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Baseball Preps for WCC Tourney

USDTOREROSDOTCOM PJ Conlon will start on Thursday for the Toreros against BYU.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
PJ Conlon will start on Thursday for the Toreros against BYU.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

May 20, 2013

WCC Tournament Central Page

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ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team (32-22) will hit the road this week as they head to Stockton, Calif. to participate in the first-ever West Coast Conference Baseball tournament at Banner Island Ballpark.  On Thursday, the No. 2 seeded Toreros will square off against the No. 3 seeded Brigham Young University Cougars at 7 p.m.  The winner of this game will play the winner of the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs and fourth-seeded San Francisco Dons.  The loser will play the loser of the GU-USF match-up on Friday at noon in an elimination game.  This will be a double-elimination tournament.  

SCOUTING THE COUGARS: Brigham Young enters the week with an overall record of 30-19, and will play at No. 19 Arizona State on Monday before heading to Stockton.  The Toreros have dominated the all-time series at 8-1, including taking all six meetings between the two since the Cougars entered the WCC.  This season, USD swept the Cougars at Fowler Park to open up WCC play.  BYU is led offensively by Jacob Hannemann who is hitting .342 with 68 hits, 14 doubles, seven triples, five home runs and 28 RBI.  On the mound, USD will square off against right-hander Desmond Poulson, who is 7-2 with a 2.85 ERA.  

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS:  Gonzaga, the 2013 WCC regular-season champion, enters the week with an overall record of 32-18-1, and they posted a 18-6 WCC record.  The Zags take on California in Berkley on Monday evening before heading to Stockton.   The Toreros lead the all-time series at 41-30-1, but the Zags did take two of three form USD in Spokane under frigid temperatures.  The Bulldogs offense is anchored down by  All-American Marco Gonzales, who is hitting .321 with 51 hits, six doubles, two home runs and 26 RBI.  On the mound, the GU rotation is anchored down by Tyler Olsen, who is 9-3 with a 2.09 ERA.  

SCOUTING THE DONS:  San Francisco enters the tournament as the No. 4 seed, after posting a overall record of 32-21, and a 15-9 mark in the WCC.  The Toreros lead the all-time series at 79-49, but the Dons did take two-of-three from the Toreros in Fowler Park this season.  The USF offense is paced by Zachary Turner, who is hitting .651 with 71 hits, 15 doubles, eight home runs, 60 RBI.  On the mound, San Francisco looks to Haiden Hinkle to anchor things down, as he is 8-1 on the year with an ERA of 1.60.

NO. 30:  San Diego junior All-American third baseman Kris Bryant, reached a milestone in the final regular-season game of the season at UC Irvine,. he hit his nation's best 30th home run, a solo blast to left center field.  Bryant became just the second player in the BBCOR bat era to hit 30 home runs in a season, tying the record set by Victor Roache from Georgia Southern in 2011.  Roache hit his 30 home runs over the course of 62 games, while Bryant has done it in 54 games, and at sea level.  Bryant will have a chance to set a new record on Thursday, when USD heads to Stockton to compete in the WCC Tournament.  

CAN YOU SEE ME:  All six of the games at the WCC Tournament will be streamed live this week, with the exception of the championship game that will be televised on ESPNU.   The WCC digital broadcast on Friday will have Roxy Bernstein providing play-by-play action.  On Friday, Andy Masur, the voice of Torero men's basketball, will do all the play-by-play of the three games, then on Saturday, Bernstein will again provide the play-by-play for ESPNU.

LECHICH DEALS: In the final regular-season game of the season, junior lefty Louie Lechich took to the mound, and was nothing short of dominate.  The Stockton, Calif. native completely held the normally potent UC Irvine bats at bay, as he allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits, while striking out five in a career-high 6.0 innings of work.  On the season, lechich is now 2-3 with a 2.97 ERA in 39.1 innings of work.  

LEADING THE NATION: Kris Bryant continues to lead the nation in home runs hit with 30, after hitting two more home runs this past weekend, which is 11 higher then Ryan Kindella from Elon, who is in second place with 19. This is a new single-season record at USD.  Bryant is also leads the nation in slugging percentage (.876), tied for the lead in walks (57), and leads in runs scored with 72.

MR. LONG BALL: Kris Bryant has now etched his name in the USD history, as he surpassed both the 25-year old single-season, and 25-year old career home run record.  In 1988, Dave Rolls set the single-season mark with 18 long balls, but Bryant has surpassed that with his nation's best 30.  With his 30 home runs on the season, Bryant has also surpassed the 25-year old career record of 43, that was held by Sean Baron, and he currently has 53.  What is also more impressive, Bryant set this record in three years, while Baron did it in an outstanding four-year Torero career.   The 53 career home runs is now second all-time in WCC history, and the 30 home runs this season is tied for second best in WCC single-season history, with the record currently held at 33 by Nate Gold of Gonzaga.   Bryant has now hit more home runs that 228 schools in Division one, as of Monday May 13.  

