Trojans Host Grand Canyon on Monday Before Visiting Cal State Fullerton.
May 18, 2014
LOS ANGELES - After a week off, the USC baseball team is back in action with five huge games this week. The Trojans host Grand Canyon on Monday at Dedeaux Field, then travel to Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday, before returning home to host Oregon State for a three-game series starting on Friday.
The Trojans enter the week with an RPI of 80, and are needing to win at least four of their next five games to put themselves back in the regional competition. The Trojans just need one more win out of their next five games to have the program's first winning season since 2005. That year the team finished 41-22 and made a Super Regional.
GRAND CANYON NOTES-- Grand Canyon enters Monday's contest after a three-game home series with Utah Valley. Entering their Saturday contest, the team was 29-20 overall and 15-14 on the road. The team is led at the plate by Chad De La Guerra who is batting .359. David Walker is next, batting .357. As a team they are batting .280 and on the mound they boast a 3.32 ERA. The squad is coached by former Pepperdine Wave and Arizona State assistant Andy Stankiewicz, who is in his third year with the program. This is the first time the two squads have met.
CAL STATE FULLERTON NOTES-- The Titans enter the week with a record of 28-22. The team completed an impressive sweep of the recently hot UC Irvine on the road over the week. At home this season the Titans are 17-8. As a team they are batting .257 and are led at the plate by J.D. Davis, who is batting .320 with 31 RBI. Matt Chapman leads the team with an impressive 44 RBI. The pitching staff boasts a 2.09 ERA and have only walked 78 batters to 398 strikeouts.
In the first Tuesday game of the season, the Trojans defeated the then-No. 3 Titans at Dedeaux Field, 6-1. The Trojans are 39-48-1 all-time against the Titans. In the last 11 meetings the Trojans are 3-8 vs. Cal State Fullerton. The last time the Trojans won at Goodwin Field was in 2009, when they won 9-3.
STARTERS -- Monday: 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. - Saw his streak of scoreless innings thrown snapped at Washington State at 21.1 innings pitched over four different starts.
Tuesday: 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
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 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.
Swick was followed by Jake Hernandez, who won Player of the Week for the first time in his career, the week of April 21-27. He hit .556 on the week, tallying an impressive 10 hits over four games, including posting multi-hit outings in each game. In the three game series against the Bruins, he went 7-for-13 with four RBI, adding a RBI and a ninth-inning run scored in the Trojan's come-from-behind 7-4 victory on Saturday to complete the series sweep.
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).
MAKING THE GRADES -- Academics is highly important at USC, and senior third baseman Kevin Swick (La Canada, 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.