May 23, 2006
Pepperdine and San Francisco will meet over Memorial Day weekend to determine the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the eighth annual WCC Championship Series. All three games will be televised by Fox Sports Net, with Rich Cellini and John Jackson calling the action. It marks the first-ever appearance for the Dons, who claimed a share of the WCC regular season title for the first time in program history. Pepperdine will compete in the WCC Championship Series for the eighth straight year, having appeared in each event since its inception in 1999. San Francisco will host by virtue of taking two-of-three from the Waves during the regular season series between the two squads in April.
Pepperdine is currently at No. 20 in the Baseball America rankings and No. 25 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, while USF earned the first top-25 rankings in program history on May 22 when they checked in at No. 23 in the Baseball America rankings and at No. 24 in the Collegiate Baseball listing.
Scouting The Waves
Run production for the Waves begins at the top of the lineup, with Adrian Ortiz stepping in for an injured David Uribes in the leadoff spot. Uribes enjoyed a phenomenal career at Pepperdine, as the senior broke the WCC's all-time hits record (328) and batted a team-high .374 in 2006, but suffered a season-ending injury last week. Ortiz enters the weekend on a career-high 14-game hitting streak, including a 4-for-8 performance in two games last week to lift his batting average to .364. Catcher Chad Tracy, the 2005 WCC Player of the Year, has clubbed five home runs and leads the team with 41 RBI, while batting at a .323 clip.
The Waves' pitching staff boasts a trio of outstanding starters, complemented by a solid set of arms in the bullpen. Paul Coleman, the 2005 WCC Pitcher of the Year, has gone 6-5 during the 2006 campaign with a 2.99 ERA and a team-high 86 strikeouts. Barry Enright and James Johnson have been solid over their last 11 combined starts, as the two have combined to post a 10-0 record and a 2.54 ERA. Enright has enjoyed a phenomenal sophomore season, notching a 12-1 record with a complete game in 18 appearances. Jason Dominguez has gone 5-1 in 21 appearances, mostly out of the bullpen, and freshman Brett Hunter has saved a WCC-high 10 ball games with a team-best 2.44 ERA.
Pepperdine has won 17 of its last 20 games heading in the WCC Championship Series, batting .331 and out-scoring opponents by a 137-69 margin during that stretch. The Waves' pitching staff has held opponents to a .254 batting average, and registered a 3.25 ERA during the last 20 games.
Scouting The Dons
San Francisco has one of the most potent lineups in the WCC, as six regular starters enter the WCC Championship Series batting over .300. Joey Railey has banged out a team-high 76 hits at the leadoff spot and Andrew Smith is batting a team-best .355 in the No. 2 hole, setting the table for a strong middle of the lineup. Scott Cousins, USF's Friday starter and left fielder, is currently batting .352 and has stolen a team-high 21 bases, while right fielder Stefan Gartrell leads the WCC and ranks fifth on the USF single-season list with 62 RBI during the 2006 campaign.
Depth on the mound has been one of USF's strengths during the season, as the Dons have posted a 3.49 team ERA. USF's three weekend starters (Scott Cousins, Aaron Poreda, and Patrick McGuigan) have combined to post a 21-8 record with a 2.72 ERA and a 186/55 strikeout/walk ratio. Poreda's 2.14 ERA ranks first in the WCC, while McGuigan currently ranks second in Division I in victories with an 11-2 mark. McGuigan, who is USF's all-time leader with 17 career saves, has notched a 3.09 ERA in 21 appearances this season and has collected four saves for the Dons. In the bullpen, USF relies on left-hander Cole Stipovich, who has posted a 2.82 ERA, and right-hander John Quine, who has nailed down three saves.
USF won 12 of its last 13 games during the regular season, including a season-high nine straight to close out the campaign. The Dons have won 10 of their last 11 series, and boast a 5-2 record against top-25 ranked competition. USF has been extremely tough to defeat at Benedetti Diamond, as the Dons have posted a 17-3 mark within its friendly confines.
