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WCC Baseball Weekly Notes

May 19, 2010

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TWO WEEKS LEFT IN CONFERENCE SEASON
With two weeks remaining in West Coast Conference play, the University of San Diego has already locked up the WCC regular season title. With a perfect 15-0 record in conference play, the Toreros have matched the best start in the WCC history for any school, as LMU held the same record in 1988. San Diego has also locked up the WCC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. This marks the third WCC championship for USD in the past four years, as they claimed the crown in both 2007 and 2008.


WCC TEAM NOTES
SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 17-32
WCC Record: 5-10
  • The Zags won all four conference games last week, beating San Francisco in a continuation of a postponed matchup and winning the three-game series against Saint Mary's. The Zags lost the first game to Saint Mary's 12-5 and came back to win the next two games by scores of 8-7 and 10-5.

  • The Bulldogs used four runs in the top of the 13th and a perfect inning by junior RHP Mark Phillips to post the win and clinch the series over San Francisco. In the rubber match against Saint Mary's, Gonzaga scored all ten of its runs in the first four innings to post a series-clinching 10-5 win on Sunday afternoon.

  • The Bulldogs' matchup against Washington State on May 18 was cancelled due to rain. The teams will not make up the game but are scheduled to meet in Spokane on Tuesday, May 25 for their final meeting of the season. However, the Bulldogs will first host Loyola Marymount for a three-game WCC series to start on Friday, May 21.

  • Overall Record: 22-26
    WCC Record: 4-11
  • Loyola Marymount dropped a pair of mid-week non-conference games to Big West foes Cal Poly and UC Riverside, before dropping 2-of-3 to rival Pepperdine. However, the Lions started this week with an 11-10 win over No. 9 Cal State Fullerton.

  • Junior Jason Barmasse went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in LMU's victory over Pepperdine on Friday.

  • Sophomore Matt Koch finished 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored in the Lions win over No. 9 Cal State Fullertin. The round-tripper was his team-best 15th of the year, tying him for eighth in the LMU single-season record books for homers.

  • The Lions look to build on their big win as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs for a three-game set starting on Friday.

  • Overall Record: 20-27
    WCC Record: 8-7
  • Pepperdine split a pair of mid-week non-conference games against Big West foes UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton, beating the Gauchos, 5-4, before falling to the Titans, 10-7. The Waves rebounded to take 2-of-3 from rival LMU.

  • Sophomore Brian Humphries was named the WCC Co-Player of the Week for the second consecutive week batting .417 (10-for-24) with six runs, three doubles, a triple and a team-high eight RBI in leading the Waves.

  • Sophomore Nathan Johnson hit his ninth home run of the year and third in as many games. He is the first Wave to homer in three straight games since Eric Thames did it at home against Columbia on March 8 and 9 of 2008.

  • The Waves host first-place San Diego for a three-game set this weekend.
  • Overall Record: 31-17
    WCC Record: 11-7
  • The Pilots have had a tough week, falling to Washington State in a mid-week non-conference game before getting swept at USF.

  • Despite the four losses, Rocky Gale had quite a week at and behind the plate. Six of his seven hits were doubles as he hit .467 with an RBI and two runs scored. The senior catcher threw out the only attempted base stealer. On the season, Gale has gunned down 17-of-20 (85.0 percent) attempted base stealers. He easily leads the country with the 85.0 percent success rate and he has not allowed a stolen base since April 23.

  • At 31-17, the Pilots have won the most games since Portland also won 31 during the 1991 season. It's also the fifth 30-win season in program history.

  • The Pilots are idle this week before playing at Washington State on May 26.
  • Overall Record: 16-28-1
    WCC Record: 7-11
  • Saint Mary's dropped the series contest to Gonzaga (17-33, 5-10) over the last week, winning the series opener by a score of 12-5 and dropping the next two by scores of 8-7 and 10-5.

  • In game one of the series, the Gaels collected 14 hits on the day, three of them sent over the fence, as SMC routed the Bulldogs 12-5. Eight Gaels collected a hit with freshman Patrick Wisdom tallying his second grand slam of the season and 10th on the year. Wisdom picked up two more home runs over the weekend and is now ranked third in the WCC in home runs with 12.

  • Saint Mary's recognized seniors Brandon Berl, Michael Cipolla, Drew Fisher, Conor Larkin, Ryan Mulligan, and Jimmy Munill on Senior Day before the series closer.

