Trojans Head Back Out on Road, Visit Washington State for Big Pac-12 Series
April 30, 2014
LOS ANGELES - The Trojans saw their nine-game winning streak, the longest in program history since 2001 snapped on Tuesday in a 6-2 loss vs. UC Irvine, but the team is looking to regroup as the head out to Washington State for a big Pac-12 series starting on Friday, May 2.
The Trojans are currently tied for third in the Pac-12 standings with Arizona and are 3.5 games behind second-place Oregon State and four games behind conference leader Washington. The Trojans are looking for their first postseason berth since 2005.
On Tuesday, the Trojans fell 6-2 to visiting UC Irvine. The Trojans did not look like themselves from the get go, as costly errors and miscues hurt the team, especially in the costly four-run Anteater seventh inning. Jake Hernandez, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 at the plate, while Blake Lacey, made his first start in left field and went 3-for-4 with one RBI. The Trojans out hit the Anteaters, 10 to 9, but left nine runners on base.
The Trojans had a blowout 10-0 victory on Thursday, a close 3-2 win on Friday and an incredible seven-inning top of the ninth inning on Saturday to complete the sweep with a come-from-behind 7-4 victory. Jake Hernandez, the Trojans' first baseman earned his first-career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor after hitting .556 last week. He had a multi-hit day at the plate each day. He also was 7-for-13 against the rival Bruins.
Last week's Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week, Wyatt Strahan, continues to be solid on the mound for the Trojans, as he put up eight more zeroes in his start on Thursday. He held the Bruins to just five hits in eight innings and has now stretched his scoreless streak to 20 innings, stemming back to his start vs. Utah.
TOUGH TO K--Entering the week, Jake Hernandez is the toughest batter in the Pac-12 to strikeout. He strikes out just once every 18.3 at-bats.
IN THE RANKINGS-- The Trojans rank fourth in the Pac-12 in batters struck out (292), and are tied for second with 7 runners picked off, and lead the conference in innings pitched (397.0). Jake Hernandez ranks third in the conference with a .371 batting average, while Kevin Swick is eighth with 51 hits. Jeremy Martinez ranks 11th with a .412 on-base percentage. He is also tied for first with five sac flies.
Nationally, the Trojans are tied for fourth with UCLA with 61 sac bunts entering the week.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES-- The Cougars enter the weekend with a record or 18-22 and are 8-10 in Pac-12 contests. This weekend opens a six-game homestand for the Cougars. As a team they are batting .261 and are led at the plate by Yale Rosen, who is batting .340 with 24 RBI. Nick Tanielu also has 24 RBI with a .325 batting average. As a pitching staff they boast a team ERA of 4.19.
The Trojans lead the all-time series over the Cougars, 64-27 and have won 24 of 40 meeting in Pullman. The last time the Trojans visited Pullman in 2012, they dropped two out of three contests. Last season at Dedeaux Field, the Trojans attempted a comeback in the ninth inning of the Friday contest, but took the loss, before taking the series as they won on Saturday and Sunday. From 1971 to 1999 the Trojans won 19-straight series between the two teams. STARTERS -- Friday: RHP Wyatt Strahan Career Highs IP: 9.0 IP - last April 17, 2014 vs. Arizona Strikeouts: 11 - April 11, 2014 vs. Utah - Earned first-career Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honor last Monday after a complete-game shutout in last Thursday's 1-0 victory over Arizona. Strahan held the Wildcats to just five hits. He also earned College Sports Madness National Pitcher of the Week honors. - Currently has not allowed a run (earned or unearned) in 20 innings.
Saturday: RHP Brent Wheatley Career Highs IP: 6.1 IP - 2x, last April 18, 2014 vs. Arizona Strikeouts: 4, 2x, last April 25, 2014 at UCLA
Sunday: LHP Bob Wheatley Career Highs IP: 7.0, multiple times, last April 19 vs. Arizona Strikeouts: 10, March 2, 2014 vs. Cal Poly
BROTHER TO BROTHER -- After a national search, it appears that Bob and Brent Wheatley are just one of two weekend starters for a NCAA Division I team. The other pair of starter brothers are at Northwestern State in Louisiana. The Wheatley's father, Bob Wheatley, Sr., played basketball at USC, while their mother, Julie, was a Song Girl.
PAC-12 PITCHER OF THE WEEK -- Wyatt Strahan, was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week (April 14-20) after throwing his first complete-game shutout in a 1-0 victory against Arizona. He held the Wildcats, the top-hitting team in the Pac-12 entering the weekend to just five hits.
PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- USC senior third baseman Kevin Swick was 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 Martinez was 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.
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 Nootbaar was 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.
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 Alvarez enters 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).