Highlights of the 2013 Baseball Season So Far Include Seven Hitters Batting .300 or Better
April 23, 2013
LOS ANGELES -So far in 2013, the USC baseball team has rewritten parts of the Trojan record book and put up impressive numbers, both at the plate and on the mound. With just 17 games left in the regular season, the Trojans sit at 16-23, with an 8-10 record in Pac-12 play. With four Pac-12 series left to play, the Trojans have already matched their Pac-12 win total of 2012. Under the direction of first year head coach Dan Hubbs, the Trojans have put on the diamond arguably the youngest team in program history, boasting 17 freshmen on a roster of 34, and it is commonplace to see four to five freshmen in the lineup, with youth on the mound on any given day. Listed below are some of the highlights' of the Trojans by the numbers through this past weekend's series at Utah.
- So far this season under guidance of head coach Dan Hubbs and the specialized training of hitting coach Gabe Alvarez, a former Trojan great and major leaguer, the Trojans have an impressive seven everyday starters batting over .300 - Sophomore infielder Dante Flores (.356), freshman infielder Blake Lacey (.349), senior infielder Adam Landecker (.333), junior infielder James Roberts (.327), redshirt freshman outfielder/designated hitter Bobby Stahel (.321), redshirt senior outfielder Greg Zebrack (.312) and junior infielder Kevin Swick (.306). Of those seven student-athletes, only Flores, Landecker, Swick and Roberts were regular contributors in 2012. Lacey and Stahel were untested coming into the season as freshmen, and Zebrack entered as a redshirt senior transfer from UPenn. The 2002 season was the last time the Trojans ended with at least seven regular contributors batting over .300, and that team won the Pac-10 title and advanced to NCAA Super Regional play. In 2006 and again in 2007, the Trojans finished with six regular contributors batting at least .300.
- When looking at the six freshman Trojan hitters with the most at bats - Blake Lacey, Bobby Stahel, Conner Sullivan, AJ Ramirez, Timmy Robinson, and Vahn Bozoian, they are a combined 140-for-502 with a batting average .280. No other Pac-12 school has given more freshmen at bats than USC, with the next-closest being Washington State with 400 freshmen at bats.
- Trojan freshmen have combined for 141 hits, with the next closest Pac-12 team being Washington State with 123 hits. USC's five freshmen home runs rank the highest of any Pac-12 or local program. Entering last week, the only program the Trojans have faced with a higher freshmen batting average is Oregon with a .282 average for three freshmen. Currently, Cal State Fullerton also has their four freshmen batting .284.
- This past weekend at Utah, the Trojans combined for Pac-12 season -high 22 hits in a 15-10, 10-inning victory. The last time the Trojans had more than 22 hits in a game came on April 11, 2008 vs. California, when the Trojans had 23 hits for 17 runs. In 2012 and 2010 the Trojans had games where they collected 21 hits for 15 runs, respectively. In the game Dante Flores and Adam Landecker each had seven at bats, more than any other conference player has had in a game this year.
- Freshman Timmy Robinson extended his hit streak to 12 this week as the Trojans went 3-1, and for his stellar performance, he was named USC's Men's Athlete of the Week. The freshman went 6-for-17, batting .353 with one double and one triple. His biggest game of the week came at the most important time, in Sunday's 15-10 extra inning victory over Utah to win the series. Robinson went an impressive 3-for-6, scoring two runs and driving in five runs, including a single in the 10th inning with the bases loaded to drive in two eventual game-winning runs. He also scored the Trojans' 14th run of the game in the 10th on a Bobby Stahel double.
- In the sixth inning of a 5-2 victory over Loyola Marymount last week, Jake Hernandez and Vahn Bozoian hit back-to-back home runs for the first time since 2010, when current minor leaguers Ricky Oropesa and Matt Foat hit back-to-back jacks in a victory over Pacific.
- The Trojans boast a young pitching staff, which features six true freshmen and two sophomores. Under the guidance of head coach Dan Hubbs, with 13 years of experience as a pitching coach, and assistant coach Randy Flores, a former major league left-handed pitcher, the Trojans have made great strides over the last few weeks. In the last 85 innings of work, the Trojan staff has walked 36, for an average of 3.81 BB/9 innings. Through the previous 53 innings, the Trojans had walked 33 for a 5.60 BB/9 innings average.
- Junior lefty Bob Wheatley's overall ERA of 1.51 currently is the 34th lowest in NCAA Division I baseball.
- Junior transfer Sean Silva and freshman Brent Wheatley combined for the first Trojan one-hitter since four pitchers combined to complete the feat vs. Cal Lutheran in 1996. Silva went six complete innings of one-hit ball, while Wheatley did not allow a hit in the final three innings as the Trojans won, 5-0. For his efforts, Silva became the first Trojan to win Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week Honors since 2011.
- In the conference stats, the Trojans rank towards the top of many overall categories, including being ranked fourth in hits (379, just 21 shy of the leader at 390), second in doubles (71), fourth in team batting average (.285) and third in sac flies (16). In the field the Trojans have thrown out 19 would-be base stealers, good for third-best in the Pac-12. Individually catcher Garrett Stubbs ranks fourth, having thrown out 10 base stealers.
- In conference play, the Trojans lead all teams with 177 hits and are tied for second with a .288 batting average. They also lead the conference with nine sacrifice flies. The team ranks fourth with 85 runs scored and fifth with 75 runs batted in. Individually Roberts is fourth with a .377 batting average in conference play, while Landecker ranks seventh (.359). Roberts is tied for the conference lead with 26 hits in Pac-12 play, while Greg Zebrack is second in runs scored (17). On the mound in conference play, Bob Wheatley ranks fifth with a 1.57 ERA and Wyatt Strahan is sixth in innings pitched with 38.2 to-date. Kyle Davis is tied for sixth with three conference wins.