Trojans Visit No. 6 Oregon For Weekend Set, Return To WSU For Make-up Game With Cougars.
May 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team (22-21 overall, 7-13 Pac-12) heads to the northwest this week to face No. 6 Oregon for a three-game series in Eugene before retuning to Pullman, Wash. to make up the April 1 contest with the Cougars that was rained out.
Sophomore James Roberts and his 21-game hitting streak lead the Trojans offense into a tough week of make-or-break baseball which will have USC play four games in four days against two potent lineups.
All games will feature Gametracker live stats.
OREGON NOTES -- The No. 9 Ducks (34-14, 16-8 Pac-12) sit atop the conference and were named CollegeBaseballInsider.com's Team of the Week after going 4-1 on the road last week and claiming a series win at then-No. 11 Arizona. The Ducks nabbed a pair of one-run wins in a midweek series at Gonzaga (3-2 on Tuesday, 8-7 on Wednesday), and then won two out of three in Tucson (6-1 on Friday, 6-12 on Saturday, 3-1 on Sunday). Oregon sophomore Aaron Payne received his second-straight Pac-12 Player of the Week honor for his contributions in those five games: He went .353 (6-for-17) with six RBI (five of which were in two-out situations), two runs, two stolen bases and a .476 on-base percentage. Payne also earned a spot on College Baseball 360's Primetime Performers Honor Roll. USC holds the all-time series advantage against Oregon by a 22-5 margin dating back to 1955. Last season the Trojans took 2-of-3 from the Ducks at Dedeaux Field.
LAST WEEK-- USC was swept at home by Washington losing 7-0, 6-3, 5-0 in a series where the Trojans gave up 43 hits and 18 runs while only putting up 13 hits and three runs of their own. James Roberts hit safely in each game to extend his hitting-streak to 21 games.
PACK POINTS -- USC's pitching staff has allowed only 139 earned runs this season, to lead the Pac-12. The Trojans rank sixth in opponent batting average at .257. The 3.27 staff ERA is third in the conference. The teams 260 strikeouts ranks sixth in the Pac-12. Freshman Stephen Tarpley is one of only three pitchers in the conference not to have allowed a home run this season. Tarpley also ranks fourth in runs allowed with 22 and ninth in opponent batting average at .225. Senior Andrew Triggs is fifth with 70 strikeouts while Tarpley tied for tenth with 56. Senior first baseman Matt Foat's .441 on base percentage is eighth in the conference.
TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with video webcasts for every home game, courtesy of Trojans All-Access. All road games will feature a live audio broadcast.
Fans should note that video webcasts will no longer be archived.
TROJANS PICKED EIGHTH IN PAC-12 -- USC was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 Conference, according to the preseason coaches' poll. The Trojans were slotted behind Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon State, California and Oregon and ahead of Washington State, Washington and Utah.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 100 players have made it to the major leagues.
NO EASY WAY OUT -- According to Boyd's World, USC is beginning the 2012 season with the No. 2 toughest schedule in the nation and face seven teams ranked in the preseason Top-25.
TAKING ANOTHER CRUZ -- In August 2010, new USC athletic director Pat Haden installed Frank Cruz as interim head coach for the 2011 season. After making an immediate impact on the program, he was named head coach on a full-time basis late in the season. Cruz is in his second tour of duty at USC after 12 seasons as head coach at Loyola Marymount (1997-2008) and his seventh overall year at USC. Cruz served as assistant coach at USC from 1993-96 under former head coach Mike Gillespie and was a volunteer assistant coach for USC in 2009 and 2010. He was an assistant coach for Team USA in 2000 and served as head coach in 2004, guiding the squad to the program's first-ever gold medal at the FISU World University Championships in Taiwan.
