Trojans Travel To Face North Carolina, Return Home To Host Cal State Fullerton
Feb. 29, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team (7-1) is off to their best start since 1988 when the team opened the season 15-0. The Trojans began 2012 with with a three-game sweep of Jacksonville and won a 4-3 contest on the road at Long Beach State. Last weekend USC swept Akron at home to stay unbeaten for the year. USC fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 7-2 loss to Pepperdine on Tuesday.
The Trojans travel to North Carolina for a three-game series against the Tar Heels March 2-4. Friday and Sunday's games can be seen on ESPN 3. USC returns to host Cal state Fullerton at Deadeaux Field on Tuesday March 6 at 6 p.m.
The home games will be broadcast through a live video webcast on usctrojans.com.
North Carolina Notes -- In 2011, North Carolina finished with an overall record of 51-16 and went 20-10 in the ACC. The Tar Heels (6-1) have won their last five games after taking 2-of-3 from Xavier to open the season. They swept Wright State, out scoring their opponent 34-3 in the series. North Carolina, widely ranked in the top-10 teams in the nation, return 18 letterwinners from a 2011 team that finished tied for 5th place at the College World Series. Led by head coach Mike Fox (1,1129-387-5) in 28 years as a head coach, (589-246-1) in 13 years at North Carolina. USC holds a 7-1 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams with the Tar Heels winning last years meeting at Dedeaux Field 11-7.
Cal State Fullerton Notes -- The Titans return 16 letterwinners from last seasons team that finished 41-7 overall and first in the Big West with a 19-5 record. Head coach Rick Vanderhook is in his first season as skipper leads a talented squad. Key returners; INF Derek Legg and RHP Grahamm West will be relied upon heavily. In the all-time series, the Titans hold a 44-37-1 advantage over USC.
TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with video webcasts for every home game, courtesy of Trojans All-Access. All road games will feature a live audio broadcast.
Fans should note that video webcasts will no longer be archived.
TROJANS PICKED EIGHTH IN PAC-12 -- USC was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 Conference, according to the preseason coaches' poll. The Trojans were slotted behind Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon State, California and Oregon and ahead of Washington State, Washington and Utah.
RISING FAST -- USC is ranked No. 21 in the current Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 100 players had made it to the major leagues.
NO EASY WAY OUT -- According to Boyd's World, USC is beginning the 2012 season with the No. 2 toughest schedule in the nation and face seven teams ranked in the preseason Top-25.
TAKING ANOTHER CRUZ -- In August 2010, new USC athletic director Pat Haden installed Frank Cruz as interim head coach for the 2011 season. Cruz is in his second tour of duty at USC after 12 seasons as head coach at Loyola Marymount (1997-2008) and his seventh overall year at USC. Cruz served as assistant coach at USC from 1993-96 under former head coach Mike Gillespie and was a volunteer assistant coach for USC in 2009 and 2010. He was an assistant coach for Team USA in 2000 and served as head coach in 2004, guiding the squad to the program's first-ever gold medal at the FISU World University Championships in Taiwan.
HUBBS JOINS THE CLUB -- Former USC All-American pitcher Dan Hubbs, who was the pitching coach at California the past 12 years, was named the Trojans' pitching coach and associate head coach last July. In his 12-year (2000-11) tenure at Cal, the 40-year-old Hubbs regularly produced team ERAs among the lowest in the Pac-10. Three times, his pitching staff set a school record for season strikeouts, including 475 in 2011 when the Golden Bears--a program that was slated to be discontinued after 2011 due to budget cuts but was saved through fundraising efforts--advanced to the College World Series for the first time since 1992. His 2011 staff was second in the Pac-10 with a 2.90 team ERA, posted 11 shutouts and at one point went 47 innings without allowing an earned run. Hubbs was a 3-year (1991-93) letterman at USC, including as a senior in 1993 when Cruz was in his first year as a USC assistant. He currently is fourth on the Trojans' career saves list (22) and eighth on the career strikeouts per inning chart (9.19). He posted a career record of 19-13 with a 3.58 ERA in 81 appearances (64 in relief).
BACK AT TROY -- Former USC shortstop Gabe Alvarez enters his second season as assistant coach for the Trojans. Alvarez played at USC as a shortstop from 1993-95 and had a career .338 batting average for the Trojans with 28 home runs and 163 RBI. In 1994, he was a first team All-America pick by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association after batting .326 with seven home runs and 51 RBI. He was a second-round selection in the 1995 major league baseball draft by the San Diego Padres and played three seasons in the major leagues (1998-2000).
