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WCC Championship Series Berth on the Line This Weekend

May 8, 2006

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TOREROS IN MUST WIN SITUATION: Following a weekend series sweep against Santa Clara University, the University of San Diego baseball team (30-20, 11-7 WCC) finds themselves in a must win situation when they host Gonzaga University (27-21, 8-10 WCC) this weekend. The Toreros trail both Pepperdine University and the University of San Francisco by one game for first place in the West Coast Conference standings, and a berth into the WCC Championship series. Here is what needs to happen for USD to get into the WCC Championship series:

u If USD sweeps Gonzaga, then USD would need either Pepperdine or San Francisco to lose two of three or get swept, to get in.

u If USD wins 2-of-3 against Gonzaga, then USD needs Pepperdine to lose 2-of-3 or get swept by SMC, or have USF lose 2-of-3 to LMU, or get swept by LMU and then have LMU either win 2-of-3, or 1-of-3, or get swept by Portland to get in. If LMU wins out and USD wins 2-of-3, LMU would be one game in front of USD and therefore get in the WCC Championship series.

SCOUTING THE MATADORS: Cal State Northridge enters the week with a 21-23 overall record after winning two-of-three this past weekend against the Aggies of UC Davis. The Matadors captured the earlier meeting with USD 2-1 on April 11 and are posting a 13-11 record in their home yard. CSUN is led offensively by Brett Blumenthal who has a team-leading .330 batting average, has 33 hits, three doubles, one triple, two home runs and 24 RBI. On the mound for the Matadors, Craig Baker leads the way with his record of 5-7 and team-leading ERA of 3.42. The Matadors are under the direction of fourth-year head coach Steve Rousey who has posted a 73-139-1 overall record during his tenure in Northridge.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Gonzaga University enters the week with a 27-21 overall record and a 8-10 mark in the West Coast Conference after dropping two-of-three to conference-leading Pepperdine University this past weekend. USD holds the all-time series edge at 29-22-1. The Zags are led offensively by junior second baseman Scott Campbell who has a team-best batting average of .383, hits with 74, has eight doubles, four home runs and 22 RBI. Senior left-hander Patrick Donovan leads the pitching rotation for GU with his 3.22 ERA and 7-4 record. The Zags are under the direction of third-year head coach Mark Machtolf who has posted a 79-44 overall record at the helm of the Bulldogs baseball program.

LAST TIME OUT: The University of San Diego baseball team posted a perfect 4-0 week, ringing up a 15-7 win against cross-town rival San Diego State University on Tuesday, before sweep Santa Clara 7-6, 8-7, 4-1 over the weekend. In Tuesday's pounding of the Aztecs, USD pounded out 15 hits with Daniel Magness leading the charge going 4-for-6 with four RBI and one run scored. USD continued the offensive output in Friday's series opening win against the Broncos. In the game USD rallied late in the game and with the scored tied at 6-6, the bases loaded, Ryan Lilly hit a walk-off single to lift USD to victory. Lilly was the hero again in Saturday's 10 inning thriller, as he was faced with the same situation, and again delivered with a walk-off single to give USD the win. In Sunday's game, USD used a four-run eighth inning to rally for the win completing the much needed sweep over Santa Clara.

HOME SWEET HOME: The University of San Diego Toreros are bolstering a 15-5 record while playing in the friendly confines of Cunningham Stadium this season, and as a team they are hitting .329 at home, while the Toreros pitching staff is holding opponents to a .267 batting average. The Toreros opened the season at home in stylish fashion with a three-game sweep of the defending national champion Texas Longhorns. USD has built on that momentum and not lost a season series while playing in their home yard. Coming into the final week of play, this home filed advantage could serve USD well as they are in the midst of the West Coast Conference race, only one game behind Pepperdine and San Francisco for first place and one of the two coveted WCC Championship series spots.

ROMANSKI NAMED WCC PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Freshman left-hander Josh Romanski was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week after guiding the Toreros to three wins this past week. Romanski posted a 3-0 record this past week with an ERA of 2.25. Romanski allowed two runs on eight hits, while striking out 10 in 8.0 innings of work. Romanski was a huge part of USD recording a three-game sweep over Santa Clara University. Not only did he pick up two wins against SCU, but he also had a productive week at the plate for USD regersting three hits, one double, one home run and two RBI. Romanski's home-run was a two-run blast over the right field fence to pull USD into a tie with SCU late in Saturday's 8-7 10 inning win, a home run that helped him stay in the game as the pitcher and pick up the win as he pitched 3.0 innings allowing one run on four hits while striking out three. Romanski also entered Sunday's game from left field in the eighth inning, and retired all four batters he faced in 1.1 innings of work, including two strikeouts. Romanski also was able to cool off the San Diego State bats on Tuesday as the Aztecs pulled to within two, before Romanski entered the game and only allowed SDSU one run on four hits while striking out five in 3.2 innings of work. Romanski has moved his record to .500 at 4-4 and has lowered his ERA to 3.26. Romanski also leads the team in saves with five. On the offensive end of things, Romanski is hitting .266 with 34 hits, four doubles, one triple, two home runs and 14 RBI.

