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USF's Scott Cousins Named WCC Player of the Year, Patrick McGuigan WCC co-Pitcher of the Year & Nino Giarratano WCC Coach of the Year for Second Straight Year

May 24, 2006

(San Francisco) - Fresh off the first West Coast Conference Championship in program history, an unprecedented nine USF Baseball players earned All-WCC recognition as announced today by the league office. With an overall record of 37-19 and a conference record of 15-6, the most decorated Dons team will play in their first ever West Coast Conference Championship Series this weekend at Benedetti Diamond.

Junior utility player Scott Cousins (Reno, NV) earned WCC Player of the Year honors and was a unanimous first team selection, and senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan (Honolulu, HI) was named co-pitcher of the Year. Senior outfielder Stefan Gartrell (San Francisco, CA) was a unanimous All-WCC First Team pick as well, while sophomore left-handed pitcher Aaron Poreda (Moraga) was also selected to the first team.

"We couldn't be prouder of our guys from an individual awards standpoint," Giarratano said. "When you win sometimes these are the good things that happen to a program and it's one thing that we definitely welcome and we hope we can continue the success.

Senior shortstop Andrew Smith (Las Vegas, NV) was selected to the second team, while junior utility Blake Nelson (Oak Park, CA), sophomore infielder Joey Railey (Pittsburg, CA), sophomore outfielder Luke Sommer (Canby, OR) and junior left-handed reliever Cole Stipovich (Kensington, CA) all earned Honorable Mention.

Giarratano becomes just the third Dons coach to earn WCC Coach of the Year in back-to-back years, and the first since USF Hall-of-Famer Pete Peletta earned three consecutive honors from 1963-65. The first baseball coach to win the award was USF legend Dante Benedetti in 1971. The three-time National Junior College Coach of the Year (Collegiate Baseball) led USF to its first ever WCC Championship after going 15-6 and earning home field advantage in the championship series versus Pepperdine. Under Giarratano, the Dons led the WCC in ERA (3.51).

"I feel honored to be honored. It's such a tribute to the players and the coaching staff. I'm a small piece of this puzzle and I'm the guy that gets to hold the crown, but I share it with everyone," Giarratano said.

One of the nation's top two-way players, Cousins captured Conference Player of the Year honors and his second consecutive unanimous First Team Selection. An injury kept him off the mound for the first month of the season, but the left-hander bounced back and as the Dons Friday starter, earned a 4-2 record with a 3.03 ERA and a 53/16 strikeout/walk ratio. Cousins has gone the distance in three ball games this season, including a complete game shut out versus then No. 24 San Diego (4/28). Cousins excelled during league play, batting .349 and stealing a league-high seven bases, while notching a WCC-best 2.25 ERA on the mound. The junior tied for the conference lead with 42 strikeouts, and tossed a WCC-high two complete games. He leads the team with 49 runs, 21 stolen bases and shares the team lead with 24 multi-hit games. Cousins ranks second in batting at .352, hits (75), RBI (44), walks (28), and multi-RBI games (14). The Player of the Year honor is USF's second overall and first since three-time All-American Tagg Bozied earned the distinction in 1999.

"He just coming out and kept proving it and that's what kind of player he is and it is something well deserved for him. I am proud of everything he has been able to accomplish as a student-athlete here at USF," Giarratano said.

McGuigan earned his and USF's first ever Pitcher of the Year award after a dazzling season on the mound. McGuigan shares the Pitcher of the Year honor with Pepperdine's Barry Enright. USF's career saves leader moved into the starting rotation in 2006, but still led the team with four saves - three during conference play. He also paced the team in victories, going 11-2 on the season with a 3.09 ERA. His 11 wins place him second in the WCC and seventh in the nation and the Hawaii native leads the WCC with three complete games and two shutouts. The WCC Pitcher of the Month for March, leads the Dons with a 66/18 strikeout/walk ratio and earned a pair of WCC Pitcher of the Week nods.

"I think it's a testament to (pitching coach) Greg (Moore) and the rest of the staff and how Pat's been able to stay on it for four years. What he has been able to do is remarkable," Giarratano said.

Gartrell earned his first unanimous First Team selection after being named to the second team a year ago. The senior continues to produce at the plate, leading USF and the WCC in RBI with 62 RBI, and had a conference leading 26 RBI in league play. He also leads the team in slugging percentage (.526) and doubles (15). He is tied for second with six home runs and is third with a .351 batting average. Gartrell earned Player of the Week honors for May 8.