MULTIPLE MUNSON'S -- Eric Munson (cousin of current Trojan pitcher Matt Munson), a former USC All-American catcher and third overall pick in the 1999 major league baseball draft returned to Troy as an undergraduate assistant coach last summer. Munson, who starred at USC from 1997 to 1999, helped the Trojans to their 12th national title in 1998. During that title run, he batted .476 in the College World Series and was named to the All-CWS team. On USC's career lists, he ranks third in home runs (44), fourth in slugging percentage (.655), sixth in batting average (.356), ninth in RBI (147), tied for ninth in walks (106), and tenth in total bases (364). Munson played for the USA National Team in both the summer of 1997 and 1998. He was also named The Sporting News National Freshman of the Year in 1997 and a first team All-American in 1999. A first round selection of the Detroit Tigers, Munson played five seasons with the organization, including stand-out campaigns in 2003 and 2004 in which he totaled 18 and 19 home runs, respectively. He went on to play for the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres before retiring in 2010.
BROWNIE POINTS -- Jason Brown, a former USC and professional baseball player joined the USC staff as an assistant coach last summer as part of an overhaul that brought an influx of former Trojan players back to Dedeaux Field. Brown saw action as a catcher, first baseman, designated hitter and outfielder at USC from 1994 to 1997, posting a career batting average of .311 with 14 home runs and 77 RBI. He earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors as a senior in 1997, while hitting .368 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI. In 1995, he was a part of the Trojan squad that made its first trip to the College World Series since 1978 as USC reached the national title game. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an undrafted free agent in 1997 and played in the Dodgers' system until 2000. Brown went on to play another eight seasons in the farm systems of the Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Montreal Expos and New York Yankees. Brown made the switch to coaching in 2009 as a varsity assistant coach at his alma mater, Palos Verdes High School. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach of the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League.
PULL THE TRIGGER -- Senior right-hander Andrew Triggs (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) is 1-0 this season after allowing only two runs on five hits with six strikeouts while holding Jacksonville hitters to a .237 average in the season opener on February 17.
He went 5-4 last season with a 3.67 ERA (90 2/3 IP, 72 SO, 28 BB) and earned Pac-10 Conference All-Academic first team honors for the third time. He struck out a career high 13 batters on April 21 vs. Washington State.
In 2010, he went 2-7 last season with a 3.95 ERA (70 2/3 IP, 71 H, 31 ER, 21 BB, 62 SO, .257 OBA) and earned Pac-10 Conference honorable mention.
He was drafted in the 21st round of the 2011 Major League Draft by the San Francisco Giants but chose to return to school and pursue his MBA. He was also drafted in 2010 by the Cleveland Indians in the 24th round.
Triggs threw seven scoreless innings, giving up just three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in the win on April 30, 2010, against No. 19 Arizona.
He took the loss on March 28 at No. 19 Stanford, but allowed only three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He gave up just two runs (one earned) on five hits with a career-high nine strikeouts on March 5 against New Mexico. He allowed four runs in seven innings with a walk and seven strikeouts in a 9-4 win on Feb. 19 at Cal Poly, the season opener for both teams.
Triggs earned Pac-10 Conference honorable mention recognition as a freshman, going 5-3 with a 3.96 ERA (75.0 IP, 79 H, 33 ER, 20 BB, 50 SO, .276 OBA).
He earned the win on April 18, 2009, at No. 14 Oregon State, allowing just two runs in eight innings. On March 22 against UCLA in his second start, he threw seven scoreless innings against the Bruins, allowing just three hits with seven strikeouts for the win. He celebrated his 20th birthday on March 16 with his first collegiate win in his first start against Winthrop (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER). He threw six strong innings in relief on March 7 at Tulane, allowing two runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Triggs had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow prior to his senior season of high school, but bounced back after two years on the sidelines.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBER -- Senior right-hander Ben Mount (Coto de Caza/Tesoro HS) went steps into the Saturday starter role in 2012 for the Trojans after Coming off a tremendous summer campaign with the Holyoke Blue Sox of the New England Collegiate League. Mount received the Robin Roberts Award, given to the league's top starting pitcher. Mount went 6-1 with a 1.14 ERA in nine appearances for the Blue Sox, including a complete-game playoff victory over Vermont. In 51 1/3 innings, he allowed 36 hits with 16 walks and an impressive 56 strikeouts.
In his first start of the season Mount (0-0) allowed only one run on three hits and struck out five in six innings while holding Jacksonville hitters to a .150 average.
Last season as a junior, Mount posted a 1-2 record with a 5.15 ERA and four saves, making four starts in 22 appearances for the Trojans. In 43 2/3 innings, he allowed 51 hits and 25 earned runs with 22 walks and 30 strikeouts.
DOUBLE THREAT - Senior co-captain Brandon Garcia (Las Vegas, Nev. /Bishop Gorman HS) is off to a blazing start in 2012 and a guiding force for the Trojans. As a designated hitter, Garcia is batting .429 (3-for-7) with two home runs and four RBI while slugging 1.286. He has also posted a .583 on-base percentage with three walks and scored three runs. He homered in back-to-back games February 18-19 in the opening series against Jacksonville.
