July 7, 2006
WCC Caps Record-Breaking 2006 Campaign
The West Coast Conference closed out one of the most successful seasons in conference baseball history, as three WCC teams earned selection to the postseason for the first time since 1988 ... Pepperdine claimed the WCC Championship Series title for the third straight year, and hosted an NCAA Regional at Eddy D. Field Stadium for the first time ... San Francisco received its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament after claiming a share of the WCC regular season title for the first time in program history. The Dons set a program record for wins with 39 overall victories during the 2006 season ... San Diego earned an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time, and made the program's third postseason appearance in the last five seasons. The Toreros recorded a historic three-game sweep over No. 1 ranked and defending national champion Texas to open the 2006 campaign in February ... Gonzaga earned the program's first national ranking since 1981, as the Zags checked in at No. 29 in the Collegiate Baseball poll on February 13 ... Pepperdine and San Diego were both ranked in the top-10 in the February 20 CBN poll, marking the first time that two conference squads have been ranked in the top-10 at the same time ... USF's Scott Cousins was named as a College Baseball Foundation All-American, and was a semi-finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award along with Pepperdine catcher Chad Tracy ... Pepperdine's David Uribes broke the WCC all-time hits record, pounding out 328 base hits during his four years in Malibu ... The WCC was well represented in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, as a record 25 players were selected by MLB clubs, snapping the previous high of 19 set in 2004 and matched in 2005 ... A record seven WCC freshmen were tabbed for Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors following the 2006 season.
Around The WCC
WCC Record 25 Players Selected In 2006 Major League Baseball Draft
Following one of the best seasons in West Coast Conference baseball history, 12 WCC players were selected on the first day of the 2006 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, while another 13 were drafted on the second day. The 25 players selected tops the previous WCC high of 19 players taken in the 2004 and 2005 drafts. In addition, all eight WCC schools had at least two players drafted, showing the overall strength of the conference.
San Diego's Josh Butler was the first WCC player selected and was one of six Toreros drafted, tops in the league, when he was taken in the second round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with the 47th overall pick. Following Butler in the draft was Pepperdine's Chad Tracy and San Francisco's Scott Cousins as both players were selected in the third round. Tracy, the 2005 WCC player of the Year, was taken with the 88th overall selection by the Texas Rangers, while Cousins, the 2006 WCC Player of the Year, was drafted seven spots later as the Florida Marlins nabbed him with the 95th overall pick. San Diego's Nate Boman, who sat out this past season with a medical redshirt, was selected with the 282nd overall pick in the ninth round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Rounding out the WCC players selected in the top 10 rounds was Gonzaga's Scott Campbell, as he was taken with the 300th overall pick in the 10th round by the Toronto Blue Jays.
San Francisco's Cousins Named College Baseball Foundation All-American
San Francisco's Scott Cousins was named to the College Baseball Foundation's 2006 All-American Team, joining 28 other players on CBF's list of the year's top regular season performers. Cousins, the WCC Player of the Year, was named to the CBF weekly honor roll three times during the 2006 season.
Record Seven WCC Players Earn Freshman All-American Honors
Seven WCC baseball players were named to Collegiate Baseball newspaper's 2006 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. Pepperdine, San Diego, and Santa Clara each had two players earn Freshman All-American accolades, while Gonzaga had one player named to the squad. All seven players were tabbed for WCC All-Freshman Team honors in May, and two players were also named to the Baseball America Freshman All-American team. Below is a list of conference players that were named Freshman All-American following the 2006 season.
Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans
Chase d'Arnaud, PEP - 3B
Brett Hunter, PEP* - RHP
Brian Matusz, USD* - LHP
Matt Long, SCU - OF
Josh Romanski, USD - LHP/OF
Matt Wickswat, SCU - LHP
Ryan Wiegand, GON - DH
*Denotes selected to the Baseball America Freshman All-American team
Pepperdine's Nick Kliebert Named WCC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Pepperdine's Nick Kliebert was named as the WCC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while Portland's Christine Sinclair was named as the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Kliebert was a four-year starter on the baseball team, helping the Waves to four straight postseason appearances, and graduated with a 3.632 in business administration. The highest honor in the WCC is selected by a vote of the WCC's institutional representatives to recognize the finest accomplishments in athletics, academics and community service.
West Coast Conference At The NCAA Tournament
* Three WCC baseball teams received bids to the 2006 NCAA Baseball Championships, tying a conference record that was set in 1988 when LMU, Pepperdine, and Santa Clara earned selection. The WCC has sent multiple teams to the postseason on five other occasions, with 2003 being the last time that the WCC earned an at large bid.
