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WCC BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES TAKES PLACE THIS WEEKEND

May 20, 2009

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WCC BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES TAKES PLACE THIS WEEKEND
Gonzaga will host the 11th annual WCC Baseball Championship Series for the first time in school history over Memorial Day weekend and will face LMU, who is making its fifth appearance in the annual classic.

The two teams met for a weekend series in the last week of conference play to decide the winner of the regular season title and the host of the Championship Series as both were tied for first place.

The series ended being tight the whole way as Gonzaga won the first two contests by one run each. LMU clinched a spot in the Championship Series by taking game three of the series.

Scouting The Bulldogs
The Bulldogs won their first ever conference title with a series victory over LMU last week and will host the Championship Series for the first time.

Ryan Wiegand and Tyson Van Winkle have proven to be a potent combo this year as Van Winkle leads the team in hits and Wiegand in RBI, while both have posted at least 20 doubles on the year.

The Zags have one of the strongest starting rotations in the league as they lead the conference in team ERA. Matt Fields and Steven Ames headline the pitching staff as both have posted 7-1 records this year. Ames has posted two complete games this year, while Fields has completed one shutout.

Scouting The Lions
The Lions enter the Championship Series with eight players hitting over .300, led by the powerful combo of Angelo Songco and Ryan Wheeler, who rank one-two in the conference in runs scored.

Lee Roberts headlines the starting pitching rotation and is 7-2 on the year with a 3.68 ERA. He has pitched three complete games this season and ranks second in the league in innings pitched and fourth in strikeouts.

This will be the fourth appearance in the WCC Championship Series for the Lions and the first under Head Coach Jason Gill, who took over the program this year. LMU boasts an impressive 9-2 record against ranked opponents.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

All Times PST

FRIDAY, MAY 22
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
LMU at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 6:30 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 23
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
LMU at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 3:00 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 24
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
LMU at Gonzaga (if necessary) Spokane, WA 12:00 PM

AROUND THE WCC
Saint Mary's Troy Channing Named a Semifinalist for Dick Howser Trophy
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and the College Baseball Foundation has released the list of 16 semifinalists for the 2009 Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top player in collegiate baseball. Among those 16 are Saint Mary's freshman third baseman Troy Channing. The 16 candidates hail from nine difference conferences and 16 difference schools, of the 16 players Channing is one of two freshmen on the list. Criteria for the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Hower's life.

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 RBI 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 Pitcher of the Week: Cody Martin, GON
Cody Martin helped the Zags secure a spot in the Championship Series as well as the opportunity to host the series as he recorded a save in the series opener and a win on Saturday in two one run victories. For the series, he tossed 4.0 innings, allowing zero runs off four hits, while striking out six.

WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week: Zach Kim, USF
Zach Kim stole seven bases over the week on his way to breaking the Dons' all-time single season record. He finished the season with 42 on the year, tying him for the fifth spot on the WCC's all-time single season list. For the week, he went 5-for-12 (.417), with three doubles, a triple, and two RBI.

Also Nominated: Lee Roberts, LMU; Jonathan Johnson, LMU; Zach Varce, POR; Matt Lujan, 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: 33-16
WCC Record: 14-7
  • Gonzaga went 2-2 last week falling to No. 24 Oregon State, before claiming its first ever WCC regular season title with a 2-1 series victory over LMU as Head Coach Mark Machtolf earned WCC Coach of the Year.

  • SR RHP Matt Fields was awarded this year's WCC Pitcher of the Year after going undefeated in conference play at 5-0 with a 2.81 ERA. Fields, SR OF Anthony Synegal, JR C Tyson Van Winkle, and SR 1B Ryan Wiegand were all awarded All-WCC first team honors.

  • SO RHP Cody Martin helped the Zags secure a spot in the Championship Series as well as the opportunity to host the series as he recorded a save in the series opener and a win on Saturday in two one run victories. For the series, he tossed 4.0 innings, allowing zero runs off four hits, while striking out six en route to earning WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week honors.

  • Gonzaga won a make-up a game against No. 27 Washington State (5/19), and will host the 2009 WCC Championship Series against LMU (5/22-24).
  • Overall Record: 30-27
    WCC Record: 13-8
  • Loyola Marymount went 1-4 last week, losing to Arizona and USC, before going 1-2 at Gonzaga.

  • SR RHP Lee Roberts helped seal a spot in the Championship Series with his save on Sunday against the Zags. He tossed in two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out four. SO INF Jonathan Johnson and Roberts were both named to the All-WCC first team.

  • In the win, JR INF Ryan Wheeler paced the Lion offense, finishing 3-for-5 with a run scored. JR OF Angelo Songco registered his 55th double of his career, placing him in sole possession of seventh place in the LMU All-Time Record Books. Songco and Wheeler ended the regular season ranked first and second in the conference in runs scored.

