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This Week in WAC Baseball - May 22

This Week in WAC Baseball - May 22
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Sacramento State's Trent Goodrich has been named WAC Hitter of the Week for May 15 through May 21. Goodrich, a senior shortstop from Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton HS/South Mountain CC), reached based in 10 of 15 plate appearances and recorded three multi-hit games to lead the Hornets to a sweep over UT Rio Grande Valley. His best game came on Friday, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. On the week, he was 9-for-14 from the plate for a .643 batting average.

Other Hitter of the Week nominees: CSU Bakersfield's Junior Felix hit .455 in the ‘Runners three-game series at NM State … Grand Canyon's Greg Saenz hit .462 as the Lopes took two out of three at UC Davis to conclude the season … NM State's Brent Sakurai led the Aggies at the plate, hitting .643 as NMSU took two of three from CSU Bakersfield … Northern Colorado's Brett Minnick had a trio of two-hit games as the Bears swept Chicago State to earn a berth in the WAC Tournament … UT Rio Grande Valley's Joseph Collazo finished up the season with his eighth multi-hit game of the season on Friday at Sacramento State … Utah Valley's Zac Willis homered and drove in seven runs as UVU split four games last week.

Utah Valley's Patrick Wolfe has been named Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for May 15 through May 21. Wolfe, a senior left-hander from Reno, Nev. (Damonte Ranch HS), extended his school-record saves total to 11 in a series-clinching win at Seattle U. He also picked up the win over Seattle U on Thursday to help the Wolverines clinch a trip to the WAC Tournament this week in Mesa, Ariz. On the week, he allowed three hits over four scoreless innings with five strikeouts and a pair of walks.

Other Pitcher of the Week nominees: Grand Canyon's Jake Repavich allowed just one earned run over 5.2 innings but earned the no decision in an eventual win at UC Davis … NM State's Ruger Rodriguez allowed one hit over three innings in two appearances for the Aggies … Northern Colorado's Troy Watson pitched seven scoreless innings in the Bears' 10-0 win over Chicago State on Thursday … Sacramento State's Justin Dillon didn't allow an extra-base hit in Thursday's win over UTRGV, going six innings with seven strikeouts to earn the victory.

At the end of the regular season, NM State led the WAC with a .322 batting average. Sacramento State was both the top pitching team and defensive team with a 3.92 staff ERA and a .978 fielding percentage. Individually, CSUB's Ryan Grotjohn is the top hitter with a .400 batting average. Grand Canyon's AJ Franks holds the low ERA at 2.60. NM State's Brent Sakurai led the league with 81 hits on the season while teammates Dan Hetzel and LJ Hatch were the co-leaders in runs scored with 52 apiece. Hetzel also led the WAC in RBIs with 64. Northern Colorado's Brett Minnick was the doubles leader with 24 while Sakurai had a league-high nine triples. NMSU's Tristen Carranza hit 16 home runs to lead the WAC while Sacramento State's Justin Dillon finished the regular season as the strikeout king with 91 in 94.2 innigns pitched.

In WAC-only play, Grand Canyon led the league with a .329 batting average and .980 fielding percentage. Sacramento State had a 3.53 staff ERA to lead all teams on the hill. Individually, NM State's Mason Fishback hit an impressive .421 in league play while GCU's AJ Franks posted a 0.56 ERA in 32.1 innings pitched. Sacramento State's Ian Dawkins tied with Fishback for the lead in hits with 40 each while GCU's Austin Bull was the runs leader with 33. Sacramento State's Vinny Esposito and Fishback were tied for the lead in RBIs with 33 while GCU's Garrison Schwartz posted a WAC-high 12 doubles. Sakurai had six triples in league play and Hetzel knocked out a WAC-best nine home runs against WAC opponents. NM State's Kyle Bradish led the WAC in strikeouts in league play with 51 in 47.0 innings pitched.

NM State heads to Mesa as the top seed in this week's WAC Tournament at Hohokam Stadium. CSU Bakersfield is the second seed and will join the Aggies in having a first-round bye. Sacramento State earned the third seed and will take on sixth-seed Seattle U on Wednesday night while fourth seed Utah Valley will take on fifth seed Northern Colorado to open up tournament action on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The winner of the double-elimination tournament earns the WAC's automatic selection to the 2017 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.

