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Toreros Prep For WCC Championship Series

May 23, 2007

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PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATIONS

Fri.: GON Clayton Mortensen (8-2, 4.00 ERA)

USD Brian Matusz (10-2, 2.43 ERA)

Sun.: GON Brandon Harmon (6-7, 4.00 ERA)

USD Josh Romanski (8-1, 3.20 ERA)

Mon.: GON Josh Monroe (6-3, 4.74 ERA))

USD Matt Couch (8-2, 3.73 ERA)

IN A NUTSHELL: After sitting idle this past week, the fifth-ranked University of San Diego baseball team (41-15) will play host to Gonzaga University this weekend in the West Coast Conference Baseball Championship series at Cunningham Stadium. The two teams will play a best-of-three series. Friday's game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., Saturday's game at 2 p.m. and if necessary Sunday's game will begin at 3 p.m.

THE POLLS: After sitting idle this past week, the Toreros remained steady at No. 5 in the latest top-25 polls. USD is No. 5 in the Baseball America top-25 poll, and is ranked No. 6 in both the latest Rivals.com and Collegiate Baseball top-30 poll. Gonzaga University is not ranked in any of the polls.

LAST TIME OUT: San Diego posted a 3-1 record in the final regular-season week picking up wins over No. 13 UC Irvine and then taking two of three against Santa Clara to clinch the WCC regular-season title outright for the first time in program history. USD began the week with an impressive 4-1 win over UC Irvine. In the game, Shane Buschini registered his conference-leading 13th-home run of the season. Jordan Abruzzo and Logan Gelbrich both recorded multiple hits on the day with Abruzzo going 2-for-4 with one RBI and Gelbrich going 2-for-3. On Friday, USD needed to win to claim the WCC championship, and Brian Matusz helped lead the Toreros to victory with another phenomenal performance on the mound. Matusz finished the game allowing one run on five hits, while striking out 11 batters. With the 11 strikeouts, Matusz has become the new single-season leader at USD for strikeouts with 152. On Saturday, the Toreros edged the Broncos in a 10-inning thriller. With the game knotted at 7-7, Kevin Hansen hit an RBI single in the top of the 10th inning to lift USD to victory. Offensively for the Toreros, Hansen led the way as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI. On Sunday, the Toreros saw their 17-game WCC winning come to an end with a 6-5 loss to the Broncos.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Gonzaga enters the championship series with a 32-23 overall record after picking up a series win over Pepperdine and dropping their regular-season finale to Washington. The Zags are one of two teams to defeat the Toreros in conference action, and the lone team in the WCC to win a series against the Toreros. The Bulldogs are led offensively by junior third baseman Darrin Holcomb, who has a team-leading .365 batting average, has 81 hits, 14 doubles, six home runs and 39 RBI. On the mound, Gonzaga looks to Clayton Mortenson to anchor things down. Mortenson has a team-leading 4.00 ERA with an overall record of 8-2.

TOREROS ON THE AIR: Fans can catch all the WCC Championship Series action from San Diego this weekend, as all three games are slated to be broadcast on the web. A free live video webcast of the entire schedule of weekend games will be available exclusively at WCCsports.com, while an internet audio broadcast will be available at USDToreros.com with the voice of the Toreros Jack Murray bringing fans all the live play-by-play action.

NEW PROGRAM RECORD: With the 3-1 record in the final week of the regular-season, the Toreros set a new program record for singl-season wins. This is the first 40-win season in program history as the Toreros wrap the regular-season with a 41-15 record.

ABOUT THE STREAK: The Toreros saw their 17-game WCC winning streak come to an end in the regular-season finale against Santa Clara. The 17-game winning streak is the second longest in the history of the WCC. Pepperdine owns the record with a 20-game winning streak they set in the 1987 season when the Waves went 22-2 in the WCC.

STARS AND STRIPES: Sophomore's Josh Romanski and Brian Matusz have been named two of the first 11 members of the 2007 USA Baseball National Team. Matusz, a native of Cave Creek, Ariz., just became the new single-season leader in strikeouts with 152 after posting 11 strikeouts in picking up his 10th win of the season against Santa Clara University. On the season, Matusz is 10-2 with a team-leading 2.43 ERA. Romanski, a native of Corona, Calif., has been a valuable two-way star for the Toreros this season. Romanski owns a 8-1 record on the mound with a 3.20 ERA. Romanski is also the team's third-leading hitter with a .335 batting average, has 69 hits, eight doubles, two triples, three home runs and 28 RBI while rotating between the pitcher, designated hitter and centerfield positions.

BUSCHINI NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Senior right fielder Shane Buschini was tabbed as the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. Buschini, an All-WCC first-team selection for the second time in his career, becomes just the third Torero to earn the WCC Player of the Year distinction and the first since the WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Team honoree Kevin Herde took home the award in the 1993 season. The San Ramon, Calif. native turned in a dominate senior campaign, leading the conference with 13 home runs and collecting 55 RBI to rank second in the WCC. Buschini was even more dominate against WCC opponents, pacing the circuit in batting (.418), RBI (25), total bases (55), on base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.696) during league play.

