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Zags End Regular Season In Seattle

May 14, 2007

SPOKANE, Wash. -

Game 55

Gonzaga at Washington

Husky Ballpark

Seattle, Wash.

Tuesday, May 15 - 6:30 pm

Series Record: UW leads 67-51

 

THIS WEEK: The Gonzaga University baseball team will conclude the regular season this week with a midweek game at the University of Washington. The game will be played Tuesday at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

 

LAST OUTING: The Gonzaga University baseball team secured a spot in the West Coast Conference Championship last weekend, taking two of three games from No. 17 Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. In the series opener on Friday, the Bulldogs scored three runs in the top of the ninth frame to earn the 4-3 victory. Darin Holcomb led the Zags on the afternoon, going 4-for-5 with a run scored and one run batted in. Saturday, a solid performance by starting pitcher Clayton Mortensen earned Gonzaga its first appearance in the conference championship series since 2001 as the Bulldogs downed the Waves 7-1. Mortensen, who remained perfect in conference play with a 6-0 record, struck out 15 batters in a complete-game five-hit performance. Six Bulldogs recorded multiple hits in the contest including Mike Terry who recorded his third home run of conference play; a solo shot to left center in the fourth inning. Sunday, the Zags fell short of a sweep, dropping a 4-3 decision in 11 innings. Brandon Harmon posted his team-leading sixth complete game of the season, going 10.1 innings in the loss.

 

ON DECK: Gonzaga University will participate in post-season play for the first time since 2001 when the Zags travel to San Diego, Calif. May 25-27 to take on nationally-ranked University of San Diego in the West Coast Conference Championship. The championship series will be played in a best-of-three format, with the champion earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Earlier this season, Gonzaga opened WCC play by taking two of three from the Toreros in Spokane.

 

ZAGS EARN SPOT IN WCC CHAMPIONSHIP: By posting two wins last weekend in Malibu, Gonzaga University secured a spot in the 2007 West Coast Conference Championship on May 25-27 in San Diego, Calif. The Zags will face off against the league's regular-season champion nationally-ranked University of San Diego. The best-of-three series will determine which squad will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The only other time the Zags have participated in the league championship was in 2001 when they fell to Pepperdine University in three games in Malibu. The Bulldogs will be looking to earn a NCAA bid for the first time in over 25 years as the Gonzaga has not made an NCAA Regional appearance since 1981. Earlier this season the Bulldogs took two-of-three games from the Toreros in Spokane to open the WCC season.

 

BULLDOGS POST HIGHEST FINISH IN WCC PLAY: By posting victories over No. 17 Pepperdine University on Friday and Saturday, the Gonzaga University baseball team locked up its highest finish in WCC history, securing a second place finish. Gonzaga had never finished higher than fifth when the conference played a non-divisional format. The Bulldogs finished fifth in 1996 and last season's squad finished the 2006 campaign tied for fifth. The WCC played a non-divisional format Gonzaga's first three years in the conference (1996-98) and then went to the divisional format from 1999-05 before returning to non-divisional play last season.

 

ZAGS IN SEARCH OF NCAA BID: Gonzaga University will be competing for its first invitation to the NCAA Tournament since 1981 when the Bulldogs play No. 5 University of San Diego in the West Coast Conference Championship May 25-27 in San Diego, Calif. The Bulldogs have participated in the NCAA Tournament seven times with the most recent appearance coming in 1981. That year, Gonzaga dropped two games in the Tempe Region. The Zags fell in the opening game to Arizona State University 8-6 before being eliminated after falling to Fresno State University 10-9. The Bulldogs have never advanced past the opening round of the tournament but have advanced to a regional championship twice, once in 1978 and the other in 1980.

 

SCOUTING THE HUSKIES: The University of Washington baseball team enters Tuesday's game with Gonzaga University with a 26-23 overall record, including an 18-8 record when playing at home. The Huskies are fresh off of a three-game series at Stanford University, in which they dropped two of three games to the Cardinals. Washington is led at the plate by Bradley Boyer, who is boasting a .352 average in 41 games played. The UW pitching staff is anchored by relief pitcher Nick Hagadone who boasts a 5-1 record and a 1.88 earned run average in 57.1 innings pitched. The Huskies hold a 67-51 all-time advantage against the Zags. Earlier this season, Gonzaga welcomed Washington to Spokane, defeating the Dawgs 12-0 on March 21.

