USC Heads Out for First Road Contest at No. 25 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday|
Feb. 16, 2015
Tuesday, Feb. 17
LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans got off to a fast start, outscoring visiting Towson 35-7 in a three-game sweep of the Tigers. The Trojans have a busy week this week, traveling to Cal State Fullerton for their first road game of the season of Tuesday, before returning to Dedeaux Field to host Kentucky on Thursday night and then welcoming Oakland into town for a three-game weekend set.
CAL STATE FULLERTON NOTES-- The Titans enter Tuesday's matchup with a 1-3 record, after defeating Louisville on Sunday 6-4 for their first win of the season. As a team they are batting .175, with Chris Hudgins leading the way with a .375 batting average. The Trojans are 38-50-1 all-time against the Titans. In 2014, the Trojans and Titans split the series, with USC winning 6-1 at Dedeaux Field, before falling 17-3 the last time they played at Goodwin Field. The last time the Trojans won at Goodwin Field was in 2008 when they won 14-4. The Titans are ranked No. 25 in the D1baseball.com poll, while they are ranked No. 24 in NCBWA.
STEALING BASES - The Trojans stole 11 bases on Sunday vs. Towson, marking the second-most bases stolen in single game in Trojan history. The record is 12, set in 1995 vs. Arizona.
SEASON OUTLOOK - The team of 17 freshmen from two seasons ago has grown up, as this year's squad boasts 19 upperclassmen and returns seven starting position players and two starting pitchers. The 2015 squad is highlighted by senior catcher Garrett Stubbs, junior pitchers Kyle Davis and Kyle Twomey, and sophomore catcher/designated hitter Jeremy Martinez. Nine freshmen also join the fold this season, along with two impact junior college transfers in pitcher Tyler Gilbert and outfielder David Oppenheim.
The strength of this year's squad is pitching and defense, and both will be keys to success this season. Coach Hubbs is particularly excited about his staff, which he feels is the deepest one he's had in his four seasons at Troy.
The pitching staff is led by junior right-hander Kyle Davis, an All-Pac-12 selection in 2014. Davis was the team's closer in 2014, tallying nine saves in 56.1 innings of work, striking out 57 batters but also won his only start, which came against No. 1 Oregon State in the must-win final game of the season. He threw a complete game, allowing one unearned run on five hits, while striking out a career-high 14 batters. Twomey, a highly touted junior lefty who has both started and relieved during his career, will be another key piece. Last season he went 2-2 with a 3.11 ERA through 55.0 innings, striking out 50 batters in 19 appearances--four of them starts. Junior Brent Wheatley, the Trojans' Saturday starter for much of the 2014 season is also returning in 2015. He finished 4-3 through 18 appearances (14 starts). Sophomore right-hander Jeff Paschke also returns in 2015, after making 18 appearances as a true freshman, throwing 28 innings and striking out 22. Right-hander Brooks Kriske and lefty Marc Huberman, both juniors, also will see innings out of the bullpen.
The 2015 staff is also bolstered by a number of newcomers. Junior college transfer lefty Tyler Gilbert, freshman right-hander Mason Perryman and freshmen right-handers Mitch Hart, Brad Wegman and Bryce Dyrda. Hart was a highly-touted recruit and 35th round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants is likely to either start or close for the Trojans.
CHANGES --The Trojans will have to replace their top two hitters from 2014, but expected to lead the way is sophomore catcher/first baseman Jeremy Martinez who batted .297 as a freshman and tallied 29 RBI. Junior centerfielder Timmy Robinson is the leading returner in the RBI category with 30. He will be expected to pick up the office, along with junior third baseman Blake Lacey and senior infielder Dante Flores.
On the mound the Trojans must replace their 2014 ace Wyatt Strahan and fellow starter Bob Wheatley, but a trio of juniors, Kyle Davis, Brent Wheatley and Kyle Twomey are expected to pick up the slack. Fellow junior, transfer Tyler Gilbert is also a starter that is expected to have an immediate impact from the left side.
IN THE PAC-12 -- The Trojans were picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12, an improvement from last season when they were selected ninth. They finished the 2014 campaign tied for fifth. UCLA is picked as the favorite, followed by Oregon, Arizona State, Stanford and Oregon State.
IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD -- Follow the Trojan baseball all year long on twitter, with the baseball specific twitter handle, USC_Baseball. The Trojans are also on Instagram, with the handle SCTrojans_Baseball.
BALLPARK FUN -- For all Friday games, there will be free hot dogs for all USC students. On Sundays this season, there will be an autograph session available to all fans, starting 15 minutes after the game has been completed. Tuesday games will also be Taco Tuesdays.
TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with video webcasts for majority of home games. For road games you can hear a live radio broadcast on usctrojans.com.
RAKING IN THE ACCOLADES -- Junior catcher Garrett Stubbs was named a Preseason All-Pac-12 first team selection by College Sports Madness. The junior led the conference in runners caught attempting to steal in 2013. Freshman phenom Jeremy Martinez was also named Pac-12 Preseason Freshman of the Year by the publication.
CLASS BY CLASS PROSPECTS -- Senior infielder Dante Flores was named the No. 44 senior in all of college baseball by Perfect Game USA. Likewise, junior left-handed pitcher Kyle Twomey was named the No. 55 junior and sophomore catcher/first baseman Jeremy Martinez was named the No. 28 sophomore. Finally, freshman right-handed pitcher Mitch Hart was named No. 9 in the freshman class nationally.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 109 players had made it to the major leagues. Current major leaguers include Ryan Cook (Oakland A's); Tommy Milone (Minnesota Twins); Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays); Grant Green (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim); Lucas Duda (New York Mets); Ian Kennedy (San Diego Padres); JP Howell (Los Angeles Dodgers); Chad Smith (Detroit Tigers).
BRINGING HIS SKILLS BACK -- Former USC shortstop Gabe Alvarez enters his fifth 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).
COACHING THE TROOPS-- Volunteer head coach Chris Duffy comes to Troy from his alma mater South Mountain Community College, where he was an assistant coach for the past two seasons, assisting with the outfielders, hitters and base-running, while coaching first base and recruiting. He helped coach the team to the Division I Region Championship series for two-straight seasons, including winning the region in 2014. During his two years as a coach he had five outfielders receive NCAA Division I baseball scholarships. He was also an instrumental part of ensuring the success of the student-athletes in the classroom by monitoring academic progress and acting as a student-athlete success coach. Duffy played 10 years of professional baseball, including four seasons as a major league outfielder after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth round of the 2001 MLB First Year Player's Draft. After having success as an all-star at virtually every level of the minor leagues, he was rated the best outfielder by Baseball America in 2004.
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).
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME -- Legendary USC pitcher Randy Johnson became the third Trojan to be named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is just the second Trojan to enter the Hall as a player, following in the footsteps of Tom Seaver, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 with a 98.8 percent vote, which remains the highest percentage ever for an inducted member. Pat Gillick entered the Hall of Fame in 2011 as a front office executive with the Philadelphia Phillies.
THE "OTHER" HALLS OF FAME --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.