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WCC Baseball Weekly Notes

May 26, 2010

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WCC TEAMS ENTER THE FINAL WEEK OF THE REGULAR SEASON
West Coast Conference baseball teams head into the final weekend of the regular season. The University of San Diego has already locked up the WCC's regular season title and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Toreros have posted an impressive 17-1 record in conference play and have a chance to break their own record of 18-3 set in the 2007 season for the best final record in conference play since the WCC switched to a single division 21-game format in 2006. San Diego will host Saint Mary's in a three-game series beginning this Friday. Second place is still up for grabs as the University of Portland holds a one-game lead over the University of San Francisco and a two-game lead on Pepperdine University. Portland plays at Pacific Northwest rival Gonzaga, while the Waves host the Dons for a three-game set in Malibu. Rounding out this weekend's action is the LMU Lions playing host to the Santa Clara University Broncos.

MONDAY, MAY 24
San Diego at Cal State Northridge Northridge, CA 3:00 PM
USD def. CSUN, 14-8
TUESDAY, MAY 25
LMU at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA 6:00 PM
CPSLO def. LMU, 10-7
Pepperdine at Long Beach State Long Beach, CA 6:30 PM
LBST def. PEP, 9-8
Washington State at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 6:35 PM
WSU def. GON, 9-8
WEDNESDAY, MAY 26
LMU at Cal State Bakersfield Bakersfield, CA 3:00 PM
Portland at Washington State Pullman, WA 5:30 PM
FRIDAY, MAY 28
Santa Clara at LMU Los Angeles, CA 3:00 PM
San Francisco at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 3:00 PM
Saint Mary's at San Diego San Diego, CA 3:00 PM
Portland at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 6:30 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 29
Portland at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at LMU Los Angeles, CA 1:00 PM
San Francisco at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 1:00 PM
Saint Mary's at San Diego San Diego, CA 1:00 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 30
Portland at Gonzaga Spokane, WA 1:00 PM
Santa Clara at LMU Los Angeles, CA 1:00 PM
San Francisco at Pepperdine Malibu, CA 1:00 PM
Saint Mary's at San Diego San Diego, CA 1:00 PM


WCC TEAM NOTES
SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 20-33
WCC Record: 8-10
  • The Zags swept LMU over the weekend for their first series sweep of the season, before dropping a 2-0 decision to No. 20 Washington State on Tuesday.

  • Senior RHP Jeremy Stumetz tossed a complete game, scattering eight hits and allowing one unearned run on Sunday in the Zags' 6-1 win over the Lions. The Bulldogs' win on Sunday gave Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Machtolf his 200th career victory. Machtolf has recorded all 200 wins with Gonzaga and currently sits third on the school's all-time wins list behind Steve Hertz (637) and Larry Koentopp (289).

  • Senior Drew Heid has hit safely in 49 of the Zags' 53 games this season and owns a 10-game hitting streak, while classmate Mark Castellitto has hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games.

  • The Zags wrap up the season by hosting Portland in a three-game set.

  • Overall Record: 22-30
    WCC Record: 4-14
  • Loyola Marymount had a tough week, dropping all three games at Gonzaga, before falling at Cal Poly on Tuesday in a mid-week non-conference game.

  • Junior Jonathan Johnson went 2-for-5 with a triple, a run scored and a RBI in the Lions' 10-7 setback at Cal Poly on Tuesday. The triple was his ninth of the season, tying him for second on the Lions' all-time single-season record books.

  • Freshman Matt Lowenstein had two hits and two runs scored in LMU's loss to Gonzaga on Saturday. Lowenstein is putting together a fantastic rookie season at LMU, leading the Lions and all freshmen in the conference in batting average with a .356 clip.

  • Loyola Marymount hosts Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday in its final non-conference game of the season, before closing out the year by hosting Santa Clara this weekend.

  • Overall Record: 21-30
    WCC Record: 9-9
  • Pepperdine fell at Cal Poly, 9-8, before dropping two of three to first place San Diego over the weekend.

  • Junior LHP Matt Bywater was outstanding in the Waves' 5-0 win over No. 19 San Diego on Friday. Bywater tossed a complete-game shutout against the WCC's top offensive team, scattering nine hits, while striking out five.

  • Bywater's fourth shutout of the season broke a nine-way tie for first place on the Waves' all-time single-season list as he surpassed former legends such as Mike Scott, Randy Wolf and Patrick Ahearne. The shutout also lowered Bywater's ERA to 2.29, ranking him first in the WCC and No. 21 in the country.

  • Pepperdine closes out the 2010 season by hosting San Francisco this weekend in a three-game set.
  • Overall Record: 31-17
    WCC Record: 11-7
  • The Pilots were edged by No. 22 Oregon, 4-2, in a mid-week non-conference game last Tuesday.

  • Senior 1B C.J. Cullen was named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Cullen is enjoying a career year at the plate, batting .341 with four home runs, five doubles, a triple, 32 RBI's and 37 runs scored. Cullen is the first UP baseball player to land on the CoSIDA Academic All-America America First Team.