HUBBS JOINS THE CLUB -- Former USC All-American pitcher Dan Hubbs, who was the pitching coach at California the past 12 years, was named the Trojans' pitching coach and associate head coach last July. In his 12-year (2000-11) tenure at Cal, the 40-year-old Hubbs regularly produced team ERAs among the lowest in the Pac-10. Three times, his pitching staff set a school record for season strikeouts, including 475 in 2011 when the Golden Bears--a program that was slated to be discontinued after 2011 due to budget cuts but was saved through fundraising efforts--advanced to the College World Series for the first time since 1992. His 2011 staff was second in the Pac-10 with a 2.90 team ERA, posted 11 shutouts and at one point went 47 innings without allowing an earned run. Hubbs was a 3-year (1991-93) letterman at USC, including as a senior in 1993 when Cruz was in his first year as a USC assistant. He currently is fourth on the Trojans' career saves list (22) and eighth on the career strikeouts per inning chart (9.19). He posted a career record of 19-13 with a 3.58 ERA in 81 appearances (64 in relief).
BACK AT TROY -- Former USC shortstop Gabe Alvarez enters his second 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).
MULTIPLE MUNSON'S -- Eric Munson (cousin of current Trojan pitcher Matt Munson), a former USC All-American catcher and third overall pick in the 1999 major league baseball draft returned to Troy as an undergraduate assistant coach last summer. Munson, who starred at USC from 1997 to 1999, helped the Trojans to their 12th national title in 1998. During that title run, he batted .476 in the College World Series and was named to the All-CWS team. On USC's career lists, he ranks third in home runs (44), fourth in slugging percentage (.655), sixth in batting average (.356), ninth in RBI (147), tied for ninth in walks (106), and tenth in total bases (364). Munson played for the USA National Team in both the summer of 1997 and 1998. He was also named The Sporting News National Freshman of the Year in 1997 and a first team All-American in 1999. A first round selection of the Detroit Tigers, Munson played five seasons with the organization, including stand-out campaigns in 2003 and 2004 in which he totaled 18 and 19 home runs, respectively. He went on to play for the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres before retiring in 2010.
BROWNIE POINTS -- Jason Brown, a former USC and professional baseball player joined the USC staff as an assistant coach last summer as part of an overhaul that brought an influx of former Trojan players back to Dedeaux Field. Brown saw action as a catcher, first baseman, designated hitter and outfielder at USC from 1994 to 1997, posting a career batting average of .311 with 14 home runs and 77 RBI. He earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors as a senior in 1997, while hitting .368 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI. In 1995, he was a part of the Trojan squad that made its first trip to the College World Series since 1978 as USC reached the national title game.
He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an undrafted free agent in 1997 and played in the Dodgers' system until 2000. Brown went on to play another eight seasons in the farm systems of the Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Montreal Expos and New York Yankees. Brown made the switch to coaching in 2009 as a varsity assistant coach at his alma mater, Palos Verdes High School. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach of the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE -- The 2012 recruiting class for the USC baseball team was ranked No. 5 in the nation by Baseball America. The 2011 class came in at No. 16.
The incoming class includes: infielder Dante Flores (Norwalk/St. John Bosco HS), RHP/OF Nigel Nootbaar (El Segundo/El Segundo HS), catcher Garrett Stubbs (La Jolla/Torrey Pines HS) and LHP Steven Tarpley (Gilbert, Ariz./Gilbert HS).
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).
TROJAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME -- On Feb. 1, 2003, the USC Baseball Hall of Fame opened to the public for the first time. The Hall of Fame was the final part of a $4 million Dedeaux Field renovation project that included a new locker room, seating pavilion on the first base side and stadium seating. All 12 national championship trophies are permanently displayed as well as the awards won by former Trojan pitcher Mark Prior during his 2001 national player of the year season. Prior made a sizable donation to help complete the project. The major league uniforms of former Trojans are also on display.
THE "OTHER" HALLS OF FAME -- Former USC pitcher Tom Seaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 with a 98.8% vote, which remains the highest percentage ever for an inducted member. 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.