over the week for the Dons, going 9-for-16 (.563) with three doubles, two runs scored, and seven RBI. Over the week, SR OF Zach Kim nabbed four bags bringing his league-leading total to 24. Kim is also the league leader in hits with 62 on the year.

  • The Dons host San Jose State (4/21), before continuing conference play, where they will host Pepperdine for a three-game set (4/24-26).
  • Overall Record: 15-21
    WCC Record: 4-8
  • The Broncos went 2-3 last week, defeating then No. 15 Cal Poly and falling to Stanford, before going 1-2 against San Francisco. Santa Clara opened this week with a loss at Stanford.

  • JR RHP Nate Garcia tossed his league-leading third complete game of the season in the series opening win over the Dons. He gave up just one run on seven hits, while striking out 10 batters. He now has 220 career strikeouts, placing him No. 10 on the Broncos' all-time list. Garcia also leads the league in innings pitched (67.1) and strikeouts (71).

  • SR 3B Brady Fuerst was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI in the win over the Mustangs. He also tallied double No. 17, ranking him third in the conference while also placing him three away rom entering the single-season list.

  • The Broncos opened the week with a loss to Stanford and will have the rest of the week off, before resuming conference play, where they will host Gonzaga in a three-game set (4/24-26).