April 16, 2012

Pacific University Baseball Weekly Notebook

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THIS WEEK IN PACIFIC BASEBALL
CORBAN AT PACIFIC

Game No. 31/Home Game No. 15
Tues., Apr. 17, 6 p.m., Chuck Bafaro Stadium, Forest Grove
Live Stats: www.goboxers.com/livestats

PUGET SOUND AT PACIFIC
Games No. 32 & 33/Home Games No. 16 & 17
Sat., Apr. 21, Noon, Chuck Bafaro Stadium, Forest Grove
Live Stats: www.goboxers.com/livestats

PUGET SOUND AT PACIFIC
Game No. 34/Home Game No. 18
Sun., Apr. 22, Noon, Chuck Bafaro Stadium, Forest Grove
Live Stats: www.goboxers.com/livestats

BOXERS STAY IN FIRST, BUT THE PLAYOFF RACE TIGHTENS UP
Pacific baseball finds that their march to a potential Northwest Conference championship a little tougher this week after dropping two of three games at Whitworth.  The Boxers will host Corban in a non-conference tilt on Tuesday before hosting Puget Sound for a critical three-game series at Chuck Bafaro Stadium.  Sunday's game will be senior day with the Boxers sending off 10 seniors.

BOXER BYTES
• Pacific dropped a pair of early week non-conference games as the Boxers put together starting lineups built mainly on reserves.  The Boxers dropped Tuesday's non-conference tilt at Willamette by a 6-1 score and a 10-4 decision to Corban in a game played at Volcanoes Stadium.

Rob Dittrick threw his fourth complete game and won his seventh straight game in Saturday's opener at Whitworth, allowing two runs on nine hits to secure a 6-2 victory.  Dittrick saw his earned run average drop to 2.14, second best in the NWC.

Nate Rasmussen led Pacific offensively in the victory, going 3 for 4 with his 11th double of the season.  Mike Nagamine went 2 for 4, which included his fourth home run of the year.

• Whitworth's Dan Scheibe held Pacific to just six hits in Saturday's nightcap as Pirates' bats got 13 hits off of three Pacific pitchers to take a 7-1 victory.  Nagamine led Pacific again by going 2 for 4 and the Boxers' only run batted in.

• In Sunday's single game, Pacific left 13 men on base despite having runners in scoring position in every inning but the sixth as the Pirates went on to a 3-1 victory.  Chad Fahey pitched a solid game in the loss, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings.

• Despite the losses, Pacific still leads the Northwest Conference standings by one game over Whitworth.  The Boxers sit 1.5 games ahead of third place Linfield and two games ahead of fourth place Pacific Lutheran.  Pacific, Whitworth and PLU all have six NWC games to play, while Linfield has three games to play.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
CORBAN

The NAIA Warriors enter the week with a 22-17 record after winning two of five games over the last week.  After their 10-4 win over Pacific on Wednesday, the Warriors dropped three of four games to Division II Central Washington.  On Friday, Corban dropped the opener by a 6-4 score before scoring two runs in the eighth inning of a scheduled seven-inning nightcap to go on to a 10-8 victory.  Colby Sokol combined to go 6 for 10 in the two games. The Warriors took 8-2 and 20-3 losses to the Wildcats on Saturday.  Marc Gallegos went a combined 4 for 8 at the plate to lead Corban.  Gallegos leads the Corban offense, batting .370 with 57 hits, 37 runs, 12 doubles and 18 runs batted in.  Sokol is batting .368 with 43 hits, 23 runs and seven home runs.  Justin White leads the pitching staff with as 7-4 record and 2.71 earned run average, allowing 26 runs, 20 earned, and striking out 41 in 66.1 innings.  As a team, Corban is hitting .285 and owns a 4.72 earned run average.  Jeff McKay is in his second year as Corban head coach.

