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WCC Baseball Weekly Notes

April 28, 2009

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CONFERENCE PLAY CONTINUES THIS WEEK
The West Coast Conference closed out week five of conference play with Saint Mary's, San Diego, and San Francisco winning their respective series, while Gonzaga recorded the only sweep. With just two weeks left in conference play, the race for the top two spots is tightening up. San Diego and Gonzaga are currently tied for first place, while LMU sits just one game back of both. With the Dons' series victory over Pepperdine, they move into fourth place, just two games back of first.

This week, the matchup between San Diego and LMU highlights this week's slate of games as either team can distance themselves from the rest of the pack for first place. Gonzaga will also have a chance to separate itself as it host Saint Mary's, who is coming off a series victory against LMU. Pepperdine and Portland have this weekend off due to finals. Be sure to log on to wccsports.com later this week to listen to podcasts with Ryan Wiegand (GON) and Sean Nicol (USD), this week's Co-Players of the Week, and Matt Hiserman (USF), this week's Pitcher of the Week.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

All Times PST

TUESDAY, APRIL 28
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
UC Riverside at No. 30 San Diego San Diego, CA 3:00 PM
Saint Mary's at San Jose State San Jose, CA 6:00 PM
Washington State at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 6:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
LMU at Cal State Bakersfield Bakersfield, CA 2:00 PM
No. 13 Cal Poly at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 3:00 PM
Gonzaga at Washington State Pullman, WA
5:30 PM
Santa Clara at San Jose State San Jose, CA 6:00 PM
FRIDAY, MAY 1
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Concordia at Portland Portland, OR 1:00 PM
No. 30 San Diego at LMU Los Angeles, CA 3:00 PM
San Diego State at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 6:00 PM
San Francisco at No. 13 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA 6:00 PM
Saint Mary's at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 6:30 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 2
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Saint Mary's at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 1:00 PM
No. 30 San Diego at LMU Los Angeles, CA 1:00 PM
San Diego State at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA (DH) 1:00 PM, TBA
San Francisco at No. 13 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA 6:00 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 3
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Saint Mary's at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 1:00 PM
No. 30 San Diego at LMU Los Angeles, CA 1:00 PM
San Diego State at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA 1:00 PM
San Francisco at No. 13 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 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 Co-Player of the Week: Ryan Wiegand, GON
Wiegand went 10-for-17 (.588) with six runs scored, two doubles, a home run, and 10 RBI. He also had a slugging percentage of .882 and an on-base of .682. He is now Gonzaga's all-time leader in doubles and RBI and is only three hits away from being the all-time hits leader.

WCC/Rawlings Co-Player of the Week: Sean Nicol, USD
Nicol went 8-for-18 (.444) with five doubles, two home runs, 10 runs scored and nine RBI. He is also on a conference-high 15-game hitting streak, including five multi-hit performances in his last seven outings.

WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week: Matt Hiserman, USF
Hiserman had an impressive performance to clinch the series against Pepperdine. He tossed in his first career complete game allowing just two runs off four hits, while striking out a career-high 12 batters.

Also Nominated: Steven Ames, GON; Lee Roberts, LMU; Troy Channing, SMC; AJ Griffin, USD; Derek Poppert, USF

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: 28-13
WCC Record: 10-5
  • Gonzaga went 3-1 last week, falling to Arizona, before getting a sweep at Santa Clara.

  • SR 1B Ryan Wiegand had a huge week for the Zags en route to earning WCC/Rawlings Co-Player of the Week. He went 10-for-17 (.588) with six runs scored, two doubles, a home run, and 10 RBI. He also had a slugging percentage of .882 and an on-base of .682. He is now Gonzaga's all-time leader in doubles and RBI and is only three hits away from being the all-time hits leader. He is currently on an eight-game hitting streak.

  • JR RHP Steven Ames pitched his second complete game of the season in the series finale against the Broncos. He gave up just one earned run off five hits, while striking out four. This was his second complete game in three starts and he is now 7-0 on the year.

  • Gonzaga has a home-and-home with Washington State (4/28-29), before resuming conference play with a three-game series against Saint Mary's (5/1-3).
  • Overall Record: 25-21
    WCC Record: 9-6
  • Loyola Marymount went 1-3 last week, losing to USC before going 1-2 at Saint Mary's.

  • SR RHP Lee Roberts won his sixth consecutive contest in complete game fashion against Saint Mary's. He went the distance allowing just four runs on seven hits, while striking out seven. Roberts has now lasted at least six innings in eight of his nine starts this year and the Lions have now won eight of the last 11 games in which Roberts has pitched. He is also fourth in the league in ERA at 2.96.

  • SR 3B Kyle Spraker led the way in the win over the Gaels, going 4-for-5, with three doubles. SO 2B Jonathan Johnson contributed his first career home run as well as what proved to be a game-winning sacrifice fly in the seventh.

