Trojans Open Pac-12 Play at No. 12 Oregon
March 13, 2014
Upcoming Games Schedule
Friday, March 14
Friday, March 15
Sunday, March 16
LOS ANGELES - The Trojans open Pac-12 play this weekend as they travel to Eugene, Ore., to face No. 12 Oregon in a three-game set.
The Trojans got back into the win column after a four-game slide on Tuesday as they defeated visiting Loyola Marymount, 6-1. Sophomore righty Brent Wheatley took the win after throwing five solid innings where he allowed only one unearned run. The USC offense started back up, led by catcher Garrett Stubbs who went 3-for-4 on the day. Second baseman Dante Floresbroke open the game with a bases-clearing double in the Trojans four-run seventh inning to drive in three runs on his own.
After losing 6-4 at UC Irvine last Tuesday, the Trojans fell 6-1 to Houston, 10-4 to Pepperdine and 6-5 to crosstown rival UCLA. In three of those four games, the Trojans held leads by at least two runs, but they were unable to hold on, as they Trojan bullpen ended up giving up 15 runs over the four games. The Trojans also have to be more effective at the plate in driving in runs, as they left 27 men on base over last week's four games. Walks and errors have also come back to haunt the Trojans as of late.
OREGON NOTES-- The Ducks open Pac-12 play this weekend with a record of 12-4. They are 5-4 at home so far on the year. Last weekend they took two-of-three from visiting Ohio State, including a 20-4 pounding of the Buckeyes last Sunday. As a team they are batting .276 and are led by Tyler Baumgartner, who is batting .391 with 13 RBI. Mitchell Tolman leads the team with RBIs, as he has tallied 16. The Ducks pitching staff has been solid, boasting a 2.98 team ERA. All three weekend starters for the Ducks have ERAs below 3.00. Closer Jake Reed has three saves on the year. Common opponents so far on the year include Loyola Marymount and Cal State Fullerton. The Trojans defeated LMU 6-1 on Tuesday, and the Ducks swept the Lions in a three-game set on the road in late February. Likewise, the Ducks were swept at home by Cal State Fullerton, a team the Trojans defeated on a midweek Tuesday game on Feb. 18, 6-1.
The Trojans are 23-10 all-time against the Ducks, with their first meeting coming in 1955. Last season at Dedeaux Field the Ducks took the first two games of the series, before the Trojans salvaged the final game on Sunday to avoid the sweep. In 2012 the Trojans were swept at PK Park, losing 4-3, 4-2 and 4-3. In 2010 the Trojans took the Saturday game in 10 innings, but dropped the Friday and Sunday games.
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.
HOT HITTING -- Kevin Swick has continued his hot hitting, going 9-for-17 last week (.529). Jake Hernandezentered the week leading the Pac-12 with a batting average of .435 and ranks 35th nationally, went 5-for-14 last week at the plate.
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.
SLICK FIELDING -- Entering the week, the Trojans fielding percentage of .986 ranks second in the nation and is just 0.001 behind the leader, Cal State Northridge.
NOT AFRAID TO SACRIFICE - Entering the week th Trojans ranked first in the Pac-12 and are fourth in the nation with 23 sacrifice bunts.
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.