A INSIDE LOOK AT WHAT USD HAS DONE: With the season nearing an end, it is nice to take a look back at just what USD has accomplished this season.  The Toreros are bolstering a 6-1 record against teams with a top-50 RPI...have posted 18 wins vs. top 100 RPI...RPI of 53- Best in WCC (as low as 28 in mid April)...second place regular season finish in WCC...have a series win vs. No. 6 RPI & Pac 12 leader Oregon State (2-1)...win vs. No. 9 & Big West leader Cal State Fullerton...road win @ No. 25  and Colonial leader Univ. of North Carolina-Wilmington...Road win @ No. 30 Coastal Carolina( second place Big South)...win vs. Seton Hall(second place Big East)...series win vs. 2012 CWS team Kent State(3-1)...neutral site win vs. 2012 CWS team Stony Brook.

BRYANT NAMED TO GOLDEN SPIKES MID-SEASON AWARD WATCH LIST: Junior All-American Kris Bryant of the University of San Diego baseball team has been named to the 60-man Midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List.  Bryant, a 6-5 third baseman from Las Vegas, Nev., has been nothing short of amazing in his third year in a Torero uniform. Bryant currently leads the nation in home runs with 28. These 28 home runs are now a new USD single-season record, breaking a 25-year old record that was held by Dave Rolls of 18. With the 28 home runs, Bryant also breaks the 25-year old career home runs record that was held by Sean Baron, as he runs his career total to 51 and counting. Bryant by himself has now hit more home runs than 228 of Division I's 296 teams. Bryant's per-game home run average of 0.54 is on pace to be the highest since Kent Matthes of Alabama hit 28 in 56 games in 2009. Bryant also leads the nation in walks (56), and slugging percentage (.880). Bryant has been named the National Player of the Week two times, and WCC Player of the Week two times this season.

BRYANT EARNS ALL-ACADEMIC HONORS: USD junior third baseman Kris Bryant was named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic team announced on Friday. Bryant (Las Vegas, Nev.) was USD's lone representative on the all-academic team that featured nine repeat honorees overall, including Bryant, who earned all-academic honors last year as well. Bryant, a finance major, boasts a 3.2 GPA while also currently leading the conference and the NCAA in home runs (30), RBI (61) and walks (57). Overall on the year, Bryant is hitting .338 with 12 doubles and three triples. Bryant is also one of 60 collegiate players currently on the Golden Spikes Watch List for the annual national amateur player of the year award.  At the conclusion of each athletic season, the WCC selects an all-academic squad for each WCC-sponsored sport. To be considered, a student-athlete must maintain at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average, while also being a significant contributor to his team.

TWO TOREROS NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM: Junior third baseman Kris Bryant and sophomore infielder Andrew Daniel were named to the preseason All-WCC team.  In WCC action last season, Bryant hit .326 with 31 hits, six doubles, two triples, seven home runs and had 25 RBI.  Bryant also slugged at a .653 clip and had an on base percentage of .409.  Daniel on the other hand, was just behind Bryant in WCC games, as he hit .323 with 32 hits, nine doubles, two home runs and 29 RBI.  Daniel had an on base percentage of .387 and was slugging at a .475 clip.

PICKED TO WIN IT: The University of San Diego has been selected to win the 2013 West Coast Conference baseball championship, in a preseason poll of the WCC's nine head coaches. The Toreros earned six of eight possible first-place votes and 62 overall points in the poll. Last year's West Coast Conference champion, Pepperdine University, earned 53 points and picked up two first place votes in the annual survey.  Gonzaga University garnered a first place vote and tallied 49 points to finish third in the poll. Loyola Marymount University captured 47 points to finish fourth. The University of San Francisco was selected fifth with 39 points, while BYU was tabbed sixth with 24 points. The University of Portland (19 points), Santa Clara University (16 points), and Saint Mary's College (15 points) rounded out the poll.  

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 2013 spring season will be Hill's 26th year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and 15th at USD, having enjoyed 22 winning seasons in 25 years. Since taking over at USD in 1999, Hill has been remarkable in leading the Toreros to 14 winning campaigns, rewriting the school record book en route to claiming five West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2010. Under his leadership San Diego has averaged 35 wins per season, including winning a school record 44 games in 2008, a year in which Hill was honored by his peers as the WCC Coach of the Year. In 2007, Hill led USD to its highest national ranking in program history at No. 4, as well as USD's first-ever national seed in the NCAA Regionals.  In 2008, Hill guided the Toreros into the championship game of the Long Beach Regional, marking the first time USD had reached that game in a NCAA Division I Regional.

2013 LIVE STATS AVAILABLE: All of San Diego's home games, and select road games can be followed live via Stat broadcast on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Statbroadcast is a real time update of the action.

CAN YOU SEE ME?: 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. Simply go to the baseball schedule page and click on the WATCH link to view that days game. The voice of the Toreros, Jack Murray, will be providing live play-by-play of all home games as well as select road games this season.