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WCC Baseball Concludes Conference Play this Week

May 12, 2009

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CONFERENCE PLAY CONCLUDES THIS WEEK
The West Coast Conference closes out conference play this weekend with Gonzaga, LMU, San Francisco, and Pepperdine still in the hunt for a spot in this year's WCC Championship Series. The Dons would need either Gonzaga or LMU to sweep the other as well as sweep their remaining series against Portland. The Waves would need the Dons to lose one game and have Gonzaga sweep LMU as well as a sweep in their remaining series against Santa Clara.

This week, the matchup between Gonzaga and LMU highlights this week's slate of games as the two are currently tied for first place in the standings. The winner of this series will be given the regular season title as well as a spot in the WCC Championship Series. Be sure to log onto wccsports.com this week for an interview with Kendall Rogers of Yahoo!/Rivals Sports.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

All Times PST

MONDAY, MAY 11
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
New Mexico at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA 12:00 PM
San Francisco at San Diego State San Diego, CA 2:00 PM
LMU at Arizona Tucson, AZ 6:00 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 12
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
Portland at Washington State Pullman, WA 5:30 PM
Gonzaga at No. 24 Oregon State Corvallis, OR 6:00 PM
Pepperdine at No. 18 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA
6:00 PM
San Diego at No. 1 UC Irvine Irvine, CA 6:00 PM
UC Davis at Santa Clara Santa Clara, CA
6:00 PM
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
Gonzaga at No. 24 Oregon State Corvallis, OR 1:00 PM
Portland at Washington State Pullman, WA 2:00 PM
LMU at USC Los Angeles, CA 6:30 PM
FRIDAY, MAY 15
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
San Francisco at Portland Portland, OR 3:00 PM
Santa Clara at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 3:00 PM
LMU at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 6:30 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 16
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
San Francisco at Portland Portland, OR 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 1:00 PM
LMU at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 1:00 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 17
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
San Francisco at Portland Portland, OR 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 1:00 PM
LMU at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 1:00 PM

AROUND THE WCC
WCC April Player of the Month: Tyson Van Winkle, GON
Tyson Van Winkle of Gonzaga went 33-for-67 (.493) to lead all hitters during the month of April. He tallied seven doubles, two home runs, and 20 RBanced/langs/en.js"> I while slugging at .687 and reaching base at a clip of .551. In 16 games over the month, he had 12 multi-hit games, an eight game hitting streak, and had back-to-back games of five and four hits. He also had six multi-RBI games and had a hit in eight straight plate appearances at one point.

WCC April Pitcher of the Month: Lee Roberts, LMU
Lee Roberts of LMU went a perfect 4-0 during the month helping his team into a tie for first place in the conference standings. In 31 innings, he struck out 25 with a 3.48 ERA while holding batters to a .231 average. He also registered a complete game, second of the season, in April and went at least seven innings in all four starts, averaging 6.25 strikeouts a contest.

WCC/Rawlings Co-Pitcher of the Week: AJ Griffin, USD
Griffin earned his eighth win of the season, tossing in a complete game in the series opener against the Dons. He gave up just one run off five hits, while striking out eight.

WCC/Rawlings Co-Pitcher of the Week: Matt Hiserman, USF
Songco helped his team go 4-0 last week and take over a share of first place in the Hiserman earned his third weekly honor of the season by pitching a complete game in the series clinching win over the Toreros. He allowed just one run off seven hits, while striking out eight.

WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week: Matt Long, SCU
Long went 7-for-16 (.438) over the week, helping the Broncos go 3-1. He scored seven runs while driving in three and collecting a double and a home run. He also scored the game-winning run in the series opener against the Gaels.

Also Nominated: Drew Johnson, USF; Alex Rivers, 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: 30-14
WCC Record: 12-6
  • Gonzaga was off last week and remains in a tie for first place in the conference standings.

  • Gonzaga's 30 wins this season marks the third year in a row it has achieved the feat and this is the first time the program has won 30 games in back-to-back-to-back seasons as a member of the WCC.

  • JR C Tyson Van Winkle's 21 doubles this season ties him for third on the Zags' all-time single season list and he is three away from entering the WCC's all-time top 10 single season list. He is also the only catcher in the league to start every one of the team's games behind the plate this year.

  • Gonzaga takes on Oregon State this week in a two-game set (5/12-13) before playing its biggest series of the year against LMU (5/15-17), which will decide the WCC regular season champion and who hosts the 2009 WCC Championship series.
  • Overall Record: 29-24
    WCC Record: 12-6
  • Loyola Marymount went winless in its two games last week, falling on the road to Arizona. It opened this week with a loss to Arizona to finish the series.

  • SR INF Kyle Spraker led the Lion offense, finishing 4-for-5 with two runs scored, two doubles and a RBI. JR OF Angelo Songco collected multiple hits for the fifth consecutive game, finishing 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Songco has now hit safely in six straight games. He is also two shy of entering the Lions' single-season Top-10 in home runs, and sits seventh in home runs all-time.