10 TOREROS NAMED TO ALL-WCC TEAMS: The University of San Diego baseball team had eight players earn first-team All-West Coast Conference honors and two more took home All-WCC honorable mention accolades. Senior right fielder Shane Buschini was tabbed as the WCC Player of the Year and head coach Rich Hill was named the WCC Coach of the Year. Joining Buschini on the All-WCC first-team list are Jordan Abruzzo, Matt Couch, Logan Gelbrich, AJ Griffin, Brian Matusz, Justin Snyder and Josh Romanski. The two All-WCC honorable mention accolades for the Toreros are Kevin Hansen and Daniel Magness. Griffin was also named to the All-WCC freshman team.

HILL NAMED WCC COACH OF THE YEAR: Head Coach Rich Hill was tabbed for Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career, previously earning the distinction in 2002. Hill guided the Toreros to a record-setting campaign, as USD set a program mark with 41 wins and captured the WCC regular-season title for the first time in program history. The San Diego squad also garnered a USD record No. 5 national ranking, reeled off 17 consecutive WCC wins, the second longest single-season winning streak in the history of the WCC.

GRIFFIN MOVES UP SINGLE-SEASON CHARTS: Freshman closer AJ Griffin moved into a second in single-season saves with 10, thanks to picking up two saves in the final regular-season week of action. Griffin now only trails Tony Perez, who tallied 13 saves in the 2003 season. On the season, Griffin is 6-1 with an ERA of 2.76 and has 59 strikeouts in 58.2 innings of work.

USD PLACES BID TO HOST NCAA REGIONALS: The University of San Diego and San Diego State University have teamed up to make a bid to host one of 16 NCAA College Baseball Regionals at Tony Gwynn Stadium. If the proposal is approved, the four-team event would be held June 1-4. The NCAA will announce its 64 team field and 16 NCAA Regional sites on Monday, May 28th, with their `Road To Omaha' selection show on ESPN beginning at 9:30 a.m. (PT).

USD CLINCHES REGULAR-SEASON WCC TITLE: USD captured the regular-season WCC title after winning a pair of games at Santa Clara over the weekend, and will host the WCC Championship Series for the first time in program history. The Toreros are no stranger to the event, having knocked off Pepperdine in back-to-back seasons to capture the WCC's bid to the post-season in 2002 and 2003.

MATUSZ A SEMIFINALIST FOR TWO AWARDS: USD sophomore left-hander Brian Matusz has been named as a semifinalist for both the Roger Clemens and Golden Spikes award. The Roger Clemens award is given out annually to the Nation's best collegiate pitcher and is named after future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. This is the 30th consecutive year that the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award has been presented to the nation's premier amateur baseball player. The winner's name will be announced on June 29, 2007, during the 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Show presented by Major League Baseball.

TORERO SKIPPER Rich Hill: San Diego's Rich Hill has built the USD Toreros into one of the most successful Division I baseball programs on the West Coast. The 2007 spring season will be Hill's 20th year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and ninth at USD, having enjoyed 16 winning seasons in 19 years. Since taking over at USD in 1999, Hill has been remarkable in leading the Toreros to eight consecutive winning campaigns, rewriting the school record book en route to claiming back-to-back West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002 and 2003. Under his leadership San Diego has averaged 33 wins per season, including winning a school record 39 games in 2002, a year in which Hill was honored by his peers as the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. In 2006, Hill led USD to its highest national ranking in program history at No. 8, as well as USD's first-ever at-large berth into the NCAA Regionals.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: All USD home games, as well as select road games, will be streamed live via video on the athletics department website. Fans can watch all the action live from the comfort of their home by logging onto usdtoreros.com. Once on the home page, click the LIVE button on the top right of the page. This is a subscription service that will give you access to live video events of USD athletic teams, coaching interviews and much more. The cost for this service will be $6.95 per month or a yearly subscription can be purchased for $49.95.

RECRUITING CLASS RANKED NO. 6: StudentSportsBaseball.com released their list of the Top 20 college baseball recruiting classes in the country and the University of San Diego checks in at No. 6. San Diego's recruiting class includes two AFLAC All-Americans - outfielder Sequoyah Stonecipher (Mission Bay HS) and right-handed pitcher Kyle Blair (Los Gatos HS). The recruiting class also includes one Team USA member in Victor Sanchez (Gahr HS), four players have earned All-CIF honors and all 10 student-athletes have earned all-league first- or second-team honors on their respective high school teams. This group will report to USD in the fall of 2007.

2007 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All of San Diego's home games, as well as select road games, can be followed via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of Online College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and is a real time update of the action.