May 21, 2008
WCC All-Conference Release
SAN BRUNO, Calif. -
Sophomores Angelo Songco and Ryan Wheeler were named to the All-WCC team, while senior A.J. LaMonda claimed honorable mention recognition, it was announced by the conference office on Wednesday. For Songco the selection is his second in as many years, while Wheeler and LaMonda were honored for the first time.
Songco, who along with Wheeler was a unanimous selection to the All-Conference squad, finished the season batting a team-best .356 (68-for-191) with 36 runs scored, 17 doubles, a team-leading 15 home runs, 48 RBI, 130 total bases and a .681 slugging percentage. In conference games alone, the native of Granada Hills, Calif. hit a team-best .429 (33-for-77) with 17 runs scored, nine doubles, six home runs, 23 RBI, 60 total bases and a slugging percentage of .779. He reached base at a .511 clip. Songco entered the season on the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List and preseason All-Conference teams according to Rivals.com and Baseball America.
Wheeler batted .345 (70-for-203) in 2008, starting every game for the Lions on the season. The team-leader in batting average for much of the campaign, he finished with 36 runs scored, a team-best 20 doubles, one triple, six home runs, 45 RBI and 110 total bases. He slugged .542 and reached base at a .405 pace. In conference games alone, the native of Torrance, Calif. batted .372 (29-for-78) with 15 runs scored, 11 doubles, three home runs and 24 RBI. He slugged .628 and reached base at a .440 clip. Wheeler claimed WCC Player of the Week for the week ending March 31, batting .545 (12-for-22) over the five games played and serving a crucial role in the Lions' 5-0 week. The selection was the first of Wheeler's career and the sole selection for the Lions in 2008.
LaMonda, who also started all 55 games for the Lions in 2008, batted .329 (72-for-219) with a team-best 43 runs scored, 15 doubles, a triple, two home runs and 29 RBI. He was named the 2008 Aztec Invitational Tournament MVP as he helped lead the Lions to a 3-1 record and the Tournament Championship. LaMonda batted .474 (9-for-19) with three runs scored, a triple, a walk, a stolen base and nine RBI over the four-game span. In conference games alone, the Orange County, Calif. native hit .304 (24-for-79) with 20 runs scored, six doubles, a home run and eight RBI. He slugged .418 and recorded an on base percentage of .409.
Four different West Coast Conference programs shared in the All-Conference individual honors, with Pepperdine's Eric Thames and San Diego's Brian Matusz highlighting this year's honorees. Thames and Matusz were unanimous selections as WCC Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, while Santa Clara's Thain Simon was tabbed for Freshman of the Year honors, and San Francisco's Joey Railey took home the first-ever WCC Defensive Player of the Year award. San Diego skipper Rich Hill was named WCC Coach of the Year for the second straight season after leading the Toreros to the league's regular season crown.
Thames enjoyed one of the best offensive campaigns in WCC history, leading the conference in batting (.529), home runs (8), runs scored (25), on base percentage (.612), and slugging percentage (.956) during league play. The San Jose, CA native becomes the 13th Wave to take home the conference's top honor, and the first since Chad Tracy was named WCC Player of the Year following the 2005 season. Thames' 13 home runs on the year ties him for 10th place on the Pepperdine single-season list, while his eight triples ties him for second place in the Wave record book.
Matusz becomes the first Torero to be named Pitcher of the Year since Ricky Barrett received the accolade in 2002. The junior continued his assault on the record book, striking out a conference-high 122 batters on the year and moving into fourth place on the WCC's all-time strikeout list with 378. The Cave Creek, AZ native was nothing short of dominant during conference play, posting a 6-1 mark in seven starts and notching a miniscule 1.89 ERA during league action. Matusz fanned 67 batters in WCC play, while logging 52.1 innings to rank second in the conference.
Simon is the first Bronco since 2000 to be named as the WCC's top freshman. The El Dorado Hills, CA native made nine mound appearances in WCC play, posting a 2-2 record and recording a pair of saves, while brandishing a 2.85 ERA. Simon tied for second in the conference with nine victories on the year, and ranked fifth in the league with 71 strikeouts in 62.2 innings pitched. His 2.59 ERA ranked fourth in the WCC.
Hill was tabbed for Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season, and the third time in his career. Hill guided the Toreros to a 39-15 record, and the program's second straight WCC regular season title. USD put together a 16-game winning streak during the campaign, including 12 straight victories against league opponents.
Railey was named as the WCC's first-ever Defensive Player of the Year after playing a near perfect second base for the Dons. The senior committed just one error in 249 chances during the season, posting a .996 fielding percentage.
Player of the Year: Eric Thames, Pepperdine
Pitcher of the Year: Brian Matusz, San Diego
Freshman of the Year: Thain Simon, Santa Clara
Coach of the Year: Rich Hill, San Diego
Defensive Player of the Year: Joey Railey, San Francisco
Brady Fuerst# - Santa Clara - 2B - JR
Nate Garcia# - Santa Clara - RHP - SO
Nick Gaudi - Pepperdine - RHP - SR
Logan Gelbrich#* - San Diego - C/OF - SR
AJ Griffin#* - San Diego - RHP - SO
Drew Heid - Gonzaga - OF - SO
Riley Henricks - Portland - SS - FR
Ryan Heroy# - Pepperdine - 1B - JR
Kyle Jensen# - Saint Mary's - OF - SO
Jon Karcich# - Santa Clara - SS - SO
Evan LeBlanc# - Santa Clara - OF - JR
Matt Lujan - San Francisco - LHP - FR
Brian Matusz#* - San Diego - LHP - JR
James Meador# - San Diego - OF - SO
Tommy Medica#* - Santa Clara - C - SO
Bryce Mendonca# - Pepperdine - 3B - JR
Kyle Morgan - San Francisco - OF - SR
Nathan Newman# - Pepperdine - RHP - JR
Joey Railey# - San Francisco - 2B - SR
Josh Romanski#* - San Diego - LHP - JR
Thain Simon - Santa Clara - RHP - FR
Angelo Songco#* - LMU - OF - SO
Joel Staples - Saint Mary's - SS - JR
Eric Thames# - Pepperdine - OF - JR
Ryan Wheeler# - LMU - 1B - SO
*Previous Times an All-WCC First Team Pick; #Unanimous Selection
Scott Alexander - Pepperdine - LHP
Connor Bernatz - San Francisco - OF
Kyle Blair - San Diego - RHP
Matt Bywater - Pepperdine - LHP
Justin Fazio - Saint Mary's - UTL
Riley Henricks - Portland - SS
Matt Lujan - San Francisco - LHP
Cody Martin - Gonzaga - RHP
Thain Simon - Santa Clara - RHP
Sammy Solis - San Diego - LHP
GON- Matt Fields, Cody Martin, Evan Wells
LMU- A.J. LaMonda
PEP- Matt Bywater, Chase d'Arnaud
POR- Danny Meier; SMC- Brian Hawkins
USD- Kevin Hansen, Kevin Muno, Jose Valerio
USF- Matt Baugh, Mitchell Bialosky
SCU- Ryan Conan, Nathan Faulkner, Matt Long, Mark Willinsky