WCC Championship Series Schedule
Pepperdine at San Francisco - 1:00 PM
Pepperdine at San Francisco - 12:00 PM
May 28 (if necessary)
Pepperdine at San Francisco - 1:00 PM
Friday and Saturday's games will be televised live on FSN Bay Area, Northwest, and West2; Sunday's game will be tape delayed on FSN Bay Area and Northwest
Around The WCC
WCC/Rawlings Player of the Week
Luke Sommer, San Francisco
Luke Sommer propelled San Francisco to a 15-1 defeat of then-No. 29 ranked Hawaii last Thursday, launching the Dons into the top-25 rankings for the first time in program history. Sommer came off the bench to go 2-for-4 with a triple, while driving in four runs and scoring once. Sommer is the third Don to earn the WCC weekly honor in 2006, following Scott Cousins (3/20, 5/1,5/15) and Stefan Gartrell (5/8). It marks the fourth straight week that a USF player has taken home the honor.
WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week
Jason Dominguez, Pepperdine
Jason Dominguez earned WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week honor after leading Pepperdine to a 2-1 victory over USC in non-conference play last week. Making just his fourth start of the season, Dominguez threw five innings, allowing six hits, one unearned run, and striking out one batter. The victory improved the sophomore's record to 5-1 on the season. Dominguez is the fourth Wave pitcher to earn WCC weekly accolades this season.
USF's Cousins And Pepperdine's Tracy Named Semi-finalists For Wallace Award
San Francisco's Scott Cousins and Pepperdine's Chad Tracy were named among the 30 semi-finalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, presented annually to college baseball's top player. Cousins has enjoyed a standout junior campaign on the mound and at the plate, posting a 4-2 record with a 3.03 ERA and batting .352 as the Dons' regular left fielder. Tracy, who is also a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, is batting .323 and leads the team with 41 RBI. The selection committee for the award will cut the list to three following NCAA Super Regionals and the award will be presented on July 3 in an event televised on Fox Sports Network.
WCC Ranks Among Nation's Leaders In RPI
The WCC ranks ninth among Division I conferences according to the most recent "Pseudo-RPI" ratings release by BoydsWorld.com. The WCC ranks just ahead of the Western Athletic Conference with a .523 rating, and is listed just behind the Sun Belt and Southern conferences. The WCC has gone 144-120 (.545) against non-conference foes in 2006.
WCC Team Notes
Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-24 / 9-12 WCC)
- Gonzaga wrapped up the 2006 season with an 11-5 loss to Washington State and an 8-1 victory over Lewis-Clark State last week.
- Darin Holcomb drove in his 57th run of the season in Tuesday's loss to Washington State, moving him into a tie for seventh place on the Gonzaga single-season chart.
- Patrick Donovan took the mound and earned a victory in his last collegiate start against Lewis-Clark State on Thursday. Donovan finished his career in a tie for ninth place on the Gonzaga career list for victories (20), and in 10th place on the career list for appearances (59).
- Bobby Carlson clubbed his 45th career double in Thursday's win to move into sole possession of seventh place on the Bulldog's career list.
- Scott Campbell batted a team-high .389 (82-for-211) during his junior campaign.
LMU Lions (24-32 / 11-10 WCC)
- LMU closed out the season in style, sweeping a three-game series at Portland over the weekend to finish the campaign with an 11-10 mark in WCC play.
- Brad Meyers struck out a career-high seven batters in 7.2 innings pitched on Friday, improving to 8-4 on the season.
- Matt Carter entered as a pinch hitter and legged out his first career triple on Saturday, driving in the deciding two runs in a 4-3 Lion win.
- Chris Pettit finished his career at LMU ranked in several program career top-10 lists, including runs scored (171-7th), doubles (64-3rd), and stolen bases (57-tied for 3rd).
- Brian Wilson went 4-for-5 and tossed a scoreless inning in Sunday's 13-9 win over UP.
Pepperdine Waves (38-18 / 15-6 WCC)
- Pepperdine wrapped up the regular season with a 2-1 win over USC and a 10-5 triumph at UC Santa Barbara last week. The Waves will appear in the program's eighth straight WCC Championship Series at San Francisco this weekend.
- Adrian Ortiz moved into the leadoff spot following an injury to David Uribes, and responded with a 4-for-8 performance in two games last week. Ortiz stretched his career-high hitting streak to 14 games, and is batting .455 (30-for-66) during that stretch.
- Barry Enright improved to 12-1 after tossing 5.2 innings in Wednesday's 10-5 win over UCSB. His 12 victories are tied for the eighth highest single-season total in program history.
