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USF Baseball Ready to Compete In First NCAA Regional Friday vs. Miami

May 30, 2006

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SAN FRANCISCO REWARDED FOR RECORD-SETTING SEASON WITH FIRST EVER NCAA REGIONAL BERTH: After another record-setting season, USF finally achieved something no other team in program history could accomplish: earn an NCAA Regional Trip. The Dons, ranked No. 25 in the current Baseball America Poll travel to the 2006 Lincoln Regional, hosted by Nebraska and will square off against the Hurricanes of Miami in the opening game scheduled for a 5:05 PM (PT) first pitch Friday, June 2 at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park. USF captured its first West Coast Conference Championship in program history this season, while junior LHP/OF Scott Cousins earned WCC Player of the Year and senior RHP Patrick McGuigan earned WCC co-Pitcher of the Year honors. Nino Giarratano earned WCC Coach of the Year accolades for the second consecutive season.

2006 NCAA Division I Lincoln RegionalFriday-Monday, June 2-5, 2006Hosted By Nebraska (Hawks Field at Haymarket Park)

Friday, June 2Game 1 - Nebraska vs. Manhattan (1:05 PM, CT/11:05 AM, PT)Game 2 - Miami vs. USF (7:05 PM, CT/5:05 PM, PT)

Saturday, June 3Game 3 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 (1:05 PM, CT/11:05 AM, PT)Game 4 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 (7:05 PM, CT/5:05 PM, PT)

Sunday, June 4Game 5 - Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 (1:05 PM, CT/11:05 AM, PT)Game 6 - Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 5 (6:05 PM, CT/4:05 PM, PT)

Monday, June 5Game 7 - If necessary, same teams as Game 6 (1:05 PM, CT/11:05 AM, PT)

SCOUTING THE 2006 NCAA DIVISION I LINCOLN REGIONAL OPPONENTS USF'S FRIDAY OPPONENT - SCOUTING MIAMI: Winners of four national championships, the Hurricanes (36-21) earned a bid for an NCAA-record 34th consecutive season. UM has advanced to seven straight NCAA Super Regionals and captured its last national title in 2001. Miami enters the weekend after dropping four of its last five - all losses to No. 8 national seed Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes finished fifth in the ACC (17-13) and bat at a .309 clip with 54 home runs and out-scored their opponents 392-287. Miami pitching posted a 4.43 ERA with a strikeout/walk ratio of 404/232. Junior catcher Eddy Rodriguez (.335, 9 HR, 33 RBI) and junior centerfielder Jon Jay (.351, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 26 SB) earned All-ACC First-Team honors. Freshman infielder Jemile Weeks (.333, 3 HR, 28 RBI) and junior reliever Chris Perez (3-1, 1.77 ERA, 12 SV) were selected to the All-ACC Second Team. Three-time national coach of the year Jim Morris is in his 12th season in Coral Gables and has directed his club into the College World Series nine times. Morris owns a Division I career record of 1,103-463-4 in his 24th season and is 599-219-3 with the Hurricanes.

COMMON OPPONENTS: None

SERIES RECORD: First Meeting

SCOUTING MANHATTAN: The Jaspers (32-21) qualified for their first NCAA Regional since 1957 after winning its first MAAC Championship. Manhattan defeated regular-season champion Le Moyne in the league tournament and set the school's win record in the process (32). Manhattan enters the Lincoln Regional on a tear, winning nine of its last 10 games. As a team, the Jaspers hit at a .280 clip with 40 home runs and have out-scored their opponents 338-243. The pitching staff owns a 3.95 ERA with 11 complete games and own a strikeout/walk ratio of 384/180 and opposing hitters manage a .251 average. Senior left-hander Chris Cody captured MAAC Pitcher of the Year honors after posting an 11-2 record with a 1.45 ERA, tossing eight complete games. Cody recorded a 98/22 strikeout/walk ratio and held opposing hitters to a .195 batting average. Joining Cody on the All-MAAC First Team were senior designated hitter John Fitzpatrick (.324, 16 HR, 64 RBI), junior catcher Nick Derba (.311, 3 HR, 32 RBI), and sophomore first baseman Matt Rizzotti (.349, 8 HR, 41 RBI). Kevin Leighton did wonders for Manhattan in his first season as a Division I head coach after serving four seasons as an assistant coach for the Jaspers. Leighton turned in a standout career at Seton Hall, helping the Pirates to two straight NCAA Regional berths (2000-01).

