No. 15 USC Travels to No. 22 California for a Big Series With Pac-12 Title Implications|
May 14, 2015
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 15 Trojans (34-16, 15-9 Pac-12) have a huge Pac-12 series at No. 22 California (31-16, 15-9 Pac-12) that starts on Saturday, May 16 at 3 p.m. PT. All three games will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. The Trojans and Bears are tied for second in the Pac-12, along with Arizona State. All three teams are three games back of the conference leader UCLA, who sits at 18-6.
The Trojans did not have a midweek contest this week and took two of three from Stanford last weekend to win their sixth Pac-12 series of the year, despite only scoing five total runs all weekend. The Trojan pitching staff was outstanding, holding the Cardinal scoreless in 26 of 27 innings. Kyle Davis, who hadn't thrown more than 4.1 innings in an outing all year, threw a complete-game shutout in just his second start of the season and just his fourth of his career. He struck out a season-high 10 batters in the 1-0 victory. Mitch Hart threw his second shutout of the year, leading the Trojans to a 2-0 victory in the rubber match on Sunday. All three Trojan starters, Davis, Hart and Kyle Twomey threw a combined 24 scoreless innings.
JOHNNY BENCH AWARD SEMIFINALIST - Garrett Stubbs was named one of 20 semifinalists for the prestigious Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation's top collegiate catcher. Stubbs has thrown out 20-of-41 would-be basestealers this season, good for top five nationally. At the plate he is second on the team with a .340 batting average and also ranks second with 12 doubles. He has driven in 22 runs and ranks third in the Pac-12 with 18 stolen bases (18-of-25). He is the first Trojan catcher to be named a semifinalists since Jeff Clement won the award in 2005.
HOME RUN HITTERS - The new baseballs have definitely helped the Trojans, as they have blasted 28 home runs, the most since 2011 (the most in the BBCOR bat era). AJ Ramirez has eight home runs himself, the most by one Trojan since 2010 when Ricky Oropesa had 20 home runs with the old bats.
GOLDEN SPIKES - Bobby Stahel and Garrett Stubbs were added to the 60-player midseason watch list for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur baseball athlete in the nation by USA Baseball. The honor is the first of each's career and they are the first Trojans since Ricky Oropesa was named to the preseason watch list in 2011. Catcher Jeff Clement was named a finalist for the award in 2005 and Mark Prior won it in 2001.
DODGER STADIUM COLLEGE BASEBALL CLASSIC- It does not appear like any team has ever defeated three different top-10 ranked opponents on consecutive days like the Trojans took care of business against No. 7 TCU, No. 1 Vanderbilt and No. 6 UCLA in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic.
RANKINGS - The Trojans are ranked No. 16 in the NCBWA rankings and the D1baseball.com rankings. In Baseball America the Trojans are No. 15. The Trojans are also ranked 17th by Collegiate Baseball. The Trojans haven't been ranked this high since 2003.
FASTEST TO 30 WINS - The Trojans reached 30 wins through 40 games, the fastest since 1996.
FASTEST TO 25 WINS - The Trojans reached the 25-win mark in 31 games, the fastest since they completed the same feat in 1998, the last year they won the College World Series. The Trojans are just two wins away from hitting their entire win total from last season.
HITTING LAST YEAR'S TOTAL - Last season in the Trojans had their first winning season since 2005, and they have already tied their win total from last season at 29-10. Last year they finished 29-24 and were one of the last four teams left out of the NCAA Tournament.
STEALING BASES - The Trojans stole 11 bases vs. Towson on Feb. 15, marking the second-most bases stolen in single game in Trojan history. The record is 12, set in 1995 vs. Arizona. The Trojans have stolen 83-of-111 bases on the season, putting them at No. 10 on the all-time team single-season list. In 2014, they stole a total of 39 bases.
IN THE NATIONAL STATS - The Trojans rank in many national categories. Bobby Stahel is 20th in the nation with a .386 batting average. As a team the Trojans lead the nation with 38 sacrifice flies. The team's batting average of .292 ranks 58th nationally. The Trojans are averaging 1.66 stolen bases per game, 19th in the nation. The team's ERA of 3.20 ranks 30th nationally.
