April 26, 2006
FRIDAY - April 28
Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount, 3 p.m.
SATURDAY - April 29
Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount, 1 p.m.
SUNDAY - April 30
Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount, 1 p.m.
2006 GONZAGA BULLDOGS RECORD: 26-16, 7-5 WCC
GONZAGA LOOKING TO END LMU HEX: Coming off a series win over San Francisco that placed the Bulldogs in the middle of a tight WCC championship race, Gonzaga will now look to stay in contention with a three game series at Loyola Marymount. Playing at LMU has not been kind to the Bulldogs in recent years as last season Gonzaga needed to win two of four games on the final weekend at LMU to win the Coast Division. GU was swept in all four games ending that title run. Gonzaga was also in the race in 2004 when they lost two of three to the Lions in Los Angeles. Gonzaga's last successful trip to LMU was in 2003 when they won a doubleheader to win the series two games to one.
HEAD COACH Mark Machtolf: Mark Machtolf enters his third season as the Bulldogs head coach and 14th year as a member of the Gonzaga baseball staff. Following an 11-year stint as an assistant coach, Machtolf was handed the head coaching reigns on August 7, 2003 when former head coach Steve Hertz moved into an administrative position with the GU athletic department. Machtolf has posted a 78-69 record at Gonzaga including a 38-30 mark in West Coast Conference games. During his first two years he led the Bulldogs to consecutive third place finishes in the WCC Coast Division and produced the WCC Player of the Year in 2004. A 1987 graduate of Stanford University, Machtolf was a member of Stanford's 1987 College World Series championship team and was an All-CWS selection.
JUMBLED WCC RACE: Nine games remain to decide the 2006 West Coast Conference regular-season race and after the first 12 games, five teams are within one game of first place. Saint Mary's is the current WCC leader with an 8-4 record following a weekend sweep at Portland. Gonzaga is settled in a mix of four teams tied for second place with 7-5 records. Pepperdine, San Diego and San Francisco join the Zags in second place. Following this weekend's trip to LMU, Gonzaga ends the season hosting Pepperdine and traveling to San Diego. Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara are tied for sixth with 5-7 records, three games out of first place.
WEEKEND RADIO & GAME TRACKER: All three GU baseball games at LMU will be available on the radio and on Game Tracker statistics. Friday's game can be heard on AM 1050 The Key while Saturday and Sunday's broadcasts will be on AM 790 The Fan in the Spokane area. Game Tracker stats can be found on the www.GoZags.com website.
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT LIONS (18-27, 5-7 WCC): Gonzaga travels to Loyola Marymount for the Bulldogs second WCC road series of the year. The Lions are 18-27 on the season following a mid-week win over Southern California. LMU is led by Erik Johnson with a .362 average and 36 RBI. Chris Pettit is also one of the Lions top RBI men with 36 runs driven in this season. The Lions top starting pitcher is Brad Meyers with a 6-4 mark and 3.35 ERA. LMU is 7-3 against the Bulldogs over the last 10 games played in Los Angeles.
BRENNAN JUST OFF SINGLE SEASON PACE: Senior outfielder Jackson Brennan is on the verge of breaking into several Gonzaga single season Top 10 lists as the Bulldogs end the month of April. Brennan needs one more double and one more triple to join the Top 10 in both those categories. He also needs two home runs to crack the Top 10 in that area. Brennan is currently among the WCC leaders in all three categories ranking first in triples, second in home runs and third in doubles. Brennan is also the WCC leader with 45 runs scored. The last player to crack the Top 10 for doubles was Bobby Carlson with 17 last season. The last person to crack the Top 10 for triples was Kevin Taylor with 5 during the 1999 season. The last Bulldog to join the single season home run list was Gordon Corder with 14 homers in 2003.
CARLSON WARMING UP IN APRIL: Senior Bobby Carlson continues to warm up at the plate in the month of April as he is now hitting .417 during 14 games for the month. Carlson has increased his season batting average to .323 with 11 doubles and 8 home runs. It marks the third straight season that Carlson has collected 8 home runs and double figure doubles. He also has 34 RBI this season.