COMMON OPPONENTS: None

SERIES RECORD: First Meeting

SCOUTING NEBRASKA: The Huskers (42-15) capped another outstanding season with a No. 6 National Seed and host an NCAA Regional for the second straight year and the fourth time in the last five seasons. Nebraska owns an impressive 16-11 record against the 2006 NCAA Regional field, 6-2 against the top-eight national seeds. The regional hosts enter the weekend winners of five of its last 10, but reeled off three straight wins to advance to the title game of the Big-12 Tournament before falling to Kansas (7-9). Offensively, the Huskers hit at a .314 clip with 69 home runs and have out-scored their opponents by a 374-221 margin. Nebraska's pitching staff owns a 3.43 ERA and its top four starters own a dazzling 29-11 record. Husker hurlers own a 374/194 strikeout/walk ratio and hold opponents to a .248 batting average. Sophomore infielder Ryan Wehrle (.367, 8 HR, 48 RBI), junior outfielder Luke Gorsett (.350, 15 HR, 48 RBI) and senior infielder Brandon Buckman (.338, 14 HR, 51 RBI) lead the way for Nebraska offensively and all earned First Team All-Big-12 honors. Sophomore left-hander Tony Watson (10-1, 2.87), and senior right-handed closer Brett Johnson (5-0, 2.66, 13 SV) also captured first team all-league hardware. Mike Anderson is in his fourth season at the helm for the Huskers and owns a career mark of 182-71 overall record and has directed his team to a pair of Big-12 titles and propelled Nebraska into the 2005 College World Series.

COMMON OPPONENTS: None

SERIES RECORD: First Meeting

Scott Cousins NAMED 2006 WCC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Junior OF/LHP Scott Cousins earned 2006 West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors, capping a dominant season on the mound and at the plate. Cousins becomes just the second Don ever named as the league's top player and first since former three-time All-American Taggert Bozied earned the honor in 1999 after leading the nation in home runs with 30 en route to capturing the first triple crown in the modern era of the WCC. Cousins posted a 4-2 record on the mound with a 3.03 ERA and tossed a pair of complete games during league action, including a shutout against No. 24 San Diego (4/28). The Reno native was equally spectacular at the plate, batting .352 with 12 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 44 RBI to go along with 21 stolen bases. Cousins earned four WCC Player of the Week honors and was named WCC Player of the Month for April.

Patrick McGuigan NAMED 2006 WCC CO-PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan achieved yet another milestone in an outstanding career when he captured 2006 West Coast Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year honors. McGuigan becomes the first Don in school history to be named league's top pitcher and shares the accolade with Pepperdine's Barry Enright. McGuigan recorded a 5-1 mark in league play in 2006, appearing in 10 games with six starts during WCC competition, posting a 3.12 ERA and nailing down three saves in addition to his five victories. The Honolulu, HI native was one of just three league pitchers to toss a shutout in WCC play during the 2006 campaign with a 2-0 masterpiece at No. 22 Pepperdine (4/9). McGuigan ranks second among career wins leaders (21) and is the all-time saves leader (17).

Nino Giarratano NAMED 2006 WCC COACH OF THE YEAR: After yet another record setting year, USF head coach Nino Giarratano was selected by his peers as the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. Giarratano catapulted the Dons to its first ever WCC title, inaugural postseason appearance and has San Francisco poised for the first NCAA Regional berth in program history. The last two seasons have been nothing short of outstanding as the Dons posted 75 wins since the start of the 2005 campaign - the most in consecutive years in school history and the first time a USF team in any sport has posted 30 victories in back-to-back years - to go along with 35 WCC wins, also tops for the Diamond Dons in a two-year span. In his eighth season on the Hilltop, Giarratano ranks second in career wins (220) behind only USF Legend and Hall-of-Famer Dante Benedetti (373).

RECORD NINE DONS EARN ALL-WEST COAST CONFERENCE HONORS: Following the first West Coast Conference title in program history, a school record nine USF players earned all-league honors as announced by the conference office Wednesday, May 24. Nino Giarratano was selected by his peers as WCC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, while junior utility player Scott Cousins captured WCC Player of the Year honors becoming just the second Don ever named as the league's top player (Taggert Bozied, 1999). A school record four players earned first team selection as senior outfielder Stefan Gartrell, senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan, sophomore left-hander Aaron Poreda joined Cousins. It is the second straight first team honor for Cousins, who along with Gartrell were unanimous selections. Senior shortstop Andrew Smith captured second team selection, while junior designated hitter Blake Nelson, sophomore infielder Joey Railey, sophomore outfielder Luke Sommer and junior left-hander Cole Stipovich earned honorable mention selection. Sommer also was named honorable mention as a freshman in 2005. Eight Diamond Dons earned all-conference accolades last season.

Stefan Gartrell - WCC RBI KING: Senior outfielder Stefan Gartrell turned in one of the top offensive seasons in USF history and led the West Coast Conference in overall (62) and league only (26) RBI during the regular season. The San Francisco native is the first Don to pace the league in RBI since former three-time All-American Taggert Bozied set the USF record with 82 in 1999 en route to WCC Player of the Year honors.