For the second time in three seasons, Grand Canyon won the 2017 WAC regular season title, finishing one game ahead of NM State. GCU, who is in their fourth and final transitional year to Division I, will be eligible for the WAC Tournament in 2018 and will most likely head into the season as a favorite.

For the third time in school history, CSU Bakersfield turned a triple play on May 14 against Seattle U. With the bases loaded, Mahlik Jones fielded a grounder at third base, stepping on the bag for the first out and throwing over to Max Carter at first for the second out. Carter then fired the ball home to Junior Felix for the third out and the end of the inning.

NM State's Tristen Carranza did his part to help the Aggies earn the win at rival New Mexico on May 2, hitting two home runs in the top of the fourth as part of a nine-run innings. A two-run home run tied the game and after the Aggies batted around, Carranza belted a grand slam to cap off the big offensive inning as NMSU earned the 12-5 win in Albuquerque.

Seattle U's Jack Reisinger was one of 11 players named to the 2017 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Eight Team. Student-athletes must carry a minimum 3.3 culumative GPA, be in their second year of competition at their institution and have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's games at the position listed on the nomination form.

Sacramento State right-hander Justin Dillon threw the WAC's first no-hitter in nearly seven years on Feb. 23 against Northern Kentucky. Dillon faced just two batters over the minimum for the first no-no in Sacramento State's Division I history.

Due to another game scheduled at the park, Seattle U and Portland were forced to settle for a 10-10 tie after eight innings on April 5. It was the first tie in the WAC this season and the fourth in the WAC over the last five seasons.

The CSU Bakersfield pitching staff had a week for the ages on Feb. 20-26, striking out 51 batters in five wins. Three of the five starting pitchers set new career highs in the category.

Northern Colorado junior Aaron Hamilton had a career game on Feb. 24 against San José State, striking out a WAC season-high and personal best 14 batters and walking none in a 1-0 complete game win.

UTRGV outfielder Jose Garcia got the 2017 season off to a good start, hitting for the cycle in his first four at-bats of the Vaqueros' second game of the season. He hit a triple in the bottom of the first, double in the third, single in the fourth and a home run in the fifth to complete the trick.

On Feb. 22, Grand Canyon traveled to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in an exhibition game, falling 9-1 in seven innings. The Lopes skipper Andy Stankiewicz was on the D-backs roster for their inaugural season in 1998.

Seattle U is the preseason favorite to win the 2017 Western Athletic Conference baseball title and Redhawks' pitcher Nick Meservey and Grand Canyon outfielder Garrison Schwartz were selected WAC Preseason Pitcher and Player of the Year respectively in a vote of the league's nine head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players.

The Redhawks received four first place votes to finish atop the preseason poll with 60 points. NM State was selected second, earning one first place vote and 52 points overall. Sacramento State picked up two first place votes for 47 points, edging out Grand Canyon by one point for third as the Lopes earned 46 points. Utah Valley was selected fifth as the 2016 tournament champions finished with 43 points. CSU Bakersfield was sixth, followed by UT Rio Grande Valley, Northern Colorado and Chicago State.

Meservey and Schwartz highlighted the Preseason All-WAC squad. Seattle U led the way with five honorees as Sean Sutton, Griffin Andreychuk, Tarik Skubal and Connor Moore joined Meservey. NM State had four honored as Mason Fishback, Trey Stine, Austin Botello and Kyle Bradish represented the Aggies. Schwartz was joined by GCU teammate Zach Malis while the CSU Bakersfield duo of David Metzgar and Max Carter represented the Roadrunners. UT Rio Grande Valley's Jose Garcia rounded out the 14-member squad.

For the third straight season, the WAC Baseball Tournament will head to Hohokam Stadium, preseason home of the Oakland Athletics. Renovated prior to spring training in 2015, improvements to Hohokam Stadium are immediately noticeable as the exterior and entrance gates has been painted and re-branded with the familiar Oakland Athletics green and gold color scheme. The stadium also features refurbished seating, a state-of-the art scoreboard and a new and expanded clubhouse. The bleachers along the left field and right field foul lines have been replaced with party decks. The top six teams from the WAC's regular season standings will advance to the tournament.The WAC Baseball Tournament is no stranger to the state of Arizona and the City of Mesa. The league's championship has been played in Arizona 15 times (1963, 65, 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, 76, 78, 2010, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16) and the event was held in Mesa in 1971, 1973, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Utah Valley won the 2016 tournament, earning the WAC's automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament.

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