  • JR INF Ryan Wheeler collected another double against Arizona and now has 20 for the season, putting him four away from being placed on the WCC's all-time single season top 10 list.

  • LMU closes out the season at USC (5/13) and with a three-game series at Gonzaga (5/15-17) to decide the host of the WCC Championships.
  • Overall Record: 27-22
    WCC Record: 9-9
  • The Waves won their continuation game against UCSB, before falling to Long Beach State and UCSB, and going 2-1 against Portland.

  • At 9-9 in conference play, the Waves are still in the hunt for a spot in this year's WCC Championship Series. They would need a sweep over Santa Clara this weekend, along with a Gonzaga sweep and have San Francisco drop one.

  • The Waves clinched the series against the Pilots in extra innings in the series finale, with an RBI double in the top of the 12th by SR INF Bryce Mendonca. SR RHP Nick Gaudi was credited with the victory after pitching the final 2.2 innings, allowing zero runs and one hit.

  • The Waves have just allowed 31 errors in 49 games played this year to lead the NCAA.

  • The Waves play at No. 18 Cal Poly (5/12), before finishing conference play with a three-game series at home against Santa Clara (5/15-17).
  • Overall Record: 23-23
    WCC Record: 6-12
  • The Pilots went 1-3 last week, losing to then No. 18 Oregon State, before going 1-2 against Pepperdine.

  • Portland took game two against Pepperdine with a three-run go-ahead home run by SR INF Chase Powell with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

  • FR SS Kris Kauppila had a single in every game of the Pepperdine series and is on a league-high 13-game hitting streak, going for multiple hits in six of those contests.

  • SO INF Riley Henricks is on a six-game hitting streak and has only failed to hit in back-to-back games once this season, going hitless in three straight games in the beginning of the season.

  • The Pilots are at Washington State (5/12-13) before concluding the season with a three-game series at home against San Francisco (5/15-17).
  • Overall Record: 28-27
    WCC Record: 9-12
  • The Gaels went 1-3 last week, falling to Hawaii, before going 1-2 against Santa Clara. They closed out the season with a loss to New Mexico this week.

  • FR 3B Troy Channing continues to build upon the school record he set earlier this season as he hit home run No. 20 against Santa Clara. Channing has the possibility of becoming just the third player in WCC history to win the Triple Crown as he ranks first in the league in home runs (20) and RBI (75), while ranking sixth in batting average (.376).

  • FR SS Chris Murphy went 3-for-4 in the win over the Broncos and was one home run shy of hitting for the cycle. He entered the series finale against Santa Clara on a seven-game hitting streak before getting shutout.

  • Channing ends his freshman campaign tied for eighth on the WCC's all-time top 10 list for RBI (75) and tied for sixth in home runs (20).
  • Overall Record: 28-25
    WCC Record: 11-10
  • San Diego went 1-4 last week, losing a pair to then No. 4 Arizona State, before going 1-2 against San Francisco.

  • JR 2B Chris Engell had a league-leading 15-game hitting streak going into the San Francisco series, including 11 multi-hit games, before getting shutout in the last two contests.

  • JR RHP AJ Griffin tossed a complete game in the win over the Dons, allowing just one run off five hits, while striking out eight en route to earning WCC/Rawlings Co-Pitcher of the Week honors. His 28 career saves ties him for first on the WCC's all-time career list.

  • JR LF James Meador is having an outstanding season for San Diego as he leads the league in hits (80) and is second in batting average (.383).

  • San Diego closes out the season at No. 1 ranked UC Irvine (5/12).
  • Overall Record: 26-27
    WCC Record: 10-8
  • San Francisco went 3-1 last week, defeating Pacific, before going 2-1 against San Diego. The Dons opened the week with a loss to SDSU.

  • The Dons are still in the mix for a spot in the WCC Championship series, needing a sweep of Portand along with either a Gonzaga or LMU sweep to get in.

  • SO RHP Matt Hiserman pitched a complete game in the series finale against the Toreros to clinch the series. He allowed just one run off seven hits while striking out eight on his way to his third WCC/Rawlings Co-WCC Pitcher of the Week award.

  • SR OF Drew Johnson led the way over the week for the Dons going 7-for-18 (.389), with two home runs, four RBI, and four stolen bases.

  • The Dons conclude the season with a three-game series at Portland (5/15-17).
  • Overall Record: 19-29
    WCC Record: 6-12
  • The Broncos went 3-1 last week, defeating Stanford, before going 2-1 against Saint Mary's.

  • JR RHP Alex Rivers tossed in a complete game for the second straight week in the series finale win over Saint Mary's. He allowed just two runs off five hits, while striking out eight. JR RHP Nate Garcia (7-4) has gone at least six innings in every contest this season and leads the league in strikeouts (93) and innings pitched (90.1).

  • SR OF Matt Long led the way over the week for the Broncos en route to earning WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week honors. He went 7-for-16 (.438) with seven runs, three RBI, a double, and a home run. He also scored the game-winning run in the series opener against the Gaels.

  • The Broncos host UC Davis (5/12), before heading down to Pepperdine to close out the season with a three-game set (5/15-17).