  • LMU will participate in its fifth overall appearance in the WCC Championship Series, heading up North to take on Gonzaga (5/22-24).
  • Overall Record: 31-23
    WCC Record: 12-9
  • The Waves went undefeated last week, defeating No. 18 Cal Poly, before sweeping Santa Clara and finished in a tie for third place in the league.

  • SR INF Denny Duron was awarded this year's WCC Defensive Player of the Year Award, going 42 games committing just three errors with a .982 fielding percentage. SO LHP Matt Bywater, SR RHP Nick Gaudi, and SR OF Nate Simon were all awarded All-WCC first team honors.

  • In the series opener against the Broncos, Pepperdine had four players with at least three hits, led by JR INF Colin Rooney, who went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three driven in.

  • Gaudi collected nine saves on the season to tie for the league lead and has 25 for his career to place him in a tie for the third spot on the WCC's all-time career saves list.

  • The Waves closed out the season with a loss to No. 4 Cal State Fullerton.
  • Overall Record: 25-26
    WCC Record: 7-14
  • The Pilots went 2-3 last week, splitting with Washington State, before going 1-2 against San Francisco and finish the season in seventh place.

  • The 25 wins are the most in one season during head coach Chris Sperry's 12-year tenure.

  • In the win over the Dons, SO RHP Zach Varce tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing seven hits while striking out eight. In his last five appearances, he has gone 19.2 innings, allowing just two runs in that span while punching out 20 batters. He ends the season tied for the league lead in saves with nine, which also ties him for first on the UP all-time single season list.

  • FR INF Kris Kauppila ends the season as the team leader with 72 hits and 20 doubles. He ends a phenomenal rookie campaign in which he went the entire year without going hitless in back-to-back games. His 72 hits ties him for fourth on the UP all-time single season list, while his 20 doubles ties him for second.
  • Overall Record: 28-27
    WCC Record: 9-12
  • The Gaels closed out the season with a loss against New Mexico and finished sixth in the conference standings.

  • FR 3B Troy Channing earned this year's WCC Freshman of the Year Award and came close to becoming just the third player in WCC history to win the Triple Crown as he ranked first in the league in home runs (20) and RBI (75), while ranking second in batting average (.379).

  • Channing, a leading candidate for national freshman of the year honors, was one of two freshmen, and one of 16 players overall, named a semifinalist for the coveted Dick Howser Trophy, one of the most prestigious awards in college baseball. He ends his freshman campaign tied for eighth on the WCC's all-time single season list for RBI (75) and tied for sixth in home runs (20).

  • Channing, JR OF Kyle Jensen, and SR RHP Brian Justice were all awarded All-WCC first team honors.
  • Overall Record: 29-25
    WCC Record: 11-10
  • San Diego ended the regular season on a high-note, defeating No. 1 ranked UC Irvine last week with a seven run ninth inning.

  • JR UTL James Meador won this year's WCC Player of the Year Award after ranking first in conference play in batting (.438), hits (39), and total bases (60).

  • JR RHP AJ Griffin shutout UC Irvine through seven innings, giving up just five hits and striking out seven. Griffin is tied for the top spot on the WCC's all-time career saves list with 28.

  • The Toreros end the regular season as the top ranked hitting team in the conference with a .319 team batting average, led by SO INF Zach Walters (.377) and Meador (.376) who ranked third and fourth in the conference.

  • Griffin, Meador, SR INF Sean Nicol, and Walters were all awarded All-WCC first team honors.
  • Overall Record: 28-28
    WCC Record: 12-9
  • San Francisco went 2-2 last week, falling to San Diego State, before going 2-1 at Portland, to finish tied for third in the conference standings.

  • SR OF Zach Kim stole seven bases over the week on his way to breaking the Dons' all-time single season record. He finished the season with 42 on the year, tying him for the fifth spot on the WCC's all-time single season list. For the week, he went 5-for-12 (.417), with three doubles, a triple, and two RBI en route to earning his second WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week Award.

  • JR RHP Doug Murray picked up his ninth win of the year against Portland and is the only pitcher in the conference to go undefeated this season at 9-0. His nine wins place him fourth on the Dons' all-time single season list.

  • SR INF Dane Braunecker, SR OF Drew Johnson, Kim, Murray, and JR Derek Poppert were all awarded All-WCC first team honors.
  • Overall Record: 19-34
    WCC Record: 6-15
  • The Broncos went winless last week, losing to UC Davis, before getting swept by Pepperdine. They ended the season with a loss to No. 19 Cal Poly this week.

  • JR C Geoff Klein ended the season as the league leader in batting average (.386) and hits with 81.

  • JR INF Jon Karcich ended the season on a hot streak, hitting safely in 11 straight games and scoring at least one run in a seven game stretch during that span.

  • JR RHP Nate Garcia ended the season as the league leader in strikeouts (96) and innings pitched (95.2) and is the only pitcher in the conference to average over seven innings per appearance (7.36).

  • Garcia, Karcich, and Klein were all awarded All-WCC first team honors this year.