 

LAST TIME VS. WASHINGTON: On March 21, the Gonzaga University baseball team welcomed the University of Washington to Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field in winning fashion. Freshman Jeremy Stumetz posted a complete-game four-hit shutout as the Zags downed the Huskies 12-0. Darin Holcomb led the Bulldogs at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored while driving home four.

 

ZAGS GARNER NATIONAL VOTES: The Gonzaga University baseball team received votes in this week's USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll. The votes mark the first time this season that the Zags have received attention in the national polls. The Bulldogs have been ranked six times in school history, including being ranked 29th last season by Collegiate Baseball. The highest rank achieved by Gonzaga was ninth place in 1980.

 

MORTENSEN MOWS DOWN 15: Bulldog starting pitcher Clayton Mortensen struck out 15 batters Saturday as the Gonzaga University baseball team defeated Pepperdine University 7-1 in Malibu, Calif. The performance was his fourth game of the season with 10 or more K's. Heading into the 2007 season, no Gonzaga University pitcher had fanned 10 or more batters in a single game since 2003. To date this season, a Bulldog hurler has struck out 10 or more in a single outing five times. Mortensen holds the season-high count with 16 K's against the University of Portland on April 18. In addition to Mortensen, Chris Highmark also hit the 10+ K mark with ten punch outs against Southern Utah University on March 3. The Gonzaga pitching staff is recording, on average, 6.31 strikeouts a game. For his efforts against Pepperdine, Mortensen was named West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week; his third WCC accolade this season.

 

HOLCOMB, WINSTON BATS HEAT UP IN MALIBU: Darin Holcomb and Bryan Winston helped lead the Gonzaga University baseball team to two wins against No. 17 Pepperdine University last weekend, as both Zags hit over .400. Holcomb led the Bulldogs with a .545 average, going 6-for-11 with a double, three runs scored and two runs batted in. Winston hit at a .462 clip, going 6-for-13 with four runs scored and two RBI. In total, Gonzaga batted .308 in the series with Holcomb, Winston, Shawn Wayt (.385) and Ryan Wiegand (.357) all hitting over .350.

 

BULLDOGS HIT 30: With a 6-4 victory over Loyola Marymount University on May 6, not only did the Gonzaga University baseball team secure a series sweep, the Zags also posted their 30th win of the season. The 30 wins marked the first time since the 1990 campaign in which the Bulldogs have posted 30 or more wins in a season. Currently the Zags have a 32-22 record. In 1990, the club went 37-21. The 1994, 1995 and 2006 teams all finished their respective seasons with 29 victories.

 

GOING THE DISTANCE: Of the 54 games played this season by the Gonzaga University baseball team, the Bulldog pitching staff has posted 12 complete games. The dozen complete games marks the most complete games thrown by Gonzaga pitchers since the 1995 season. In 1995, the Zags recorded 20 complete games in a season in which the Bulldogs finished with a 29-25 record. The school record for complete games in a season is 33 games and was set during the 1976 season. This season, Brandon Harmon has paced the pitching staff with a career-high six complete games.

 

BULLDOGS VS. RANKED OPPONENTS: The Gonzaga University baseball team has played 11 games against Division I ranked opponents, amassing a 5-6 record. Five of the 11 games were played in the opening three weeks of the season. In total, the Bulldogs have played seven opponents that are currently ranked, posting a 6-9 record against those foes. Currently ranked opponents include No. 13 University of Arizona, No. 16 UC Riverside, No. 16 Oregon State University, No. 17 University of Missouri, No. 6 Arizona State University and No. 5 University of San Diego. During the opening three weeks of the season, the Bulldogs played five opponents that are currently ranked in the top 25 (UA, UCR, OSU, Mizzou, ASU). Last week's opponent, who the Zags took two of three games from, Pepperdine University, is currently ranked No. 22.

 

SENIOR NAMED WCC PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Clayton Mortensen, of the Gonzaga University baseball team, has been named this week's West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week. Mortensen earned his third accolade of the season as he posted a five-hit complete game with 15 strikeouts against Pepperdine University Saturday. The honor was the ninth of the season for the Bulldogs.

 

MORTENSEN RECORD WATCH: Senior pitcher Clayton Mortensen, of the Gonzaga University baseball team, has struck out 116 batters this season, moving him into sole possession of fourth place in the Bulldog single-season record book. Saturday's 15 strikeout performance against Pepperdine University moved Mortensen up two spots. Heading into the weekend, the senior was tied for fifth place with Mike Davey (101) before moving his way past current Bulldogs assistant coach Steve Bennett (109) for sole possession of fourth place. Mortensen is the sixth Bulldog in school history to post 100 ore more strikeouts in a single season. The single season strikeout record is held by Darin Blood, who struck out 145 batters faced during the 1995 campaign.