- Danny Worth moved into a tie with Chad Tracy for the team lead with his 18th double in Wednesday's win at UCSB. Tracy, who is a semifinalist for both the Johnny Bench and Brooks-Wallace Awards, currently ranks third on the Waves' career doubles chart with 55.
Portland Pilots (15-37 / 3-18 WCC)
- Portland dropped four straight games to close out the season, falling to Washington in a mid-week tilt before suffering a three-game sweep by LMU at home over the weekend.
- The Pilots lost both Friday and Saturday's games to LMU by one run, marking the 10th and 11th one-run losses for UP this season. Eight of those one-run losses came during WCC play.
- Travis Vetters finished his career on The Bluff with a 6-for-12 performance during the three games with LMU. The six hits gave Vetters 229 career base hits and put him into a tie for third on the Portland career list.
- Matthew Peters clubbed his ninth home run of the season to move into a tie for the team lead with Danny Meier. Peters moved into a tie for 10th on UP career list with 18 dingers.
Saint Mary's Gaels (26-25 / 9-12 WCC)
- The Gaels closed out the 2006 campaign with a 26-25 record, marking the first time that an SMC squad has finished over .500 since 1991.
- Sam Carter clubbed his 11th home run of the 2006 campaign in SMC's season finale against Pepperdine, moving him into a tie for third place on the Saint Mary's career list with 25 dingers. Carter's 51 RBI during his senior campaign fell just six short of the SMC single-season RBI mark.
- Orben Frederick collected seven hits during the final week of the season, bringing his team-high hits total to 75, and leaving him just 13 shy of the SMC single-season record.
- Joel Staples legged out his WCC-leading fifth triple in a loss to Pepperdine on May 13.
- Preston Young finished his career ranked second on the SMC career home runs list (27).
San Diego Toreros (32-23 / 13-8 WCC)
- San Diego dropped a heart-breaking 9-8, 11-inning decision at UC Riverside to close out the regular season last Tuesday.
- Keoni Ruth finished the conference season with a .489 batting average in WCC games, the highest clip since LMU's Reggie Lambert batted .505 in conference contests during the 1985 campaign.
- Steve Singleton capped an outstanding junior season with a 2-for-6, three RBI performance in Tuesday's loss at UC Riverside. Singleton finished the regular season with a team-high .362 batting average, and moved into sixth place on the USD single-season hits chart with 84.
- Rich Hill notched his 200th career WCC win as a head coach in USD's 11-7 victory over Gonzaga on May 13. Hill, who collected 70 WCC wins as skipper at USF from 1994-98, is just the third coach in conference history to reach the 200-win mark.
San Francisco Dons (37-19 / 15-6 WCC)
- San Francisco put a lid on the 2006 regular season with a convincing 15-1 win over then-No. 29 ranked Hawaii last Tuesday. The Dons earned a No. 23 ranking by Baseball America and a No. 24 listing in the Collegiate Baseball poll, marking the first top-25 rankings in program history.
- Stefan Gartrell went 2-for-6 with four RBI against Hawaii to bring his conference-leading RBI total to 62 on the season. The total ranks as the fifth-highest single-season total in program history, and his 107 career RBI rank eighth on the USF career chart.
- Jason Dufloth improved to 2-1 on the season after striking out five batters in six innings of work in Tuesday's win over Hawaii.
- The Dons enter this weekend's WCC Championship Series having won 12 of their last 13 contests, including nine straight. USF has posted a 17-3 mark at home so far this season.
Santa Clara Broncos (28-26 / 9-12 WCC)
- Santa Clara wrapped up the season with an 11-7 loss at Stanford last Tuesday.
- Daniel Nava enjoyed a breakout junior campaign for the Broncos, leading the WCC with a .395 batting average and collecting a team-high 79 hits. Nava's .395 clip is tied for the eighth highest single-season batting average in program history.
- Eric Newton finished the season with 14 home runs, giving him 26 career round-trippers during his time on the Mission Campus, good for eighth on the Broncos career chart.
- A pair of redshirt freshman hurlers made a name for themselves at Santa Clara during the 2006 season. Matt Wickswat, a transfer from Gonzaga, posted a 9-2 record in 14 starts and led the team with 66 strikeouts during his first season at SCU. Mark Willinsky emerged as one of the top closers in the WCC, nailing down nine saves and making 28 appearances in 2006.