Poreda leads the team and the WCC with a miniscule 2.14 ERA and is 7-4 on the season. The left-hander has two complete games under his belt and has been the team's work horse for the year, throwing a team leading 101 innings. He has a 67/21 strikeout/walk ratio in his 16 appearances. The sophomore earned WCC Pitcher of the Week honors for March 27.

After an injury kept him sidelined through the early part of the season, Smith recovered and has been nothing short of spectacular in his return. The senior has posted a team leading .355 batting average with a triple, a homerun, 14 RBI and 26 runs scored. He is second on the team with a .438 on base percentage and third in stolen bases with 12 in only 37 games played.

Nelson has earned a reputation for coming up big in clutch situations this season, his biggest contribution coming in an 11th inning game-winning single to capture an important 5-4 victory over Loyola Marymount (5/12). The utility player however, has done well in all situations, batting a healthy .308 for the season even after missing time due to illness. He added four doubles, six RBI and nine runs scored.

Railey was continually on top of the WCC in hits this season, and finished with a team leading 76 to go along with his .349 batting average and 14 stolen bases. The sophomore wreaked havoc at the plate, adding 12 doubles, two triples, a homerun, 28 RBI and 43 runs scored. The lead-off batter is first on the team with a .444 on base percentage.

Sommer earned his first career WCC Player of the Week honor last week after helping the Dons to pummel then No. 25 Hawai'i after smacking an RBI triple (his team-leading fourth) and a single. The sophomore batted .346 during league play and ranked second on the team in overall extra-base hits with 20 (14 doubles, four triples, two home runs), 28 RBI, 24 runs scored and two stolen bases.

Stipovich has been absolutely stingy on the mound this season, and has a low 2.82 ERA and a miniscule 0.82 ledger during league play. The left-handed specialist is 2-1 in 23 appearances, all in relief. In 22.1 innings pitched, he has an amazing 11/1 strikeout/walk ratio and has only allowed two extra base hits, both doubles.

Player Of The Year: Scott Cousins, San FranciscoCo-Pitchers Of The Year: Barry Enright, Pepperdine & PatrickMcGuigan, San FranciscoFreshman Of The Year: Josh Romanski, San DiegoCoach Of The Year: Nino Giarratano, San Francisco

2006 All-WCC First TeamKris Watts - Santa Clara - C - SRNick Kliebert - Pepperdine - 1B - SRKeoni Ruth# - San Diego - 2B - JRDavid Uribes#** - Pepperdine - 2B - SRChase d'Arnaud - Pepperdine - 3B - FRSteve Singleton - San Diego - SS - JRStefan Gartrell# - San Francisco - OF - SRErik Johnson# - LMU - OF - SRDaniel Nava - Santa Clara - OF - JRScott Cousins#* - San Francisco - UT - JRBarry Enright - Pepperdine - P - SOPatrick McGuigan - San Francisco - P - SRAaron Poreda - San Francisco - P - SOBrett Hunter - Pepperdine - RP - FR

2006 All-WCC Second TeamJordan Abruzzo - San Diego - C - JRMatthew Peters - Portland - 1B - SRDarin Holcomb - Gonzaga - 3B - SOAndrew Smith - San Francisco - SS - SRSam Carter* - Saint Mary's - OF - SRMatt Long - Santa Clara - OF - FRAdrian Ortiz - Pepperdine - OF - SOTravis Vetters - Portland - OF - SRJosh Romanski - San Diego - UT - FRRyan Wiegand - Gonzaga - DH - FRJoel Staples - Saint Mary's - DH - FRJames Johnson - Pepperdine - P - SRBrad Meyers - LMU - P - SOMatt Wickswat - Santa Clara - P - FRDan Lewis - Saint Mary's - RP - SR

*Previous Times an All-WCC First Team Pick; #Unanimous Selection

2006 WCC All-Freshman TeamChase d'Arnaud - Pepperdine - 3BBrady Fuerst - Santa Clara - SSBrett Hunter - Pepperdine - RPMatt Long - Santa Clara - OFBrian Matusz - San Diego - PLee Roberts - LMU - RPJosh Romanski - San Diego- P/OFJoel Staples - Saint Mary's - DHMatt Wickswat - Santa Clara - PRyan Wiegand - Gonzaga - DH

Honorable MentionGON- Scott Campbell, Bobby Carlson, Patrick Donovan, Brandon Harmon;LMU- Sean Dovel, Eric Farris, Casey Gordon, Daniel Macias;PEP- Luke Salas, Chad Tracy, Danny Worth;SMC- Delaney Gallagher, Corey Madden, Preston Young;USD- Matt Couch, Brian Matusz, Justin Snyder;USF- Blake Nelson, Joey Railey, Luke Sommer, Cole Stipovich;SCU- Kevin Drever