AGAINST BRADLEY: Pacific leads 13-7
LAST MEETING: Corban won 10-4 in Salem, Ore., on Apr. 11, 2012

PUGET SOUND
The Loggers enter the week in seventh place in the NWC at 5-13 and are 9-23-1 overall.  Puget Sound has won five of their last six games and won three of their four games last week.  Puget Sound opened on Tuesday with a 7-6 non-conference win over Concordia (Ore.).  The Loggers came back from behind, scoring one run in the bottom of the eighth and two in the bottom of the ninth.  Connor Savage had the game-winning hit with the bases loaded and two out.  On Saturday, Puget Sound swept both ends of a doubleheader from Lewis & Clark, 12-8 and 6-2.  The Loggers once again roared back in the opener, scoring six runs in the bottom of the ninth with Casey Coberly hitting a grand slam to win it.  In the nightcap, Loggers' hurler Nathan Agular allowed two runs on six hits in the complete game win, but the Puget Sound offense had to score four runs in the bottom of the eighth to win it.  Coberly went 3 for 4 to lead the Loggers.  Puget Sound's five-game win streak came to an end on Sunday as the Pioneers held off another potential rally to take a 13-10 win.  The Loggers post five-run innings in the first and seventh, but L&C's two runs in the seventh and one in the ninth secured the win.  Savage and Paul Webster each went 2 for 5 to lead the Loggers.  Coberly leads the Puget Sound offense, averaging .344 with 31 hits, 17 runs and two home runs.  Agular leads the starting pitching staff with a 4.34 earned run average and 4-5 record, allowing 42 runs on 76 hits in 64.1 innings.  As a team, Puget Sound is batting .232 (8th in NWC) and owns a 6.41 earned run average (6th in NWC).  Brian Billings is in his 10th season as Puget Sound head coach.

AGAINST BRADLEY: Pacific leads 31-19
LAST MEETING: Puget Sound won 4-1 in Tacoma, Wash., on Apr. 23, 2011.

PACIFIC NEWS & NOTES
DITTRICK KEEPS PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
Tremendous starting pitching performances are the norm, not the exception, for Rob Dittrick (Jr., Mililani, Hawaii).  Dittrick turned in another great outing against Whitworth on Saturday, throwing his fourth complete game and earning his seventh consecutive win of the season.  Dittrick allowed two runs on nine hits with one walk and three strikeouts to lead Pacific to a 6-2 victory.  The reigning NWC Pitcher of the Year has the numbers to be a leading candidate to vie for the honor once again.  He owns a 7-1 record in nine starts.  He leads the NWC with his seven wins and ranks second with his 2.14 earned run average.  Dittrick also ranks second in the league with his four complete games, is tied for fifth with his 63 innings pitched, sixth with 45 strikeouts and is tied for eighth with his nine starts.  In the most recent NCAA Division III statistics (for games played through Apr. 8), Dittrick ranked 16th nationally with his six wins.

TOPS IN PITCHING: Taken as a combined staff, Pacific has one of the best groups of pitchers in the conference and at the Division III level.  The Boxers enter the week ranked second in the NWC with a team 3.68 earned run average  That also ranks 42nd among all 364 NCAA Division III programs through games played by Apr. 8.  Only Linfield, with a 2.66 ERA, ranks higher among NWC teams.  The Boxers also ranked 30th nationally in walks allowed per nine innings (2.75) and 40th in hits allowed per nine innings (8.54).

HARD LUCK LOSS: Chad Fahey (Sr., Keizer, Ore.) pitched well enough to pick up the win in Sunday's final game of the Whitworth series.  Fahey allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings of action, but took the loss as the Boxers fell 3-1.  Fahey continues to give the Boxers a solid presence at the end of a NWC series.  He enters the week with a 4-2 record, with his four wins tied for fifth in the NWC.  He owns a 3.36 earned run average, which ranks ninth in the NWC.  Fahey is also ranked in a tie for second with his two complete games and ranks eighth with 59 innings pitched and 42 strikeouts.

RELIEF MEN:  With the two non-conference games and the competitive games against Whitworth, the Boxers got a good look at what some of it's relievers can do later in the season.  Quin Moore (So., Bellingham, Wash.) pit together three quality innings of relief work over the past week, which included two innings against Whitworth on Saturday where he allowed just one hit.  Rylan Tomita (Jr., Honolulu, Hawaii) pitched three innings where he allowed one walk and struck out three against Willamette on Tuesday in just his first appearance of the season.  Tyler Kotchik (Fr., Beaverton, Ore.) allowed two runs on four hits in a three-inning spot start against Willamette on Tuesday.  Jared Van Hoon (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) gave Pacific a chance to stay in the game on Sunday against Whitworth, allowing a walk and striking out one in the final two innings.