  • The Gaels will return to action on Friday, May 21 to take on Seattle University. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
  • Overall Record: 31-17
    WCC Record: 15-0
  • With second place Portland being swept by San Francisco and Pepperdine dropping one game, No. 15-ranked San Diego officially clinched the WCC Championship and earned the WCC's automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals. This marks the third WCC championship for the Toreros in the past four years, as they claimed the crown in both 2007 and 2008.

  • Sophomore right-hander Chris Jensen was named the WCC Pitcher of the Week, making it the second week in a row a USD pitcher has earned the award. Jensen helped lead the Toreros to their eighth-consecutive win, defeating Oregon State 4-1 in a non-conference game, by allowing only one run on four hits in 6.0 innings of work.

  • San Diego will resume WCC play this Friday, May 21 as the team travels to Malibu to take on Pepperdine at 3 p.m. The Toreros have won seven straight against the Waves dating back to the 2008 season.
  • Overall Record: 28-25
    WCC Record: 10-8
  • San Francisco earned its first conference sweep of the season, defeating Portland in all three games to improve to 10-7 in conference play. The Dons followed that up with a 6-1 win over No. 25 Cal on Tuesday.

  • Junior third baseman Stephen Yarrow was named the WCC Co-Player of the Week. In three games against second place Portland, Yarrow batted .462 (6-for-13) with a double and two home runs, drove in four and slugged a 1.000. Yarrow is steadily climbing the USF all-time home run chart, taking over sole possession of No. 4 with 31 career four-baggers.

  • Junior center fielder Pete Lavin went 2-for-3 with three runs scored in the Dons' win over No. 25 Cal to extended his hit streak to 21 games.

  • USF is off this weekend and won't return to the diamond until Friday, May 28 when the Dons travel to Malibu, CA to take on the Pepperdine Waves for a three-game set.
  • Overall Record: 21-26
    WCC Record: 6-12
  • Santa Clara did not compete last week. Before the break, the Broncos dropped their conference series against San Francisco.

    H Seniors Tommy Medica (.386 BA) and Geoff Klein (.339 BA) have combined to drive in 96 of Santa Clara's 297 runs. Junior Curtis Wagner (.404 BA) is on pace to join Medica and Klein as recent Broncos to win the WCC batting title.

    H The Broncos rebounded from a seven-game April losing streak to play much better in May and have won seven of their last 11 games. Santa Clara remains the top-hitting team in the WCC, batting .320 as a team and scoring nearly seven runs per game.

    H Santa Clara will be on the road for its final seven games of 2010. The Broncos will play at UC Davis on Wednesday, May 19 before facing nationally-ranked Cal State Fullerton in a three-game series scheduled to start on Friday, May 21.

  • AROUND THE WCC

    WCC Rawlings Pitcher of the Week

    Chris Jensen, USD, RHP, SO
    Sophomore right-hander Chris Jensen (2-0) picked up the win on the mound for the Toreros, as he allowed one run on four hits in 6.0 innings of work in the win over Oregon State tis past week, which extended the Toreros wining streak to eight at the time.

    Also Nominated: Ryan Carpenter (Gonzaga), Alex Gillingham (Loyola Marymount), Cole Cook (Pepperdine), Haden Hinkle (San Francisco)

    WCC Rawlings Co-Players of the Week

    Brian Humphries, PEP - OF - SR
    Sophomore Brian Humphries started and played in all five game this past week and batted .417 (10-for-24) with six runs, three doubles, a triple and a team-high eight RBI as he extended his career-long hitting streak to 11 games, which is second on the team currently to freshman Joe Sever. After going 1-for-4 in home games vs. UC Santa Barbara and No. 10 Cal State Fullerton, Humphries produced three consecutive multi-hit and multi-rbi games at Loyola Marymount and finished the series against the Lions with a .500 batting average (8-for-16) with six RBI. In game one of the LMU series, Humphries finished a home run shy of the natural cycle as he singled, doubled and tripled in his first three at-bats. He then singled twice and drove in two runs during Pepperdine's 12-5 game two victory, and in game three, finished 3-for-6 with two runs and two RBI. Since the start of last weekend's series at Saint Mary's, Humphries has driven in at least one run in seven of his last eight games and has doubled in six of them. He has also raised his batting average 50 points since the start of May to a season high .294.

    Stephen Yarrow, USF, INF, JR
    In three games, junior Stephen Yarrow batted .462 (6-for-13) with a double and two home runs, drove in four and slugged a perfect 1.000. In game two against the Pilots, Yarrow smashed a ninth inning three-run walk off home run to give the Dons the 7-6 victory and then hit his 16th homer of the season on Sunday. In 17 chances at the hot corner, Yarrow did not have an error.

