Friday, February 24, 2012

MU @ San Francisco Dons: Not the Giants

The USF Don

  • Friday 4 PM CT
  • Saturday 3 PM CT
  • Sunday 3 PM CT

Why are all the games in the early afternoon (2PM and 1PM PT)?

Apparently, Benedetti Diamond at Max Ulrich Field has no lights.

Looking at the Dons' website, there appears to be free streaming video of all three games this weekend, available HERE
Benedetti  Diamond at
Max Ulrich Field

THE DONS IN 2012 Weekly Media Release

The USF Dons began their season last weekend taking two of three from San Jose State.  Then they followed it up with a loss to the Wolfpack of Nevada in a mid-week game.

Game 1:  USF 4, SJSU 0
Junior right-hander Kyle Zimmer, senior lefty Jordan Remer, and senior righty Cameron Love combined to two-hit the Spartans.

Zimmer threw four innings of shutout baseball and looked to be in midseason form early on, striking out two Spartans in the first frame. The preseason second team All-American led San Francisco (1-0) past San Jose (0-1) in his first outing of the 2012 campaign. Zimmer was painting with the fastball and mixed in a curve and slider to confuse the Spartan hitters. The junior from La Jolla, CA retired all but one Spartan that he faced.
Game 2: USF 5, SJSU 1
Redshirt sophomore Abe Bobb was masterful in his second collegiate start as he led San Francisco past San Jose State, 5-1, Saturday afternoon at Blethen Field. Bobb went seven strong innings striking out four, and walking only one. The Denver, Colorado native settled in nicely in the later stages of the game, mixing location well, and getting first pitch strikes all afternoon.
Game 3: SJSU 7, USF 3
The Spartans scored in the top of the first on an RBI single off the bat of Anthony Bona. Dons freshman starter Christian Cecilio surrendered three more runs in the top of the second, as the Spartans collected seven hits in the first two innings to match their entire hit total over the first two games of the series.
. . .
Alex Balog came on in relief of Cecilio and the Spartan bats came alive again in the sixth. Four hits in the inning and a couple wild pitches plated three more San Jose State runs to push their lead to six, 7-1.
FRI 67° Sunny
SAT 63° Sunny
SUN 57° Sunny
And then the Dons lost 3-1 to Nevada on Tuesday, putting them at 2-2 on the young season.


The Dons have made it to the NCAA Regionals only twice in their entire history.  They posted a 1-2 showing in the 2006 Regional.  And last year, 2011, the Dons won the WCC Tournament as a #4 seed and proceeded to beat #1 seed UCLA in the opening game.  They then lost to UC-Irvine and then to UCLA in a rematch.

USF has ben picked to finish 3rd in the West Coast Conference in the 2012 preseason WCC Coaches Poll.

The Dons are not usually a bad team.  They also aren't generally a good team.  Just sort of average.  In the middle.  2011 was a good year for them.

Their recent season records (all games /West Coast Conference games)

2011: 32-25/16-5
2010: 28-28/10-11
2009: 28-28/12-9
2008: 31-26/12-9
2007: 27-28/9-12
2006: 39-23/15-6
2005: 38-18/20-10
2004: 27-32/14-16
2003: 25-31/17-13
2002: 18-38/9-21
2001: 28-26/14-16
2000: 26-33/10-20

The big question is whether the Dons can continue the success they had in 2011, or whether they will slide back to their mediocre comfort zone.

The Dons finished the season with a .985 fielding percentage, which tied an NCAA record set by West Virginia in 1971.

The 2011 Dons' baseball team made its way into the program record book in seven different categories. USF totaled a program-record 437 strikeouts this year and were second in saves in a season with 14. The team was fourth in wins (32), team ERA (3.76) and in innings pitched (510.1). USF finished the season with 116 doubles, which was the fifth best in school history, along with 16 conference wins.