FLY, FLY AWAY: After Pacific went nearly the entire month of March without a home run, Mike Nagamine (Sr., Aiea, Hawaii) had found the Boxers' stroke in the month in April.  Nagamine has three home runs in the month, adding one over the weekend with his two-run shot against Whitworth on Saturday.  He now has four for the season, ranking him 10th in the NWC.  Nagamine led Pacific offensively in the three-game series against Whitworth, going 5 for 11 with three runs batted in, two runs and the homer.  He enters the week with a .269 average in 22 games.  Pacific has hit a total of five home runs over the first half of April.  Kevin Schwartz (Sr., Milwaukie, Ore.) hit a grand slam, his first home run of his Pacific career, in the Boxers' 13-5 win over Willamette on Apr. 1.  Brad Williams (Fr., Olympia, Wash.) hit a solo home run in Tuesday's game at Corban.

KEEPING UP HIS OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION: Nate Rasmussen (Sr., Sandy, Utah) continues to be a consistently solid offensive producer for the Boxers.  Rasmussen went 5 for 13 in the three-game Whitworth series, hitting .385.  Rasmussen went 3 for 4 in Saturday's 6-2 opening game victory over the Pirates, which included his 11th double of the season.  In Sunday's 3-1 loss, Rasmussen went 2 for 5.  Rasmussen enters the week ranked third for the Boxers with his .326 batting average.   He enters the week tied with teammate Jared Van Hoon for third in the NWC with his 11 doubles.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END: The good thing that was Pacific's 10-game win streak came to an end with the Boxers' two non-conference losses on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The win streak began on Mar. 11 with a 3-0 shutout of George Fox and ended with the Boxers' 6-5 win over Whitman on Apr. 7.  In addition, Pacific's 11-game NWC win streak, which also began with the Mar. 11 win over George Fox, came to an end with their 7-1 loss to Whitworth in Saturday's nightcap.  Both streaks are believed to be the longest in program history.

In addition, the week's five road games ended a unique stretch of home games that saw the Boxers play at home the entire month of March.  Thanks to the move of their entire three-game series with George Fox to Forest Grove, Pacific played nine straight home games in March, all against NWC opponents.  With the Apr. 7 game against Whitman, the Boxers ended a string that saw them play 14 of 15 games at Chuck Bafaro Stadium.  The only road game in the stretch was the Apr. 1 game at Willamette.  The final two games of that NWC series were moved to Forest Grove due to unplayable field conditions.

IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: Pacific was ranked in the top-100 in eight statistical categories in the latest NCAA Division III baseball statistical report for games through Apr. 8.  Pacific is ranked 12th with their .971 fielding percentage and ranked 30th with their 2.75 walks allowed per nine innings.  Pacific also ranks 37th in sacrifice bunts (25), 42nd in earned run average (3.38), 56th in hit by pitch (36), 85th in win/loss percentage (.640) and 99th in walks (99).  Individually, Rob Dittrick was ranked 16th in wins (6), Donnie Bradley (Fr., Beaverton, Ore.) was ranked 12th in sacrifice bunts per game (0.33) and 31st in sacrifice bunts (7) and Mike McGuire (Sr., Olympia, Wash.) was ranked 32nd in walks allowed per nine innings (0.99).  The NCAA statistics are released weekly on Tuesdays and can be viewed at http://bit.ly/hl0JH7.

OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD: Pacific continues to rank as one of the most solid fielding teams in both the conference and at the NCAA Division III level.  The Boxers maintained a .971 fielding percentage over the week.  Pacific committed just one error in the Whitworth series.   In the Apr. 1 edition of the NCAA Division III stats, Pacific ranked 12th in fielding percentage.

BOXERS ENTER ABCA DIVISION III POLL: Pacific's win streaks impressed voters on the American Baseball Coaches Association Division III poll, with the Boxers appearing No. 27 on the Week 7 edition of the poll released on Apr. 10.  Pacific received 27 points in the poll after not having received any votes at all earlier in the season.  The Boxers will likely drop from the poll this week after dropping four of five games, including two of three to Whitworth.  Pacific was also again among teams receiving votes in the D3Baseball.com, picking up six votes in the survery voted on by media and sports information directors.  Pacific last received votes in the D3Baseball.com poll on Mar. 26.  The ABCA Poll can be viewed at www.muhlenberg.edu/sports/abcapoll.html, while the D3Baseball.com poll can bew viewed at www.d3baseball.com/top25.