    Also Nominated: Clayton Eslick (Gonzaga)

    WCC April Co-Pitchers of the Month: Chris Dennis, POR & Kyle Blair, USD

    Chris Dennis, Portland, RHP
    Junior RHP Chris Dennis picked up six saves, went 2-0, struck out 14 in 13.0 innings, posted an ERA of 2.08 and held opposing hitters to a .208 average as the Pilots went 13-3 overall during the month and 11-1 in the West Coast Conference. Dennis also became Portland's all-time career saves leader and set a new mark for most saves in a single season. He had one stretch (April 20-25) where he saved four straight Portland wins as the Pilots won at Washington, ending an eight-game losing streak to the Huskies, and swept a three-game series at Pepperdine, where UP was previously 1-31 all-time. During the same week, he tied, then broke both the UP single-season and career saves records.

    Dennis was named the WCC's Co-Pitcher of the Week (April 25) and College Baseball Insider's Regional Pitcher of the Week following his four saves in four games performance. He picked up his 10th save of the season during 8-6 win at Pepperdine on April 23 to set the new single-season mark, which had stood since 1987. Two games later, he registered his 12th save of the season and of his career during the 5-2 win at Pepperdine on April 24, becoming the all-time saves leader at Portland. Dennis ended the month tied for the second most saves in the country with 12, helped Portland register the fifth 30-win season in program history, and end the month riding an 10-game winning streak.

    Kyle Blair, San Diego, RHP
    Junior right-hander Kyle Blair has been lights out on the mound for the Toreros in April, as he posted a 4-1 record, 4-0 in the WCC, with an ERA of 1.99, while leading the team in strikeouts with 37. Blair had one of his most impressive performances of the month in a win against Gonzaga. After a rocky start to his outing, surrendering three unearned runs in the first two innings, Blair settled down and held the Gonzaga bats at bay. After surrendering a lead-off double in the top of the third inning, Blair settled down and proceeded to retire his next 15 batters, eight via the strikeout, over the next four innings before Mark Castellitto broke that streak with a single in the top of the eighth inning. Blair (5-3) picked up the win on the mound as he allowed four runs, one earned, while scattering six hits over 7.2 innings of work. Blair also looked impressive in the win over San Francisco this past weekend, as he turned in yet another dominating performance allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out eight in 8.0 innings of work.

    WCC April Co-Players of the Month: C.J. Cullen, POR & James Meador, USD

    C.J. Cullen, Portland, 1B
    C.J. Cullen hit .429 (27-for-63) with a 17 RBI's, 18 runs scored, a homer, a triple and two doubles as the Pilots went 13-3 overall and 11-1 in the WCC. He also tallied a team-high .473 on-base percentage during the month. Cullen was UP's most clutch hitter as he hit .529 with runners in scoring position, batted .444 with two outs and eight of his 17 RBI's came with two outs. He also had two four-hit games, three three-hit games, and one game with four RBI's.

    Cullen only committed one error in 155 chances for an impressive fielding percentage of .994 and was named the WCC's Co-Player of the Week (April 26) after the Pilots ended and eight-game losing streak to Washington and swept a three-game series at Pepperdine, where Portland was previously 1-31 all-time. Cullen recorded a .625 (10-for-16) against the Huskies and Waves and had a home run, a triple, six RBI's and four runs, was 4-for-5 with a double and four runs during 13-12 win over LMU at home on April 18, was 3-for-4 at UW, knocked in a run and scored twice, while falling a double shy of hitting for the cycle, and went 4-for-4 with two RBI's and a run during 8-4 win at Pepperdine on April 24.

    James Meador, San Diego, OF
    Senior outfielder James Meador has helped lead USD to a program-record 12-0 start in conference games, (10-0 in April), after leading the Toreros offense going 22-for-55 (.400) with seven doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI. Meador had his most productive week between April 19-25, as he went 10-for-17 (.769) with a double, two home runs and 10 RBI, en route to a WCC Player of the Week award. Meador had his most productive game in a win over Gonzaga on April 24, as he went 4-for-5 with four RBI and one home run. For the month, USD posted an impressive 10-4 overall record and climbed back into the top-25, while leading the WCC standings fro the get-go

    WCC Teams Garner Preseason Rankings
    San Diego and Pepperdine were each listed among the nation's elite in numerous rankings heading into the 2010 campaign. The Toreros have been ranked in several publications, with the highest ranking coming in the Baseball America preseason poll, that had San Diego at No. 19. Collegiate Baseball ranked the Waves at No. 34 heading into the season, while Gonzaga received votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.

