April 13, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

TAKING AMES: Gonzaga University broke into the Baseball America Top 25 for the first time since 2006 at the No. 22 spot following a series victory over then-No. 21 San Diego last weekend.

Junior Steven Ames was selected West Coast Conference/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week after tossing a complete-game 4-2 win against the league's best hitting squad on April 11. The native of Vancouver, Wash., held the Toreros to two runs on six hits while striking out a career-high 10 batters as he recorded the Zags' first complete-game win of the season. Ames retired 14 straight hitters during a four-inning stretch as he improved his league-leading mark to 6-0 on the year.

The Zags have won their last two series against ranked foes, and now sit in third place in the WCC standings behind San Diego and Loyola Marymount.

SWEEPING UP: UC Irvine notched its first sweep over Long Beach State since 2002 with the help of junior right-hander Eric Pettis, who posted a win and a save against the Dirtbags last weekend.

The native of West Hills, Calif., hurled three shutout innings in a 3-1 extra-inning win on April 9, and then collected his Big West-leading ninth save of the season by pitching a perfect ninth inning the next day. He earned Big West Co-Pitcher of the Week honors for his efforts. Pettis, who ranks second in the nation in saves, leads the Anteaters with 13 appearances.

UCI, ranked No. 3 in the most recent Baseball America Top 25, tops the Big West standings by three games with an 8-1 league record.

TIGERS BACK ON TOP: LSU regained its No. 1 position in three college baseball polls this week as the Tigers won their ninth consecutive Southeastern Conference series by taking two of three games at Alabama last weekend.

Junior Blake Dean played a key role in the series victory, batting .500 with a double, two home runs, and 10 RBI versus the Crimson Tide. The native of Crestview, Fla., provided the eventual game-winning hit with a two-run double in a 12-7 win on April 12. Dean was dubbed SEC Player of the Week for his contributions.

STREAKING: Baylor University junior first base Dustin Dickerson stretched his career-long hitting streak to 19 games - the longest amongst Big 12 players this season - as he hit safely in five contests last week.

The native of McGregor, Texas, ripped a walk-off, bases-loaded single in the 11th inning as the Bears downed Missouri, 8-7, on April 10, and recorded multi-hit games in the squad's other four games on the week.

Dickerson, whose streak is tied for the seventh-longest in school history, was named Big 12 Player of the Week for his part in helping the Bears to a 3-2 record last week. He paces the No. 7 Bears with a .379 batting average.

NOTABLE: Rice University junior Mike Ojala made his first start in three weeks, and collected his second win of the season as he struck out 10 batters in five innings in the rubber game against Conference USA foe East Carolina on April 12. The victory allowed the Owls to improve to 9-3 in C-USA play, tying the previously league-leading Pirates ... Coastal Carolina turned in a perfect 5-0 week as the Chanticleers stretched their winning streak to 10 games with a sweep of Radford in Big South action last weekend.