SERIES-LY PERFORMING IN THE NWC: Pacific's series loss to Whitworth marked the end of a string of five straight NWC series victories dating back to the 2011 season.  Pacific last dropped a series was on Apr. 22 & 23, 2011, when they were swept at Puget Sound.  As part of that stretch, the Boxers post their first string of three consecutive NWC series sweeps in the modern history of the program as they took all three games from Lewis & Clark, Willamette and Whitman.

THE MAGIC NUMBER IS SIX: With Pacific losing two of three to Whitworth, it only ensured that that the race for the NWC championship is far from over.  Pacific enters the week with a magic number of six (Pacific wins plus Whitworth losses) with six games to go.  The magic number to eliminate both Linfield and Pacific Lutheran, third and fourth in the NWC respectively, is five.  In the event of a tie for first place with Whitworth, the Pirates would advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament based on the head-to-head series.  

DITTRICK IS NWC PITCHER OF THE WEEK AGAIN: For the second time this season, Rob Dittrick earned himself the Northwest Conference's award for Baseball Pitcher Student-Athlete of the Week thanks to his impressive complete-game three-hitter against Whitman on Apr. 6.  In the 5-0 win over the Missionaries, Dittrick did not walk anyone, hit three batters and struck out five.  He did not allow a runner past second base and did not allow a hit after the third inning as he faced just four batters above the minimum.

ADD SEASON HONORS: The Boxers have been blessed with four selections as NWC Baseball Pitcher Student-Athlete of the Week along with three selections to the D3Baseball.com Team of the Week this season.

Rob Dittrick was named to the D3Baseball.com Team of the Week on Mar. 22 for his one-hit, seven-hit performance in the Boxers' 16-1 rout of Lewis & Clark on Mar. 17.  Dittrick was also named NWC Pitcher Student-Athlete of the Week on Mar. 6 for his five-hit complete game effort that gave Pacific a 7-1 victory over then-No. 2 Linfield.

Nate Rasmussen was selected to the D3Baseball.com Team of the Week on Mar. 13 after batting .500 in the three-game set against George Fox, going 6 for 12 with two doubles, three runs, a home run and two runs batted in.

Jared Van Hoon was selected to the first D3Baseball.com Team of the Week on Mar. 6 after he batted .462 with six hits, three doubles, two runs and two RBI in the Linfield series.

Chad Fahey has twice been named as the NWC Baseball Pitcher Student-Athlete of the Week.  Fahey was honored on Mar. 13 after throwing a complete-game six-hit shutout against George Fox on Mar. 11.  He earned the honor again the next week after completing a 2-0 compelte game shutout of Lewis & Clark on Mar. 18.

IMPROVING AT THE PLATE: Pacific finished the 2011 season as one of the worst hitting teams in NCAA Division III baseball.  This year, the Boxers are seeing the bats backing up their pitching quite well.  Pacific enters the week batting .269 after hitting just .249 last season.  The Boxers have made the most improvement in their offensive production since the conference season began.  Pacific is hitting .291 in their 18 NWC games as compared to .232 in their 12 non-conference tilts.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: The three-game series against George Fox on Mar. 10 & 11 featured a rarity in college athletics as both teams featured a father-son combination.  Donnie Bradley (Fr., Beaverton, Ore.) is in his first season at Pacific playing for his father, Head Coach Greg BradleyDonnie Bradley made two starts for the Boxers in the Bruins' series in left field.  He was an Honorable Mention Oregon 6A All-State selection last year for Beaverton's Westview High School.  In the other dugout, George Fox Head Coach Marty Hunter was in his third season coaching his son, Taylor.  An All-Northwest Conference performer in 2009 before transferring to Oregon State for a year, Taylor is the Bruins' regular starter at shortstop.

SEASON PREVIEW: The complete 2012 Pacific baseball season preview can be found at http://www.goboxers.com/sports/2012/2/14/BB_0214120514.aspx?tab=baseball&path=baseball.

PACIFIC PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON POLL: After their breakout season in 2011, Northwest Conference coaches have picked the Boxers to finish four in 2012 according to the preseason poll released in January.  Pacific picked up 42 of a possible 80 points in the poll.  The Boxers finished tied for third last year with Pacific Lutheran, who is picked to finish third once again.  Linfield, which advanced to the NCAA Division III World Series, is picked to repeat as NWC champion in 2012, collecting 72 points and eight of nine first place votes.  Perennial NWC power George Fox is picked second with 52 points.

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