  • 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 play at Washington State before playing at Gonzaga for three games this weekend.
  • Overall Record: 18-30-1
    WCC Record: 7-11
  • Saint Mary's traveled to Seattle to take on the Redhawks in a four-game series. The Gaels would split the series, winning the first and last game of the set.

  • Sophomore Troy Channing homered in the final two games of the series to bring his season total to 15 and his career total to 35. With his home run in the second game, be passes James Mouton (1988-91) for Saint Mary's career record for home runs.

  • Junior RHP Taylor Reid picked up both wins against Seattle, pitching the final 1.1 scoreless innings of the first game before limiting the Redhawks to just one unearned win over six innings in the final game of the series.

  • Saint Mary's closes out the season at WCC Champion San Diego for a three-game series beginning this Friday.
  • Overall Record: 34-18
    WCC Record: 17-1
  • With the WCC regular season title wrapped up, the San Diego Toreros took two of three from Pepperdine before defeating Cal State Northridge, 14-8 on Monday.

  • San Diego enters the final week of the regular season with a 17-1 WCC record. The Toreros look to improve upon the WCC-best conference record of 18-3 - since the WCC went back to a single-division 21-game format in 2006 - which they set in 2007.

  • Senior third baseman Chris Engell was named the WCC Player of the Week in leading the Toreros to a series win over Pepperdine. Engell went an impressive 10-for-13 (.769) with one double and four RBI in leading USD to its eighth consecutive series win. Engell also extended his career-high hitting streak to 24 games.

  • San Diego plays at UC Riverside before hosting Saint Mary's for a three-game set.
  • Overall Record: 28-25
    WCC Record: 10-8
  • San Francisco currently sits in third place with a 10-8 record and enters the final week of the season just one game behind second place Portland.

  • Senior catcher Ryan Lipkin was named one of the 16 semifinalists for the 2010 Coleman Company - Johnny Bench Award, as announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. In 55 games, he is batting .308 (60-for-195) with 18 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 37 RBI, 28 runs scored, and two stolen bases. On the field, he has just one error in 236 chances for a .996 fielding percentage. He has allowed just six passed balls and is throwing out runners at a .517 clip.

  • Junior third baseman Stephen Yarrow leads the WCC with 16 home runs. Yarrow ranks fourth on USF's all-time home runs list with 31 career four-baggers.

  • USF closes out the season at Pepperdine with a three-game series beginning this weekend.
  • Overall Record: 21-30
    WCC Record: 6-12
  • Santa Clara fell at UC Davis, 11-6, before dropping a three-game series at No. 9 Cal State Fullerton.

  • Seniors Tommy Medica (.379 BA) and Geoff Klein (.332 BA) have combined to drive in 102 of Santa Clara's 317 RBI. Medica is also tied for the WCC lead with 19 doubles, while Klein is right behind him with 18 two-baggers.

  • Junior first baseman Curtis Wagner was named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Baseball Second Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Wagner (.404 BA) is on pace to join Medica and Klein as recent Broncos to win the WCC batting title.

  • Santa Clara closes out the 2010 season in Southern California as the Broncos play at LMU for a three-game series beginning this Friday.
  • AROUND THE WCC

    WCC Rawlings Pitcher of the Week

    Matt Bywater, PEP - LHP - JR
    Bywater's fourth solo shutout of 2010 established a new Pepperdine varsity season record and halted USD's quest for an unbeaten run through the West Coast Conference. The Toreros entered the weekend with a 15-0 conference mark and sported one of the league's highest team batting averages at .314. Bywater consistently pitched out of tight situations as San Diego placed runners in scoring position in the first, second, fourth and sixth innings. In the sixth, the Toreros reached second and third with no outs only to see Bywater strike out their No. 4 and 5 batters before getting Zach Kometani to end the threat with a routine ground ball to second base.

    Also Nominated: Jeremy Stumetz (Gonzaga), Reid Taylor (Saint Mary's), Sammy Solis (San Diego)

    WCC Rawlings Player of the Week

    Chris Engell, USD - INF - SR
    Engell, a 5-9 senior from Fairfield, Calif., was red hot at the plate for the Toreros this past week and helped lead USD to a series win over Pepperdine University, its eighth consecutive weekend series win. Engell went an impressive 10-for-13 (.769) with one double and four RBI including pushing across the game-winning run in Sunday's series clinching victory. Engell also extended his career-high hitting streak to 24 games. On the season, Engell is now hitting .400 with 66 hits, five doubles, four triples, one home run and 28 RBI.

    Also Nominated: Drew Heid (Gonzaga), Donald Collins (Saint Mary's)

    WCC No. 4 In Strength of Schedule
    West Coast Conference teams have played some of the toughest schedules in the nation. The WCC as a league ranks No. 4 in the nation in strength of schedule, trailing only the Pac-10, the Big West and the SEC, according to the latest Boydsworld.com rankings. In fact, all eight league schools - USD (4), Pepperdine (17), San Francisco (23), Saint Mary's (40), Loyola Marymount (49), Gonzaga (55), Santa Clara (59), Portland (64) - have played schedules ranked in the top 65 toughest in the nation.

    CONFERENCE STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANKINGS
    1. Pac-10
    2. Big West
    3. SEC
    4. WEST COAST
    5. Big 12

    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)