  • LMU plays at Cal State Bakersfield (4/29), before returning home for conference play, where it will host San Diego for a three-game set (5/1-3).
  • Overall Record: 24-19
    WCC Record: 7-8
  • The Waves went 1-4 last week, falling to Cal State Northridge and then No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, before going 1-2 at San Francisco.

  • JR INF Ryan Heroy went yard twice over the week, with the second time proving to be a game-winner in the win over San Francisco. Down 6-5, he hit a two-run shot in the top of the ninth to secure the win.

  • SR RHP Nick Gaudi collected his league-leading eighth save of the year in the win over the Dons. Gaudi has allowed zero runs and one or less hits in seven of his last eight appearances.

  • The Waves committed just one error in the series against the Dons and lead the NCAA with a .985 fielding percentage.

  • The Waves are off this week due to finals.
  • Overall Record: 21-20
    WCC Record: 5-10
  • The Pilots went 1-3 last week, losing to Washington, before taking the first of three from San Diego.

  • In the win over the Toreros, the Pilots got production from SR 1B Cort Carpenter, SR LF Bryant Kraus, and SO CF Craig Smith, who all tallied three hits a piece and combined for eight RBI.

  • FR SS Kris Kauppila had an impressive outing in the series finale against San Diego. He finished 3-for-6, with a home run, two runs scored, and a career-high four RBI. He has registered multiple hits in three of his last five games and is on a team-leading eight-game hitting streak. He is also among league leaders in hits (6th-61), runs scored (5th-42), and doubles (4th-17).

  • The Pilots have just one game this week hosting Concordia College (5/1), and will take the rest of the week off due to finals.
  • Overall Record: 25-20
    WCC Record: 7-8
  • The Gaels went 2-2 last week, losing to UC Davis, before taking the last two from LMU for the series win.

  • FR 3B Troy Channing set a new Gaels' single season home run record with his grand slam (16th HR) in the second game against LMU that put Saint Mary's up for good. He followed that up by going yard twice in the next game, the second time proving to be the game winner. He is on pace to become just the third player in WCC history to win the triple crown as he leads the league in home runs (18) and RBI (67) and is tied for the lead in batting average (.394).

  • JR RHP Scott Schneider (5-4) earned his fifth victory of the year in the first win over the Lions. He went five innings, allowing four runs while striking out seven. In his last five starts, he has struck out 33 batters in 30.0 innings.

  • The Gaels play at San Jose State (4/28) and host No. 13 Cal Poly (4/29), before returning to conference play, where they will head to Gonzaga for a three-game series (5/1-3).
  • Overall Record: 27-17
    WCC Record: 10-5
  • San Diego was 2-2 last week, falling to then No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, before taking the last two from Portland.

  • SR SS Sean Nicol had a monster week en route to earning WCC/Rawlings Co-Player of the Week. He went 8-for-18 (.444) with five doubles, two home runs, 10 runs scored and nine RBI. He is also on a conference-high 15-game hitting streak, including five multi-hit performances in his last seven outings. Nicol is currently ranked fifth in the league in hits (65) and third in runs scored (51).

  • JR RHP AJ Griffin (7-2) earned his seventh win in the second game against the Pilots. He went seven innings, allowing just three runs off six hits, while striking out 10. Griffin is currently tied for fourth in the league in strikeouts with 64.

  • San Diego hosts UC Riverside (4/28), before resuming conference play where it will head over to take on LMU in a three-game series (5/1-3).
  • Overall Record: 22-23
    WCC Record: 8-7
  • San Francisco went 3-1 last week, defeating San Jose State, before taking two out of three from Pepperdine.

  • SO RHP Matt Hiserman had an impressive performance to clinch the series against Pepperdine. He tossed in his first career complete game allowing just two runs off four hits, while striking out a career-high 12 batters en route to earning WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week honors.

  • JR SS Doug Poppert led the way over the week for the Dons, going 9-for-14 (.643) with two doubles, five runs scored, and eight RBI. He is currently on a eight-game hitting streak, including six multi-hit performances. SR OF Zach Kim is on a 10-game hitting streak and has registered a stolen base in five of his last seven games, bringing his league-leading total to 27.

  • The Dons opened the week with a loss at Stanford (4/27) and will round out the week with a three-game series at No. 13 Cal Poly (5/1-3).
  • Overall Record: 15-24
    WCC Record: 4-11
  • The Broncos went winless last week, losing to Stanford, before getting swept by Gonzaga.

  • In the series against Gonzaga, the Broncos had chances to win the first two games, but lost both leads in the ninth innings.

  • In the extra innings loss to the Zags, nine different Broncos recorded at least one hit led by JR SS Jon Karcich, who went 4-for-5, and SR CF Matt Long and SO 1B Curtis Wagner, who tallied three hits a piece.

  • JR RHP Nate Garcia (6-3) has gone at least six innings in every contest this season and has struck out at least six in each of his last five outings.

  • The Broncos head over to play San Jose State (4/29), before ending the week by hosting San Diego State in a three-game series (5/1-3).