Trojans Return to Dedeaux Field to Host Houston, Pepperdine and No. 13 UCLA
March 6, 2014
Upcoming Games Schedule
LOS ANGELES - The Trojans head back to Dedeaux Field this weekend, hosting three different contests against three different opponents.
The Trojans enter the weekend having dropped their midweek contest to UC Irvine, 6-4. The Trojans took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first after a two-run home run by freshman catcher Jeremy Martinez. The home run was the first of his career. The Trojans added two more runs on RBIs from the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week Kevin Swick and sophomore shortstop Blake Lacey. However, the Trojan pitching staff gave up five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, as three walks to load the bases ended up coming back to haunt the Trojans, as all three of those runners came home to score, proving to be the difference in the game.
Last weekend the Trojans split a double header with Cal Poly. They won the second game in dominating fashion, tallying 16 runs on 16 hits in a 16-0 victory. Jake Hernandez was 4-for-5 on the day to lead the Trojans. Senior left-handed starter Bob Wheatleyhad a career outing, getting the victory as he went seven complete innings, only allowing two hits (no runs), while striking out a career-high 10 strikeouts.
HOUSTON NOTES-- Houston comes to Dedeaux Field with a 9-2 record overall. They are 1-0 on the road so far on the season. The Cougars boast an impressive 0.73 team ERA. Aaron Garza is slated to start against the Trojans. He is 3-0 on the season with a 0.41 ERA. At the plate they are batting .267 as a team, led by Frankie Ratcliff who is batting. 364 with seven RBI to lead the team.
The Trojans are 5-4 all-time vs. Houston. The last time the teams met was in 2002, where the Trojans fell 9-4 at Dedeaux Field. In 2001 the teams played a three-game set with the Trojans sweeping the series. Likewise, in 2000, the Trojans were swept at home by the Cougars.
PEPPERDINE NOTES -- The Waves are 9-3 entering the weekend. They are led at the plate by freshman Aaron Barnett who is batting. 462 with 10 RBI. Junior Aaron Brown leads the team with 13 RBI. Overall the Waves have four batters hitting over. 300 and as team are batting an impressive .289. On the mound the team has a 2.45 team ERA. The Trojans are slated to face Jackson McClelland, who is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA. Senior Eric Karch leads the team with two saves.
The Trojans lead the all-time series with Pepperdine, 89-42-1. Last season the Trojans dropped both contests to the Waves. At Dedeaux Field last year the Trojans fell 9-4. Over the last eight games the Trojans are 5-3 vs. the Waves.
UCLA NOTES -- The Bruins are 7-5 heading into the weekend. They fell on Tuesday at LMU 6-1, but had a big weekend, getting three wins are the Notre Dame Classic in North Carolina, defeating Notre Dame, NC State and Michigan. The Bruin pitching staff looks to be finding their groove, as Cody Poteet, slated to start against the Trojans is the reigning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after throwing a complete-game two hitter, with 13 strikeouts and no walks vs. Michigan. At the plate, Shane Zeile leads the Bruins with a batting average of .359. Trent Chatterton leads in the RBI category with eight. As a team they are hitting .238.
Sunday will be the first look the Trojans have at the reigning national champions, who took all four games last season. Overall the Trojans still lead in all-time matchups, 253-129. The Trojans are looking to snap a seven-game losing streak to the Bruins that stems back to 2012. The last USC win over the Bruins came in 2011, when the Trojans salvaged the series, winning 6-2 in the final game of the three-game set at home. The Trojans are 1-9 in the last 10 contests versus their crosstown rivals.
PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- USC senior third baseman Kevin Swickwas named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 24-March 2 as he went 7-for-12 at the plate over three games. The honor is the first of Swick's career and USC's 56th all-time conference Player of the Week selection. Swick played a big role for the Trojans in their split of a two-game series vs. No. 13 Cal Poly. In the second half of the double header on Sunday, the senior went 3-for-4 with two doubles. He had a hand in six of the Trojans 16 runs; scoring three runs himself while driving in three more. He also drew a walk on the night. In the first half of the double header vs. Cal Poly and on Tuesday at Long Beach State, Swick was 4-for-8 overall, going 2-for-4 in each game. In the Tuesday game, Swick had two of the Trojans five hits in a close 2-1 loss.