HILL APPROACHING A COUPLE OF MILESTONES: San Diego head coach Rich Hill is approaching a couple of coaching milestones. Hill can be just the third coach in the history of the West Coast Conference to reach 200 career WCC wins, should USD win at least one of the three games this weekend against Gonzaga. Hill currently stands with 199 career WCC wins during his tenure at both the University of San Francisco and San Diego. Hill is also approaching his 600th-career win as a head coach. Should USD win four of their final five games, Hill will reach No. 600. Hill currently has 596 career wins during his tenure's at Cal Lutheran, San Francisco and San Diego.

Ryan Lilly, USD'S SUPERHERO: San Diego senior third baseman Ryan Lilly broke out his superhero uniform this past weekend and was nothing short of amazing. Lilly played a huge role for the Toreros this past week, as USD posted a 4-0 week. Lilly went 7-for-15 (.467) with four RBI. Lilly was the hero for USD at the plate, as he not once, but twice lifted USD to a one-run win against Santa Clara with walk-off singles. With USD having the bases loaded on Friday, he knocked in the winning run with a single to center field, and again on Saturday with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th inning, he knocked in a single up the middle to push across the winning run. Lilly has moved his batting average up to .276 with 48 hits, four doubles, one home run and 26 RBI. Lilly was no doubt the hero for USD this past weekend and a huge reason the Toreros were able to post a much needed sweep over Santa Clara.

TOPS IN THE FIELD: San Diego remains one of the top defensive teams in the nation as they are leading in the West Coast Conference with a .978 fielding percentage. The Toreros have only committed 43 errors all season in 50 games. Only three times this season have the Toreros committed three errors in a game.

SNYDER'S OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: Sophomore center fielder Justin Snyder had a monster week for the Toreros at the plate. He went 10-for-17 (.588) with four doubles and four RBI. Snyder began the week with a 3-for-5, one double and two RBI performance for USD in the 15-7 pounding of cross-town rival San Diego State University. He continued his offensive attack through the weekend posting a 4-for-5, one double and two RBI performance in the series opening win against Santa Clara. Snyder has moved his batting average back above .300 to .315, good for third on the team. Snyder has 58 hits, 11 doubles, one triple, two home runs and 26 RBI with a team-leading .436 on base percentage.

VALERIO SEES ACTION: Seldom used redshirt freshman infielder Jose Valerio made the most of his playing opportunity this past weekend. Valerio went 4-for-7 (.571) at the plate including a huge single in the eighth inning in Friday's win to keep the Toreros's rally alive.

TORERO SKIPPER Rich Hill: San Diego's Rich Hill has built the USD Toreros into one of the most successful Division I baseball programs on the West Coast. The 2006 spring season will be Hill's 19th year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and eighth at USD, having enjoyed 15 winning seasons in 18 years. Since taking over at USD in 1999, Hill has been remarkable in leading the Toreros to seven consecutive winning campaigns, rewriting the school record book en route to claiming back-to-back West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002 and 2003. Under his leadership San Diego has averaged 33 wins per season, including winning a school record 39 games in 2002, a year in which Hill was honored by his peers as the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. Hill became one of the youngest coaches in collegiate history to reach 500 career victories in 2003, taking USD into postseason play for a second consecutive season.

2006 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All San Diego baseball home games can be followed via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of Online College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and is a real time update of the action. Selected San Diego road games are also available via Gametracker. To see if Gametracker is available for a game go to San Diego Events at the top-right of the home page. If Gametracker is available there will be a Gametracker link.

TOREROS ON THE AIR: Friday's games against Gonzaga University can be heard live via the internet at www.usdtoreros.com by the voice of the Toreros Jack Murray. There will also be select games throughout the remainder of the 2006 season that can be heard on usdtoreros.com, simply check the web site's baseball schedule page and look for the listen links that will appear in the right column of the page next to the particular game/series.

TOREROS TABBED SECOND IN WCC: The Toreros were tabbed to finish second in the West Coast Conference according to the preseason WCC coaches poll. USD received two first place votes and 42 points, with the Waves of Pepperdine University coming in at 48 points and 6 first place votes. Following USD was San Francisco (34 points), LMU (32 points), Gonzaga (26 points), Santa Clara (18 points), Saint Mary's (16 points) and Portland (8 points). Last season the Toreros finished 30-27-1 overall (16-14 in WCC; 2nd place in Coast Division), marking the seventh straight season with 30 or more victories .

WCC FORMAT CHANGE FOR 2006: The West Coast Conference will change its league baseball format and schedule beginning in 2006. A one-division format will once again be implemented and the eight institutions will compete in a 21-game conference season. This new format is a departure from a two-division format, West and Coast, with a 30-game conference schedule that has been used in the WCC since the beginning of the 1999 season. Under the one-division, 21-game format, each school will play the other seven opponents one time over the course of an eight-week conference season. Each team will play seven three-game series, with one week serving as the bye week. The top two finishing teams will play in the WCC Championship Series with the regular-season champ serving as series' host.

BASEBALL NOW A TICKETED SPORT: All USD baseball home games are now a tickets event, effective at the start of the 2006 season. General Admission tickets will available to the general public on the day of each game. USD faculty, staff, and student tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Faculty and staff will be allowed a maximum of two tickets, and students will be allowed one ticket per person. Additional tickets are $5 per person. Only cash will be accepted, no credit cards, please. All three baseball games against Texas are expected to sell out. Seating will be limited and fans are encouraged to show up early. Tickets will go on sale and be available for pick up 90 minutes prior to each game. Reserved seating is not available.