 

SENIOR NAMED TO FINAL ROGER CLEMENS AWARD WATCH LIST: Clayton Mortensen, a pitcher for the Gonzaga University baseball team, has been named to the final watch list for the 2007 Rogers Clemens Award. The award is given annually to the top pitcher in college baseball. Previous winners of the Roger Clemens Award include Jered Weaver of Long Beach State University (2004), Luke Hochevar of the University of Tennessee (2005) and Andrew Miller of the University of North Carolina (2006).

 

FIRST CAREER HOME RUN A BIG ONE: On May 4, against Loyola Marymount University, with Gonzaga University down by a run with a runner on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, pinch hitter Mark Castellitto stepped up to the plate. The freshman smacked his first home run of his career, nearly hitting off the scoreboard in right field, to give the Bulldogs a 7-6 victory. The walk-off home run was the first at the new home of the Bulldogs, Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field, as well as the first GU walk-off long ball since 2001. On March 25, 2001, Kevin Richardson hit a walk-off to secure a 10-8 extra-inning victory over Santa Clara University at August/A.R.T. Stadium in Spokane.

 

LONG ROAD SWING: The Gonzaga University baseball team began the 2007 season on a 21-consecutive road swing. Over the first month and a half of the season, the Bulldogs visited five states, including two trips to Arizona. Besides Arizona, GU traveled to California, Texas, Idaho and Utah, totaling nearly 10,500 miles. During the stint, the Zags posted an 11-10 record.

 

LIVE ON THE INTERNET: Tuesday's Gonzaga University game as well as the West Coast Conference Championship games are available via Gametracker on the internet at http://www.gozags.com. Check the Gonzaga web site for all Gametracker links.

 

LIVE ON THE RADIO: The West Coast Conference Championship games between Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego will be aired live on the radio in the greater Spokane area. Games on May 25-27 will be aired live at station that is yet to be determined. The broadcasts will begin 15 minutes prior to the scheduled first pitch. Calling games for the Bulldogs is Tom Hudson with former head coach Steve Hertz providing color commentary.

 

PATTTERSON BASEBALL COMPLEX AND WASHINGTON TRUST FIELD: This season the Zags call the Gonzaga University campus home for the first time in nearly three and a half years. The 2007 season marks the inaugural year of play at Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field. The new home of Bulldog baseball is a state-of-the-art facility that also incorporates an old-time baseball feel. The new stadium includes 1,300 theater-style seats and includes classic brick detailing. Major League amenities include a state-of-the-art infield, a professional candle lighting system and authentic home and visitor dugouts with underground passages to full-service clubhouses. The first game at the new facility was March 15 against Rider University. The facility also features eight light poles, two which are 90 feet tall while the other six stand at 80 feet. Dedication ceremonies were held April 20 prior to the game against Saint Mary's College.

 

HOME SWEET HOME: On Friday, April 20, 1,514 fans showed up to watch the Gonzaga University baseball team play Saint Mary's College at the new Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field. The number of fans marked the highest attendance at a home baseball game in Bulldog history. This season, 11,332 fans came to watch Gonzaga play, compared to 5,121 fans during the 2006 season. Last season, the Zags played all home games at Avista Stadium during the construction of Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field.

 

HEAD COACH Mark Machtolf: Mark Machtolf is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Gonzaga University baseball team and 15th year as a member of the Bulldog coaching staff. Machtolf was handed the head coaching reigns on August 7, 2003, following an 11-year stint as an assistant coach, replacing former head coach Steve Hertz, who moved into an administrative position in the Gonzaga Athletic Department. Machtolf has posted an 113-99 record at Gonzaga, including a 55-44 mark in West Coast Conference play. During his first three seasons he has led the Bulldogs to four top-five finishes and produced the WCC Player of the Year in 2004, former Zag Kiel Thibault. During the summer of 2006, Machtolf served as an assistant coach for Team USA. Under his guidance, the team posted a 28-2-1 record, including going a perfect at 8-0 record the Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) World Championships in Havanna, Cuba. A 1987 graduate of Stanford University, Machtolf was a member of the Cardinal's 1987 College World Series championship team and was an All-CWS selection.