As a pitcher, Garcia picked up the 4-3 win in his season debut against Long Beach State on February 21. He allowed only two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out four in 5.2 innings of work. He holds a 1.59 ERA after limiting Dirtbags' hitters to a .238 average.
TARPLEY TIME -- Freshman LHP Stephen Tarpley (Gilbert, AZ/Gilbert HS) enters the season as the Sunday starter after an impressive fall camp with the Trojans. He was selected in the 8th round of the 2011 Major League Draft by the Cleveland Indians and was rated as the No. 2 pitcher in the state of Arizona by Perfect Game USA. Tarpley is rated as the No. 37 college freshman in the nation by Baseball America.
Tarpley (0-0) impressed in his collegiate debut allowing only two runs and five hits while fanning nine in 5.2 innings on February 19 vs. Jacksonville.
STUBBS PUB -- Freshman Garrett Stubbs (Del Mar/Torrey Pines HS) is tied for the team lead hitting .438 (7-for-16) and riding a four-game hitting streak to start the season. Stubbs has started all four of the Trojans games this season playing center field, left field, third base and catcher. Along With Stephen Tarpley, he formed an all-freshman battery when he got the start behind the plate on February 19.
YOU SPIN ME ROUND -- Senior catcher Kevin Roundtree (Glendora/Glendora HS) is hitting .400 (6-for-15) with three RBI in four starts to begin the season. Roundtree has started three games behind the plate and mad one appearance at third base for the Trojans.
Last season, he made 53 starts in 55 games last season and batted .308 (64-for-208) with 11 RBI and tied for the team lead with 11 doubles while earning Pac-10 Conference honorable mention recognition.
In 2010, he made 47 starts in 50 games last season and batted .288 (46-for-160) with one home run and 23 RBI, earning 2010 Pac-10 Conference honorable mention recognition.
In 2009, Roundtree collected five hits in the final two games of the Pacific series (March 20-21). He hit his first collegiate home run on March 14 at Hawai'i and on March 12 in Honolulu, he went 3-for-3 at the plate with two stolen bases while throwing out two runners at second.
RESCUE ME -- Senior infielder Matt Foat (Rescue/Ponderosa HS/Sierra College) enters the 2012 season as the starter at first base after hitting .262 with one home run and 26 RBI last season.
Foat is tied for the team lead hitting .438 (7-for-16) with five runs and three RBI to start the 2012 campaign. He is slugging .563 with an on-base percentage of .526. He had a tem high three hits in the Trojans 4-3 win over Long Beach State on February 21.
In 2010, he earned 2010 Pac-10 Conference honorable mention after batting .275 (50-for-182) with five home runs and 33 RBI.
Foat recorded five RBI on March 21 in a 15-9 win at Pacific, including his fourth homer of the season. He went 8-for-17 (.471) in the four-game series at Hawai'i (March 12-15) with five doubles, one triple, one home runs and six RBI. His key game was March 13 in a 3-1 win, knocking in two runs thanks to a double and triple.
He started his Trojan career in style last season with a 4-for-5 and four RBI night in the season opener on Feb. 19 at Cal Poly. He hit .462 (6-for-13) for the weekend with five RBI.
He earned 2009 All Big-8 Conference first team honors at Sierra College after batting .395 (70-for-177) with 18 doubles, six home runs, 36 RBI and nine stolen bases.
SPARE THE ROD -- Senior outfielder/pitcher Alex Sherrod (Marrieta, Ga./Walton HS) hit .318 (55-for-173) with six home runs (2nd on the team) and 35 RBI (2nd on the team). He led the team with a .486 slugging percentage and tied for 1st with 11 doubles.
In 2011, he batted .315 (41-for-130) with six home runs and 28 RBI.
In 2010, Sherrod had a triple and home run on May 7 against Utah. He hit a home run in the final two games of the series against No. 19 Arizona (May 1-2). He had a career-high five RBI in a 13-8 win on March 26 at No. 19 Stanford, hitting a three-run homer in the third. He went 4-for-6 on March 21 at Pacific. On March 2 at Long Beach State, he hit a three-run homer to start a seven-run third inning during the Trojans' 10-5 win.
He started in 31 games during his 2009 freshman season for the Trojans in right field. He batted .296 (34-for-115) with 11 RBI.
He hit a two-run double in the ninth to help USC defeat No. 14 Oregon State on April 18 in Corvallis and set up a 9-2 double play in the bottom of the ninth on April 19 to send the game into extra innings.
MISTER ROBERTS -- Sophomore shortstop James Roberts (Cupertino/Archbishop Mitty HS) batted .274 (49-for-179) with one home run and 16 RBI while starting all 56 games as a freshman.