    San Diego
    Baseball America - No. 19
    USA TODAY/ESPN - No. 23
    Collegiate Baseball - No. 24
    NCBWA - No. 24

    Pepperdine
    Collegiate Baseball - No. 34USA TODAY/ESPN - Receiving Votes
    NCBWA - Receiving Votes

    Gonzaga
    USA TODAY/ESPN - Receiving Votes

    WCC's Preseason All-Americans
    Several WCC standouts were tabbed for 2010 preseason All-American honors. After winning the Triple Crown last year, Saint Mary's Troy Channing was tabbed a Louisville Slugger preseason second team All-American and was ranked No. 6 on the Rivals.com power rankings for third basemen. Santa Clara's Geoff Klein and Tommy Medica were both named honorable mention preseason All-America catchers by Ping! Baseball.

    Two Players Named To Stopper Of The Year Watch List
    Gonzaga junior right hander Cody Martin and Portland junior right hander Zach Varce were both named to this year's Stopper of the Year Watch List.

    This marks Martin's second time being nominated to the list as he also made the midseason watch list as well. Last year, Martin posted a 3.07 ERA while going 5-4 with six saves and 68 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. In his freshman season, he set the school record for saves in a season with nine.

    Last season, Varce led the league with a 2.69 ERA and tied for the league lead with nine saves, which also tied the school record. Posting a 3-5 record, he held opposing batters to an average of .249 and had 62 strikeouts in 60.1 innings.

    The Boys of Summer
    This past summer, many WCC baseball players took part in summer leagues all across the country with many receiving All-Star recognition and individual rewards. Below is a list of all the WCC players receiving recognition.

    Alaska Baseball League
    Jonathan Johnson, LMU - Gold Glove
    Drew Heid, GON - MVP
    Ryan Carpenter, GON - All-Star

    Cal Ripken League
    Jonathan Abrahamson, USF - All-Star, Co-Pitcher of the Year
    Ryan Mulligan, SMC - All-Star

    Cape Cod
    Kyle Blair, USD - All-Star

    Hawaii Collegiate
    Mark Anderson, SMC - All-Star
    Tyler Brubaker, PEP - All-Star
    Ricky Villarreal, PEP - All-Star
    Joe Vierra, LMU - All-Star
    Case Miyahara, LMU - All-Star

    New York Collegiate
    Miles Silverstein, PEP - All-Star
    Brad Jesernig, PEP - All-Star

    Northwoods League
    Zach Varce, POR - All-Star
    Riley Henricks, POR - All-Star
    Troy Channing, SMC - Rising Star (Rivals.com)
    Aaron Gates, PEP - All-Star
    Chris Engell, USD - Silver Slugger Award

    Prospect League
    Nate Johnson, PEP - All-Star

    USF's Nino Giarratano named to USA Baseball Coaching Staff
    This will mark the second stint with Team USA for Giarratano, following his work as an assistant coach on Rob Walton's Collegiate National Team staff in 2008. That year, the team won the Gold Medal with a 12 inning victory over Japan and finished the season undefeated at 24-0. He joins Bill Kinneberg (Utah), Dave Serrano (Cal State Fullerton), and Ed Blankmeyer (St. John's). Giarratano is entering his 12th season with the Dons after guiding them to a share of third place last year.

    San Diego Picked To Finish First In 2010 WCC Preseason Poll
    San Diego was picked as the favorite to win this year's WCC regular season title in the 2010 preseason baseball poll, as voted on by the head coaches in the conference. The Toreros received six first place votes for a total of 48 points and are ranked 24th in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. Pepperdine was picked second with 38 points and is also receiving national recognition, ranked 34th in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. San Francisco totaled 33 points for third, while 2009 WCC Champion Gonzaga got one first place vote for 29 points to finish fourth, just edging out 2009 WCC runner-up Loyola Marymount, who received 28 points for fifth. Rounding out this year's preseason poll are Santa Clara, who received the last first place vote with 20 points, Saint Mary's with 17 points, and Portland with 11 points. The Toreros also placed the most number of players on the preseason all-conference team with five players being selected, including 2009 WCC Player of the Year, James Meador.

    WCC Baseball Preseason Poll
    1. San Diego - 48 (6)
    Pepperdine - 38
    3. San Francisco - 33
    4. Gonzaga - 29 (1)
    5. LMU - 28
    6. Santa Clara - 20(1)
    7. Saint Mary's - 17
    8. Portland -11
    (first place votes)