May 21, 2008
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - This weekend's WCC Baseball Championship Series showdown between No. 13 Pepperdine and No. 7 San Diego will be shown exclusively on WCCsports.com on WCC All-Access. Fans can catch the free live video webcast of the entire schedule of games by simply signing up for the WCC Free All-Access.
WCC CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCHEDULE
No. 13 Pepperdine (36-17/14-6) at No. 7 San Diego (39-15/16-5)
GAME 1 - MAY 23
No. 13 Pepperdine at No. 7 San Diego - 3:00 PM
PEP - Nathan Newman, Jr. (7-3, 3.24 ERA)
USD - Brian Matusz, Jr. (10-2, 2.05 ERA)
Live Video: WCC Free All-Access
GAME 2 - MAY 24
No. 13 Pepperdine at No. 7 San Diego - 2:00 PM
PEP - Matt Bywater, Fr. (7-2, 4.72 ERA)
USD - Josh Romanski, Jr. (9-0, 3.47 ERA)
Live Video: WCC Free All-Access
GAME 3 (if necessary) MAY 25
No. 13 Pepperdine at No. 7 San Diego - 1:00 PM
PEP - Robert Dickman, Jr. (3-5, 5.55 ERA)
USD - Kyle Blair, Fr. (6-4, 4.36 ERA)
Live Video: WCC Free All-Access
Pepperdine and San Diego will meet over Memorial Day weekend to determine the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the 10th annual WCC Championship Series. It marks the second straight season that the Toreros will host the event, as USD claimed its third WCC Championship Series title at Cunningham Stadium last year. The Waves will make the program's ninth trip to the WCC Championship Series in 10 years, having secured a second place finish in the conference standings. Pepperdine edged Santa Clara for the chance to take on San Diego, knocking the Broncos out of WCC Championship Series contention by taking two-of-three in the final regular season series between the two programs last weekend.
San Diego ascended to a No. 7 listing in the Collegiate Baseball poll, and No. 11 in the Baseball America rankings after taking last week off for exams, while Pepperdine is ranked No. 13 in the Rivals.com poll.
Scouting The Waves
Pepperdine boasts a solid lineup that features six starters currently batting over .300. Eric Thames has put together one of the most outstanding seasons in recent conference history, as the junior has batted .407 (74-for-182) with a team-best 13 home runs and 59 RBI on the year. For his efforts, Thames was unanimously selected as the WCC Player of the Year. The San Jose, CA native becomes the 13th Wave to take home the conference's top honor, and the first since Chad Tracy was named WCC Player of the Year following the 2005 season. Bryce Mendonca starts everything off in the leadoff spot for the Waves, as the junior is pacing the conference with 28 stolen bases and is batting .343 (71-for-207) to rank second on the team. Junior Chase d'Arnaud enters the Championship Series with eight round-trippers on the year, and a team best 15 doubles, while Ryan Heroy batted a career-high .329 (54-for-164) during the regular season.
Pepperdine's pitching rotation is highlighted by three newcomers, as transfer Nathan Newman and freshmen Scott Alexander and Matt Bywater have led the way for the Waves. Newman has posted a 7-3 record with a 3.24 ERA, while Alexander and Bywater combined to post 14 victories during the regular season. Junior left-hander Robert Dickmann has made 15 mound appearances and 13 starts for the Waves, while Nick Gaudi emerged as one of the conference's top closers this season, nailing down 13 saves with a team-best 2.09 ERA during his senior campaign. Tyler Hess gives Pepperdine added depth in the bullpen, as the freshman right-hander has gone a perfect 3-0 in 21 relief appearances
Pepperdine has won seven of its last eight contests, including taking two-of-three from Santa Clara last weekend to earn a berth in the Championship Series. The Waves are 5-6 against ranked opponents so far this season.
San Diego's lineup has been led by sophomore outfielder James Meador, who enters the WCC Championship Series batting a team-best .380 (71-for-187) on the season. Meador also paces the team with 16 doubles and 49 RBI, while pounding out a team-best 71 hits on the year. Freshman Victor Sanchez emerged as one of the top power hitters in the conference during his first collegiate campaign, as the newcomer slugged a team-leading 11 home runs and tied for second on the team with 45 RBI during the regular season. Six Torero starters enter the week batting over .300, with Kevin Hansen (.349), Jose Valerio (.328), Josh Romanski (.317), Kevin Muno (.311), and Sean Nicol (.302) all batting .300 or better.
USD put together a 16-game winning streak during April, which registered as the nation's longest. The streak included 12 straight victories against WCC opponents, a string that was halted by Pepperdine on May 2. USD took two-of-three from the Waves during their series in Malibu.
WCC Championship Series Notes
This season marks the 10th annual WCC Baseball Championship Series ... San Diego will be making its fourth appearance in the event, and will be hosting the series at Cunningham Stadium for the second straight year ... This season marks a re-match of the 2002 and 2003 Championship Series events, with the Toreros winning back-to-back titles over Pepperdine in three games on both occasions ... Pepperdine last appeared in the WCC Championship Series in 2006, and has appeared in nine of the 10 WCC Championship Series ... This season will mark the second straight year that Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Pitcher awards will be presented ... San Diego's Justin Snyder and Matt Couch took home the first-ever honors last season ... Five WCC teams have appeared in the WCC Championship Series, with nine of the 10 events taking place in Southern California ... The 2006 series in San Francisco was the first held in the Bay Area, while the Northwest has yet to host the championship ... The Waves have posted a 4-4 record in series competition, claiming the title in 2001 and in three straight seasons from 2004-06, while San Diego claimed crowns in all three of its Championship Series appearances (2002, 03, and 07) ... LMU has made four Championship Series appearances, winning the title in 1999 and 2000 ... LMU's George C. Page Stadium and Pepperdine's Eddy D. Field Stadium have hosted the WCC Championship Series a league-high three times apiece ... The inaugural WCC Championship Series in 1999 was split between Los Angeles and Malibu ... The Championship Series format was adopted to determine an NCAA Tournament representative when the WCC began a two-division alignment in 1999. The conference reverted to a one-division format prior to the 2006 campaign, with the Championship Series matching the top two squads in the league standings following the regular season.