MORE ON CARLSON : With his recent offensive output, Bobby Carlson has climbed up one Gonzaga career Top 10 and is closing in on two other categories. Carlson now has 43 doubles which ties him with Mac Gebbers (1978-82) for seventh on the career chart. Carlson increased his career home run total to 24 on Tuesday night against Washington State and needs three more home runs to join a trio of players tied for 8th. Carlson also needs eight more RBI this season to crack the Top 10 list, Carter Masterson (1992-95) is currently 10th with 143 RBI.
HARMON WORKS HARD ON THE WEEKEND: Sophomore right-hander Brandon Harmon probably felt like a position player following his amount of time on the mound during the series against San Francisco. Harmon made an appearance in all three games picking up a save on Friday night and the win on Sunday. He also faced two batters in Saturday's contest. During his outing on Sunday, Harmon worked 5.2 innings allowing three runs as the Bulldogs rallied to win the series. Harmon improved to 2-0 on the year with 2 saves. He also has now pitched enough innings to have his ERA of 1.53 rank as the best in the WCC. With his save on Friday, Harmon increased his career saves total to 7 placing him in sole possession of fifth place on the GU career saves list.
WALKS FEW AND FAR BETWEEN FOR HARMON: One reason behind Brandon Harmon's success on the mound is his ability to avoid hurting himself with walks. During his two season's in a Bulldogs uniform, Harmon has posted one of the best ratio's of walks allowed per nine innings in GU history. Harmon has only walked 9 batters during 41 appearances over the past two seasons. He has worked 68.1 innings which equates to nearly one walk every 7.2 innings. Harmon has struck out 51 batters giving him a 5-1 strike out to walk ratio.
BRYNER GETS THE CALL: Senior lefty Jay Bryner was called to action on Sunday afternoon getting his first start of the season. Bryner had been used out of the bullpen in spot situations during his other eight appearances this season. Last year Bryner picked up eight starts in 14 appearances serving mainly as the Bulldogs mid-week starter. Bryner has a 3-3 record in two seasons with the Zags.
TOPS IN THE FIELD: Gonzaga remains one of the top defensive teams in the nation as they lead the West Coast Conference with a .976 fielding percentage. The Bulldogs have had 17 percent fielding games this season with only 38 errors all season in 42 games. Only three times this season have the Bulldogs committed three or more errors in a game with a season-high 4 miscues in a loss against Washington State at the Banana Belt Classic in Lewiston, Ida.
DONOVAN GETS HARD EARNED WIN: After garnering a no-decision against Santa Clara and a loss at Saint Mary's, senior left-hander Patrick Donovan finally picked up his sixth win of the year on Friday against San Francisco. Donovan improved to 6-3 on the season lowering his ERA to 3.22. The win was also No. 18 for Donovan's Gonzaga career leaving him two shy of joining the Bulldogs Top 10 for career wins. Donovan also increased his career strike out total to 169 leaving him 20 strike outs behind Tom Gorman (1977-80) for 10th place on the Zags Top 10. Donovan has moved up in the career innings category now ranking fifth with 292.1 innings pitched. Only four GU pitchers have ever tossed more than 300 innings in a Bulldogs uniform with Mike Mahoski (1977-80) the career leader with 373.1. Donovan will most likely get four more starts during the regular-season.
BASEBALL EARLY SIGNEES: Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf signed three players during the fall early signing period. Signing National Letters of Intent were Bryan Barnes, Mark Ellis and Sebastian Herve. Barnes is a middle infielder at Mountlake Terrace High. Ellis is middle infielder at Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School in British Columbia. Herve, a native of France, is an outfielder at Cochise CC in Arizona.
MACHTOLF NAMED TO TEAM USA COACHING STAFF: Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf has been named an assistant coach for Team USA for the summer of 2006. Machtolf will serve as the hitting coach for USA Baseball as the team plays a full slate of games this summer ending with the III FISU World Baseball Championships in Havana, Cuba. Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin will serve as the head coach of Team USA while TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle and Auburn head coach Tom Slater were also named assistant coaches.
BASEBALL STADIUM APPROVED: Gonzaga University's Board of Trustees recently approved the construction of Gonzaga's new on-campus baseball stadium. Early stages of the construction will begin in the upcoming weeks with the field ready for practice in the Fall of 2006 and home games scheduled to be played on the GU campus in 2007. Gonzaga has not played an on-campus game since April of 2003 when August/A.R.T. Stadium became the site for the current McCarthey Athletic Center.