HITTING STREAK - Bobby Stahel's 22-game hitting streak, the longest since James Roberts had a streak of 21 games in 2012 was snapped on Saturday at Oregon State with an 0-for-5 day at the plate. The program high is 28, set by Jacque Jones in 1995.
HOT START - The Trojans started the season 12-0 start, their fastest start since 1988, when they started 15-0.
IN THE PAC-12 - Bobby Stahel ranks second in the conference with a .386 batting average. Stahel's 78 hits also rank second, along with total runs scored (47). Garrett Stubbs' 18 stolen bases are third in the conference, while his 64 hits rank sixth. Timmy Robinson is fourth in the conference with 44 RBI, while AJ Ramirez's 39 RBI rank tied for fifth. The team leads the conference with 507 total hits and leads in both total stolen bases (83) and stolen bases per game (1.66). The Trojans rank third with a .295 batting average. USC's 3.20 ERA is the fourth-lowest in the conference.
WEEKLY HONORS -- AJ Ramirez, who was named to Collegiate Baseball's national players of the week, also won Pac-12 Player of the Week honors had four multi-hit and four multi-RBI games last week for the Trojans. He hit an even 9-for-18 and had a 1.22 slugging percentage. Seven of his nine hits were for extra bases, as he drove in two against CS Fullerton on Tuesday and then followed it up with 10 RBIs in the series win over Utah. His biggest game came on Saturday, when his grand slam was a part of a 3-for-5 day with five RBIs. Mitch Hart threw the first two-hitter since 2009 in his first career complete game as the Trojans defeated Washington State, 11-0 to earn Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors. Dante Flores had an outstanding week as the Trojans went 3-1, including a weekend sweep of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic where they defeated No. 7 TCU 7-6 in 12-innings, No. 1 Vanderbilt 6-5 in nine innings and No. 6 UCLA 8-4 at Dodger Stadium to win Pac-12 Player of the Week and NCBWA Hitter of the Week honors. The honors are the first of his career. Overall on the week he went 7-for-16 (.438) with three runs scored, two doubles, one home run and three runs driven in. On Friday in the dramatic 12-inning, 7-6 walk-off victory vs. TCU, Flores went 3-for-3 with one run scored, one double and one sac bunt. Then on Saturday vs. Vanderbilt, Flores went 1-for-4, with his one hit being a towering home run off the scoreboard in right field for his second home run of the day. The big home run in the fourth inning put the Trojans ahead 4-1, answering the Commodores' run in the top half of the inning. Finally at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, the second baseman went 3-for-5 with one run scored and one RBI. Flores came through in the seventh inning with his second hit of the day, launching one off the top of the wall in right field, barely missing in a home run for a stand-up double. He drove in one run and came around to score as the Trojans broke open the game up to make the score 8-4.
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.
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.
TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with video webcasts for majority of home games. For road games you can hear a live radio broadcast on usctrojans.com.
CLASS BY CLASS PROSPECTS -- Senior infielder Dante Flores was named the No. 44 senior in all of college baseball by Perfect Game USA. Likewise, junior left-handed pitcher Kyle Twomey was named the No. 55 junior and sophomore catcher/first baseman Jeremy Martinez was named the No. 28 sophomore. Finally, freshman right-handed pitcher Mitch Hart was named No. 9 in the freshman class nationally.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 109 players had made it to the major leagues. Current major leaguers include Ryan Cook (Oakland A's); Tommy Milone (Minnesota Twins); 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); Chad Smith (Oakland A's).
COACHING THE TROOPS-- Volunteer assistant coach Chris Duffy comes to Troy from his alma mater South Mountain Community College, where he was an assistant coach for the past two seasons, assisting with the outfielders, hitters and base-running, while coaching first base and recruiting. He helped coach the team to the Division I Region Championship series for two-straight seasons, including winning the region in 2014. During his two years as a coach he had five outfielders receive NCAA Division I baseball scholarships. He was also an instrumental part of ensuring the success of the student-athletes in the classroom by monitoring academic progress and acting as a student-athlete success coach.
Duffy played 10 years of professional baseball, including four seasons as a major league outfielder after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth round of the 2001 MLB First Year Player's Draft. After having success as an all-star at virtually every level of the minor leagues, he was rated the best outfielder by Baseball America in 2004.