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WCC Baseball Weekly Notes - 5/14

May 14, 2007

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San Diego And Gonzaga To Meet In WCC Championship Series

Gonzaga and San Diego will meet over Memorial Day weekend to determine the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the ninth annual WCC Championship Series. USD captured the regular season WCC title after winning a pair of games at Santa Clara over the weekend, and will host the WCC Championship Series for the first time. The Toreros are no stranger to the event, having knocked off Pepperdine in back-to-back seasons to capture the WCC's bid to the post-season in 2002 and 2003. The Bulldogs will make their first appearance in the WCC Championship Series since 2001, when they fell to Pepperdine in three games in Malibu. Gonzaga is the only WCC team to have won a series against the Toreros this year, taking two-of-three from USD in Spokane to begin the 2007 conference season. The Zags took two-of-three from Pepperdine over the weekend, knocking the Waves out of contention for the WCC Championship Series for the first time since the event's inception in 1999.

WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week
Eric Farris, LMU

Eric Farris enjoyed an outstanding week, batting .467 (7-for-15) in four games as the Lions finished off the 2007 conference season. The junior started the week by going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two steals against then-No. 25 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday, and slugged his third home run of the season against Portland over the weekend. Farris tallied three runs scored, three RBI, and three stolen bases on the week to bring his swipes total to 33 this season.

WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week
Clayton Mortensen, Gonzaga

Clayton Mortensen helped Gonzaga clinch a spot in the WCC Championship Series for the first time since 2001 with a dominating performance against then-No. 17 ranked Pepperdine on Saturday. The senior tossed a five-hit complete game, while striking out 15 batters and surrendering just one run during the outing. The 15 strikeouts marked the fifth time this season that Mortensen has posted double-digit strikeouts, and he improved to 6-0 against WCC opponents on the season.

Upcoming Games

May 14
Washington State at Portland - 3:00 PM

May 15
Long Beach State at LMU - 3:00 PM
UC Irvine at Pepperdine - 3:00 PM
Stanford at Santa Clara - 6:00 PM
Gonzaga at Washington - 6:30 PM

May 18
Pepperdine at Portland* - 3:00 PM

May 19
Pepperdine at Portland* - 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at Sacramento State - 2:00 PM

May 20
Pepperdine at Portland* - 1:00 PM
Sacramento State at Santa Clara - 2:00 PM

* Denotes Conference Game

2007 WCC Championship Series Schedule

May 25
Gonzaga at San Diego - 3:00 PM

May 26
Gonzaga at San Diego - 2:00 PM

May 27
Gonzaga at San Diego - 3:00 PM

Around The WCC

WCC In The Rankings
San Diego ascended to a No. 5 ranking in Monday's Baseball America poll, and is ranked in the top-12 of all four major polls this week. Pepperdine remains ranked in all four polls as well, and is listed as high as No. 22 in the nation in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. Gonzaga received votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll this week.

Four WCC Players Named Academic All-District
Four WCC Baseball players were named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII team, as selected by CoSIDA. The WCC tied with the Pac-10 for the most honorees from one conference in District VIII, as San Francisco's Tavo Hall and Jonnie Knoble joined Saint Mary's Eric Cattoni and Santa Clara's Carl Bacon on the list. All four selections will advance to the national ballot for Academic All-American consideration. USF is the only school to have a pair of first team All-Academic District VIII selections this season.

San Diego's Jordan Abruzzo Re-Writes The Record Book
San Diego's Jordan Abruzzo has enjoyed a phenomenal senior campaign at USD, jumping into the career record books in several different categories. The catcher became the Toreros' all-time hits leader in April, and will enter the WCC Championship Series ranked fifth on the conference list with 298 hits. He also became just the fourth player in league history to eclipse the 200-RBI mark this season, and recently moved ahead of LMU legend Billy Bean into third place in WCC annals with 205 RBI. He also ranks fourth on the USD career list with 173 runs, and fourth on the program chart with 35 career home runs.

Gonzaga Starters Eating Up Innings
Clayton Mortensen and Brandon Harmon each went the distance for the Zags over the weekend, marking the conference-leading 11th and 12th complete-game efforts posted by GU starters this season. The total is the most for a Gonzaga pitching staff since the 1990 Bulldogs tossed 20 complete games, and the total is double that of the next WCC team this season (Portland, 6). Harmon has thrown a WCC-leading six complete games on the year, including his 10.1 inning effort on Sunday, while Mortensen ranks second in the conference with five complete games.

WCC Team Notes

Gonzaga Bulldogs (32-22 / 15-6 WCC)
- Gonzaga clinched a spot in the WCC Championship Series after taking two-of-three from then-No. 17 Pepperdine on the road over the weekend and securing second place. It marks the highest-ever WCC finish for GU, and the Zags' 32 wins are the most for a Bulldog team since the 1990 squad went 37-21.

- Clayton Mortensen struck out 15 batters in a complete-game effort in Saturday's win to bring his season strikeouts total to 116, moving him into sole possession of fourth place on the Gonzaga single-season list.

- Darin Holcomb continued to swing a hot bat, collecting six hits on the weekend to bring his batting average to a team-high .373 (81-for-217). The junior moved ahead of current Major Leaguer Jason Bay into 10th place on GU's single-season list with his 81st hit of 2007.

- The Zags prep for the Championship Series with a mid-week trip to Washington (5/15).