* Seven different WCC programs have combined to appear in 55 NCAA Tournaments since 1955, and have posted a 96-119 overall record. WCC programs have appeared in the College World Series four times, with Pepperdine winning the NCAA Championship on the program's last visit to Omaha in 1992. The Waves also finished third at the 1979 event, while playing as a member of the Southern California Baseball Association. LMU made its first appearance at the College World Series following the 1986 season, and Santa Clara finished in second place at the CWS in 1962.
WCC Team Notes
Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-24 / 9-12 WCC)
- Gonzaga wrapped up the 2006 season with a 29-24 overall mark, and a 9-12 record in WCC play.
- Darin Holcomb drove in a team-high 57 runs during the season, 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 May 18. 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).
- Scott Campbell batted a team-high .389 (82-for-211) during his junior campaign.
- The Zags earned a No. 29 national ranking in the Collegiate Baseball poll on February 13, marking the first time since 1981 that a Gonzaga squad has been ranked.
LMU Lions (24-32 / 11-10 WCC)
- LMU closed out the season on a strong note, sweeping a three-game series at Portland to finish the campaign with an 11-10 mark in WCC play and a 24-32 overall record.
- Brad Meyers struck out a career-high seven batters in 7.2 innings pitched in LMU's win over Portland on May 19, improving to 8-4 on the season. Meyers earned All-WCC second team honors following his sophomore campaign.
- Erik Johnson was named to the All-WCC first team after batting .351 with 45 RBI in his first and only season at LMU. The senior transfer from UC Irvine was one of only five players to be selected as unanimous first team All-WCC performers.
- 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).
Pepperdine Waves (42-21 / 15-6 WCC)
- Pepperdine registered two straight wins to open the Malibu Regional before falling twice to Missouri to close out the 2006 campaign.
- The Waves made the program's 23rd postseason appearance, and served as regional hosts for the first time in program history. It also marked the fourth straight postseason appearance for the Waves.
- Paul Coleman struck out three UCLA batters in a 6-0 Wave win in regional play, bringing his career strikeout total to 265. The senior, who struck out 97 batters during the 2006 season, finished his career ranked fifth on the Pepperdine career strikeout list.
- Chad Tracy, who finished his collegiate career tied for fourth on the Pepperdine career list with 30 home runs, became the highest Wave draft pick since 2001 when he was selected in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft in June.
Portland Pilots (15-37 / 3-18 WCC)
- Portland was swept by LMU to close out the 2006 campaign, finishing the season with a 15-37 overall record and a 3-18 mark against conference opponents.
- The Pilots lost two 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 nine home runs in 2006 to finish tied for the team lead with Danny Meier. The Pilots hit 42 home runs as a team to lead the WCC for the first time.
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 since 1991 that a Saint Mary's squad has finished with a record above .500.
- 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.
- Dan Lewis received second team all-conference recognition after leading the team with a 2.91 ERA, posting a 5-3 record, and nailing down four saves out of the bullpen.
San Diego Toreros (33-25 / 13-8 WCC)
- San Diego earned its first-ever at large selection to the NCAA Tournament, and went 1-2 at the Fullerton Regional. It marked the third postseason appearance in the last five seasons for the Toreros.
- Josh Romanski became the second Torero in the last three seasons to earn WCC Freshman of the Year honors, and received Freshman All-American accolades along with teammate Brian Matusz following the 2006 campaign.
- Jordan Abruzzo set San Diego program records with three home runs and eight RBI in USD's 19-12 triumph over St. Louis at the Fullerton Regional. Abruzzo was drafted in the 39th round by the Boston Red Sox in June.
- 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 league contests in 1985.
San Francisco Dons (39-23 / 15-6 WCC)
- San Francisco received its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament and went 1-2 at the Lincoln, NE Regional. The Dons posted a historic 5-1 win over No. 6 national seed Nebraska, giving USF a program record 39 wins for 2006 season.
- Patrick McGuigan, who became the first Don to ever earn WCC Pitcher of the Year honors, tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief to earn the save in USF's win over Nebraska. The save extended his program-record career saves total to 18.
- Aaron Poreda tossed 6.1 innings to earn his eighth win of the season against the Huskers. Poreda led the WCC with a 2.49 ERA, marking the second straight season that a Don has led the league in ERA (Nick Pereira-2005).
- Stefan Gartrell finished his career ranked third on the USF career RBI list with 131.
Santa Clara Broncos (28-26 / 9-12 WCC)
- Santa Clara wrapped up the season with a 28-26 mark, and a 9-12 record in conference play.
- 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.