RAKING IN THE ACCOLADES -- Junior catcher Garrett Stubbs was named a Preseason All-Pac-12 first team selection by College Sports Madness and was recently named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List. The junior led the conference in runners caught attempting to steal in 2013. Freshman phenom Jeremy Martinezwas also named Pac-12 Preseason Freshman of the Year by the publication.
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.
TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with video webcasts for majority of home games. The link is: http://pac-12.com/videos/university-southern-california. For road games you can hear a live radio broadcast on usctrojans.com.
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.
SEASON OUTLOOK -- This season's tight-knit squad may seem young with 23 freshman and sophomores, but with 15 of those student-athletes gaining significant playing time on the diamond as freshmen in 2013, second-year head coach Dan Hubbsis looking for the Trojans to use that experience to propel the program back to winning ways in 2014. The Trojans return all but 25 innings on the mound from last season, and that experience will be key to the team's success.
This spring expect a lot of familiar faces out on the diamond for the Trojans as they are expected to be a lot stronger because of their experience. In 2013, the Trojans lost 12 games by one or two runs and were in countless other games where the scored was either tied or a one-run game in the seventh that they eventually lost. One reason for this was the Trojans entered the season with only about 120 innings of collegiate experience on the mound. This spring it's a different story, as the Trojans return closer to 600 innings of college pitching experience.
IN THE PAC-12 -- By a vote of the Pac-12 coaches, the Trojans are picked to finish ninth in the conference. The Trojans were picked to finish higher than Washington and Utah. Oregon State was picked to win the Pac-12, followed by Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, California and Washington State.
CLASS BY CLASS PROSPECTS -- Sophomore lefty Kyle Twomey was named the No. 16 prospect in the sophomore class by Baseball America. Perfect Game USA selected Twomey as the No. 31 player in the sophomore class. Jeremy Martinez the No. 35 player in the freshman class nationally by Perfect Game USA. In the junior class, Wyatt Strahan was ranked No. 44 in the junior class, Nigel Nootbaarwas ranked 86th.
YOUTH MOVEMENT -- The Trojans have 23 freshmen and sophomores on the roster this season. The sophomores, although only in their second year of college ball, logged significant minutes as true freshmen that should pay off for Troy this year. The freshmen standouts include catcher/designated hitter Jeremy Martinez, infielder Frankie Rios and two-way athlete Jeff Paschke. Martinez is slated to start as the team's designated hitter and will see time behind the plate. Rios will be the Trojans starting shortstop as Blake Laceyrehabs his back injury. Paschke is an athletic righty with some pop in his bat, but is also strong off the mound, where he may see playing time first.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 108 players had made it to the major leagues. Current major leaguers include pitchers Ryan Cook and Tommy Milone (Oakland A's); 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); Nick Buss (Los Angeles Dodgers). BRINGING HIS SKILLS BACK -- Former USC shortstop Gabe Alvarezenters his fourth 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--Dan Hubbs has also brought in a very capable assistant coach in 2014, Matt Curtis, who formerly was the head coach at Cal State Northridge. He will run the offense for the Trojans and brings a load of experience, both as a player and a coach. Another newcomer on the coaching front is volunteer assistant Vinny Lopez, who brings coaching experience from the professional ranks.
BROTHERLY LOVE -- The Trojans boast two sets of brothers on their roster, with the Aguirre brothers, senior J.R. Aguirre (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Palos Verdes HS) and sophomore Carl Aguirre (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Palos Verdes HS) and the Wheatley brothers senior Bob Wheatley (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) and sophomore Brent Wheatley(Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS). Both Aguirre brothers favor play in the outfield, although Carl is a versatile utility player, while the Wheatleys prefer the mound. Bob is a lefty, however, while Brent is a righty.
MAKING THE GRADES -- Academics is highly important at USC, and senior third baseman Kevin Swick (La Canda, Calif./Loyola HS), who boasts a 3.83 GPA as a business administration major was a third team Academic All-American, along with being an All-Academic Pac-12 selection. Interested in finance, Swick held an internship in Alaska while he played summer ball for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in 2012 and this past summer he held an internship with Fidelity Investments in Boston.