Five different players turned in single-season totals that put them in the top 10 in program history. Bernatz totaled 14 sacrifice bunts, which was a school record. Nik Balog recorded 502 puts, which was the most in school history. Lavin's 20 doubles was tied for the third best season, his 82 hits were fifth best and 238 at bats were tied for fifth best. Higgs' 19 doubles put him in a tie for sixth most and sophomore Kyle Zimmer's 89 strikeouts was tied for the eighth-best total in Dons' history.

The Dons say good-bye to nine seniors: Matt Hiserman, Garrett Luippold, Matt Lujan, Stephen Yarrow, Sean Burns, Abramson, Bernatz, Higgs and Lavin.

"We are one step closer to what we want to do in this program and that's to make it to the Super Regionals and the College World Series," Giarratano said. "We need to catch the momentum from this year and use it going forward." (
Note: Except for Kyle Zimmer, every one of those record-setting players is no longer at USF.

The 2011-12 Dons have distinguished themselves in another way: Diamond Dons Turn In Near Record-Setting Performance With Collective 3.25 Team GPA (

@AaronFitt (Aaron Fitt of Baseball America): Starting to hear some No. 1 pick chatter from scouts about USF's Kyle Zimmer. He was up to 99 on Friday with killer curve, tons of strikes.

@CoachPietro (MU Coach Dan Pietroburgo): Challenge accepted RT @aaronfitt: Starting to hear some No. 1 pick chatter from scouts about USF's Kyle Zimmer. He was up to 99 on Friday.
Junior RHP Kyle Zimmer was named a 2nd team Preseason All-American by Baseball America.

Zim-Sanity in San Francisco for Dons' Pitcher (College Baseball Insider)
Those were the cheers coach Nino Giarratano heard as he merged from the dugout at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles. His University of San Francisco squad had just upset No. 12 UCLA 3-0 in UCLA’s regional.

They had just beaten the future No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft in Gerrit Cole. Giarratano emerged to see the small army of 600 gold jerseys and shirts in a sea of powder blue proudly chanting USF. Giarratano and USF weren’t supposed to have this moment. They were the underdogs, but junior right-hander Kyle Zimmer had other plans.

“I felt it in the bullpen,” Zimmer said. “My stuff felt pretty good, but around the second inning I think my stuff started settling in and I felt like my stuff was starting to click.”

Cole’s fastball consistently hits the upper 90s and comes back with a power slider and change-up. He was supposed to dominate the Dons, but it didn’t happen. The 6’4 Zimmer sports a low 90s fastball with a good change-up and curveball. He retired the first 11 batters he faced until he gave up a single. He came right back and retired the next 14
♦ Nino Giarratano, San Francisco Dons Head Coach:
“We have the unique position of having a pair of good brother tandems. We’ve got Nik and Alex Balog, with Nik as our starting 1st baseman and Alex will be our Sunday starter on the mound. And then we also have Kyle and Brad Zimmer, Kyle is our Friday starter who beat (UCLA’s) Gerrit Cole 3-1 in the opening game of the Regionals last year. And Brad Zimmer is a freshman outfielder who we are very excited about.” (
Matt Hobbs, USF Dons

Current MU Pitching Coach Matt Hobbs spent the 2010 season as the Dons' pitching coach before coming to Mizzou last season. His 2010 pitching staff at USF ranked fourth in the West Coast Conference in ERA and was second in the league in fewest walks per nine innings. (

Hobbs was hired as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator by Nino Giarratano, who is still the head coach of the Dons.

@CoachG32,  Dons Coach Nino Giarratano: @DonsAthletics @usfdonsbaseball Attack On Every Pitch #goldsunday starts now #godons

@BBProspectReprt: Kyle Zimmer 94-95 ez gas Friday; touched 98, long way since I first saw him in Feb 2011, raw as could be. #MLBdraft

@KendallRogersPG: Now here's an #MLBDraft note for you. #SanFrancisco staff member told me RHP Kyle Zimmer was 95-98 with his FB tonight. #MLB #WCC #Dons

@DonsAthletics (last Friday): Diamond Dons lead 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mason Morioka 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Kyle Zimmer exits after four shutout frames.

♦ Here's a video of the head coach speaking at that same event (if you can hear him past the snorer/heavy-breather):

And then there's this:

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