Loyola Marymount Lions (22-32-1 / 9-12 WCC)
- The Lions dropped a mid-week tilt to then-No. 25 ranked Cal State Fullerton, but rebounded to take two-of-three from Portland at Page Stadium over the weekend to close out their conference slate.

- Eric Farris stole three bases on the week to bring his season swipes total to 33, the highest single-season mark by a Lion since the 1970's.

- Brad Meyers struck out a career-high 11 batters in Friday's 3-1 win over the Pilots to bring his season strikeouts total to 85, which ranks fourth in the conference.

- Daniel Macias tossed a gem in his final career start on Sunday, striking out seven batters through nine innings of work in a 2-1 LMU victory.

- LMU wraps up the campaign at home against No. 11 ranked Long Beach State (5/15).

Pepperdine Waves (32-19 / 11-7 WCC)
- The Waves fell to then-No. 10 ranked UCLA on Tuesday before dropping two-of-three to Gonzaga over the weekend to fall into third place in the WCC standings. The Waves will not participate in the WCC Championship Series for the first time since the event's inception in 1999.

- Chase d'Arnaud returned to the lineup for the first time since April 10 on Friday, and collected a pair of hits in the 5-3 loss to the Zags. d'Arnaud, who missed a month of play due to a leg injury, enters the week batting .331 (50-for-151) on the season.

- Danny Worth enters the week with 59 career doubles, just one short of the Pepperdine career mark. The junior is currently tied for ninth on the WCC career list for two-baggers.

- Pepperdine hosts No. 12 ranked UC Irvine (5/15) before closing out the 2007 regular season with a three-game set at Portland this weekend.

Portland Pilots (20-27 / 7-11 WCC)
- Portland fell in a pair of mid-week contests at Washington before traveling to LMU and dropping two-of-three to Lions over the weekend.

- James Allan went 4-for-5 with a home run and five RBI in Saturday's 11-2 win over the Lions. The senior moved into second place on the team with a .305 (25-for-82) batting average on the season.

- Given Kutz worked eight innings and struck out seven batters to earn his sixth victory of the season on Saturday. The junior, who ranks third in the conference in strikeouts with 87, also moved into third place on the Portland single-season strikeout list.

- Portland returns home to face Washington State (5/14) before closing out the campaign with a three-game set against Pepperdine this weekend.

Saint Mary's Gaels (21-29-1 / 3-18 WCC)
- Saint Mary's suffered a three-game sweep at San Francisco to close out the season, dropping each of the final two contests by a single run.

- Eric Cattoni finished off his career at SMC by going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases in Sunday's 11-10 loss to the Dons. The senior helped re-write the Saint Mary's record book, scoring 53 runs in 2007 to move into second on the SMC single season list, and finishing his career ranked seventh on the program's all-time list with 45 stolen bases.

- Anthony Aliotti capped off an outstanding freshman campaign with his first career home run in Sunday's loss. Aliotti ranked second on the team in batting, hitting at a .320 (55-for-172) clip, and went 6-4 in 12 mound appearances on the year.

- Randy Wells batted .354 (63-for-178) to become the first freshman since Bryan Byrne in 2003 to lead the Gaels in hitting.

San Diego Toreros (41-15 / 18-3 WCC)
- San Diego clinched its first-ever WCC regular season title with a pair of wins over Santa Clara over the weekend. The Toreros, who claimed back-to-back WCC Championship Series titles in 2002 and 2003, will host the Championship Series for the first time against Gonzaga on May 25-27.

- Brian Matusz struck out 11 batters in Friday's conference-clinching win over the Broncos, and became the Toreros' all-time single-season leader with 152 strikeouts in 2007. The strikeout total also ranks fourth on the WCC single-season chart.

- Kevin Hansen, who is one of seven Torero starters currently batting over .300, drove in the winning run in Saturday's 10-inning win over SCU.

- Despite having a 12-game winning streak snapped on Sunday, USD ascended to a program-best No. 5 national ranking in this week's Baseball America listing.

San Francisco Dons (27-28 / 9-12 WCC)
- San Francisco wrapped up the 2007 season on a high note, sweeping Bay Area rival Saint Mary's over the weekend to improve to 27-28 and 9-12 in conference play.

- Aaron Poreda tossed seven innings and struck out six batters to earn his seventh win of the season in Friday's 11-1 victory over SMC. The junior moved into a tie for third place on the USF all-time wins chart with 17, and finished the 2007 season ranked fifth on Dons' career ERA chart (2.61).

- Jon Norfolk slugged a two-run walk-off home run to lift the Dons to an 11-10 victory over Saint Mary's on Sunday. It marked the fourth career dinger for the senior.

- Joey Railey pounded out a team-high 72 hits on the season and finished the campaign with 161 career hits, just eight short of the USF career top-15 list.

Santa Clara Broncos (25-28 / 9-12 WCC)
- Santa Clara rebounded from a pair of losses to hand then-No. 6 ranked San Diego a 6-5 defeat on Sunday, marking the Broncos' second win over a ranked opponent this season.

- Carl Bacon provided the heroics in Sunday's win, clubbing a two-out RBI double to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bacon enjoyed an outstanding weekend against the Toreros, going 6-for-14 with a pair of runs scored and three RBI during the series.

- Ryan Conan drove in his 50th run of the season in Sunday's win over USD, and enters the final week of the season ranked third in the conference in RBI.

- The Broncos wrap up the 2007 season with three games this week, hosing Stanford (5/15) and traveling to Sacramento State (5/19) before returning to Schott Stadium to host the Hornets (5/20) in the season finale.