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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

USC baseball's hot 9-3 start can be attributed to great pitching (3.43 team ERA), stellar fielding (nine errors in 12 games) and timely hitting (.311 team batting average). 

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But any great team also needs a patient guy at the top of the order to jump start a lineup. Enter freshman Garrett Stubbs (pictured right by College Baseball Daily).

"Before coming to USC, I hated to bat in the leadoff spot," Stubbs said. "I did everything in my power to bat second throughout high school. But I love my role with this team. I'm just trying to see as many pitches as possible and hopefully whether its the No. 1 or No. 9 spot, I set the table for our guys in the middle of the order."

Click here for tickets to USC vs. Bakersfield at Dedeaux Field this weekend.

Without a true leadoff hitter last season, Frank Cruz relied heavily on catcher Kevin Roundtree to assume the duty full-time. And while the senior backstop filled in admirably, the 2012 team has certainly gotten a boost from Stubbs daily addition to the lineup card.

A two-time All-CIF selection from Torrey Pines HS, Stubbs has done a little bit of everything (.250 BA, four multi-hit games, six walks, two HBPs and five RBIs) during his freshman campaign.

"Before the season began, I had no clue what my role would be," said Stubbs. "It's been a lot of fun going out there and competing with the guys. And hopefully in some way I am contributing to our success."  
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Stubbs contributions to the team's success so far this season have not been limited to the plate. Although he made his mark in high school as a catcher, his versatility in the field has made him an everyday asset for the Trojans.

In 11 starts this season, Stubbs (pictured right by CollegeBaseball360.com) has played mostly in the outfield (26 putouts and one assist), either in left or center.

"I looked at the depth chart in the fall and assumed I'd be the third or fourth string catcher," said Stubbs. "It's kind of funny that I am playing the outfield, because only once in high school did I play the position in an actual game. And, that was due to an injury. But a spot opened up and I have made the most of it. All I care about is winning. So regardless of where I'm playing, if we are winning, I am happy."

Stubbs and the Trojans begin a three-game series tonight against Cal State Bakersfield at Dedeaux Field (where they are a perfect 8-0). First pitch is at 6 p.m.

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