He was selected to the 2010 Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game and was a member of the Archbishop Mitty High squad that won the 2010 mythical national championship by finishing first in the RivalsHigh Top 100 High School rankings. He was drafted in the 42nd round of the 2010 major league baseball draft by the San Francisco Giants.
ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SEA -- Junior infielder Adam Landecker (Calabasas/Calabasas HS) is coming off a tremendous defensive campaign in which made 45 starts last season and committed only 3 errors. He also hit .280 with 16 RBI and enters the season as the Trojans starting third baseman.
Aside from providing stellar defense, Landecker is hitting a .417 (5-for-12) with an on-base percentage of .563 to start the 2012 season.
In 2010, he made 43 starts last season, batting .265 (35-for-132) with one home run and 15 RBI to earn Pac-10 Conference honorable mention.
Landecker hit his first collegiate homer with a two-run shot to left over the "Blue Monster" on March 30, 2010, at Loyola Marymount. He went 0-for-1 in his collegiate debut on Feb. 21 at Cal Poly.
HOUTS IN THE HOUTFIELD -- Senior outfielder Garret Houts (Fort Collins, Colo./Fort Collins HS) enter the season as the starter in center field. Last season he made 39 appearances and batted .290.
In 2010, played in 43 games last season, batting .288 (23-for-80) with three home runs and nine RBI.
In 2009, Houts hit home runs in back-to-back games on May 21 and 22 at Washington State. He recorded two doubles in a 3-for-5 game on March 20 at Pacific with one RBI.
He made 19 starts in 33 games in 2009, batting .232 (13-for-56) with one home run and six RBI. Houts recorded his first collegiate home run last year on March 7 at Tulane in a 2-for-4 performance.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE -- The 2012 recruiting class for the USC baseball team was ranked No. 5 in the nation by Baseball America. The 2011 class came in at No. 16.
The incoming class includes: infielder Dante Flores (Norwalk/St. John Bosco HS), RHP/OF Nigel Nootbaar (El Segundo/El Segundo HS), catcher Garrett Stubbs (La Jolla/Torrey Pines HS) and LHP Steven Tarpley (Gilbert, Ariz./Gilbert HS).
DEDEAUX FIELD DEDICATIONS -- Prior to the start of the 2011 season, the scoreboard at Dedeaux Field was renamed the Mike Gillespie Scoreboard in honor of former USC player and head coach Mike Gillespie (now the head coach at UC Irvine).
Gillespie, who was a player on USC's 1961 national championship, spent 20 seasons as USC's head coach (1987-2006). He led USC as head coach to the 1998 national championship, as well as four trips to the College World Series during his tenure.
The batting cages were renamed for the Boone Family, in honor of the Boone family that included former USC players Aaron and Bret Boone. The Boone family became the first family in baseball history to send three generations to the major league All-Star Game (grandfather, Ray, and father, Bob). Bret Boone played at USC from 1988-90 while his brother Aaron played at USC from 1992-94. Both played in the 2003 All-Star Game as a total of five former Trojans (Geoff Jenkins, Barry Zito and Mark Prior) participated in the game.
OPERATION: OMAHA -- From 1948 to 1978, USC dominated the world of college baseball with 11 national championships in 17 appearances at the College World Series (the 1948 CWS was held in Kalamazoo, Mich., with the CWS moving to Omaha, Neb., in 1949). After the 1978 season, the Trojans went through a drought and did not return to Omaha until 1995, when Troy reached the national championship game. Since 1995, the Trojans have made four trips to Omaha (1995-1998-2000-2001), winning their 12th CWS title in 1998. USC has the second-most wins (74) at the CWS and is tied for third for most appearances (21).
TROJAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME -- On Feb. 1, 2003, the USC Baseball Hall of Fame opened to the public for the first time. The Hall of Fame was the final part of a $4 million Dedeaux Field renovation project that included a new locker room, seating pavilion on the first base side and stadium seating. All 12 national championship trophies are permanently displayed as well as the awards won by former Trojan pitcher Mark Prior during his 2001 national player of the year season. Prior made a sizable donation to help complete the project. The major league uniforms of former Trojans are also on display.
THE "OTHER" HALLS OF FAME -- Former USC pitcher Tom Seaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 with a 98.8% vote, which remains the highest percentage ever for an inducted member. In the summer of 2006, legendary coach Rod Dedeaux (who passed away on January 5, 2006) was a member of the inaugural class for the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Texas. Another USC addition was made in 2007 when former outfielder Fred Lynn is inducted. He appeared on three consecutive USC national championship squads (1971, 1972 and 1973) and had a career .320 average with 28 home runs and 111 RBI. He also earned 1971 All-College World Series honors for the Trojans.