Baseball Gets Ready for East Regional
May 18, 1998
THE TEAM - The No. 5 USC baseball team - which won the 2,000th game in school history earlier this season - is 40-15 overall and 21-9 for a second-place finish in the Pacific-10 Conference Southern Division (one game behind Stanford) in 1998. The Trojans, who are aiming for their second College World Series trip in the past four years, will go to the NCAA East Regional in Clemson, S.C., as the No. 1 seed. Regional play runs Thursday through Sunday (May 21-24). The Trojans face Fordham (27-18) at 11 a.m. (EDT) on Thursday in their first game. USC has won 11 of its last 14 games.
THE RANKINGS - USC is ranked No. 5 by USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN and The Sporting News and No. 6 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. In the preseason polls, USC was ranked No. 5 by Baseball America, USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN and The Sporting News and No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball. The Trojans, Six-Pac finish was a little better than expected, as they were tabbed by the conference coaches to finish third in the Pac-10 Southern Division in the preseason (Stanford and Arizona State were No. 1 and 2, respectively).
ON THE AIR AND THE WEB - All USC postseason games will be broadcast on the radio by KPLS-AM (830). Larry Kahn and Justin Dedeaux will handle the play-by-play and color, respectively. Games can also be heard over the internet at www.audionet.com/schools/usc. Results and other information can be found on the official USC athletics web site at www.usctrojans.com.
AGAINST THE EAST REGIONAL FIELD - USC is joined by host Clemson, Virginia Commonwealth, South Alabama, The Citadel and Fordham at the East Regional. The Trojans have not played any of these teams in 1998, but all-time they are unbeaten against the group. USC is 2-0 against South Alabama and 1-0 against Clemson and The Citadel. USC has never faced Virginia Commonwealth or Fordham.
AGAINST THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD - USC has played six teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 1998 (Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, North Carolina and Stanford) and was 14-8 against those teams.
USC IN THE NCAA REGIONALS - This is USC's 31st regional berth and sixth in a row. USC is 76-34 all-time in the regionals. The Trojans have been in the College World Series 18 times (67-21 record) and have 11 national titles.
SCOUTING CLEMSON - The host Tigers (42-14) received an at-large selection after finishing in a tie for second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (14-9), then going 0-2 at the ACC Tournament. Junior OF Matt Padgett is batting .384 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI. Sophomore RHP Ryan Mottl (9-4, 5.07 ERA) leads the squad in wins.
THE SERIES - USC and Clemson have met only once, a 1-0 Trojan victory at the Carolina Invitational in 1990.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH - The Rams (44-13) were given an at-large bid. They won the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title at 18-2 but went 2-2 in the conference tournament. Junior SS/RHP Brandon Inge (.333 and 13 home runs as a hitter, 4-1, 2.41 ERA and 11 saves as a pitcher) and junior RHP Matt Burch (12-2, 2.51 ERA) shared CAA Player of the Year honors.
THE SERIES - USC and Virginia Commonwealth have never met.
SCOUTING SOUTH ALABAMA - The Jaguars (39-17) received an at-large bid after winning the Sun Belt Conference,s regular season at 19-6 and then placing third at the conference championships. Junior RHP Mike Fischer is 9-1 with a 2.62 ERA and senior RHP Jason Norton is 9-3 with a 4.99 ERA.
THE SERIES - USC is 2-0 all-time against South Alabama. The Trojans won in 1987 in Alabama, 10-7, and in 1990 at Dedeaux Field, 7-2.
SCOUTING THE CITADEL - The Bulldogs (36-22) won the Southern Conference Tournament to earn their spot in the regionals. The Citadel has three prolific starting pitchers: sophomore LHP Rodney Hancock (9-2, 3.02 ERA), junior RHP Brian Rogers (7-5, 3.57 ERA and 150 strikeouts) and junior RHP Brian Wiley (7-4, 4.23 ERA and 149 strikeouts).
THE SERIES - USC and The Citadel have met one time, a 12-4 USC victory in 1996 at the Gator Slugfest Tournament in Gainesville, Fla.
SCOUTING FORDHAM - The Rams (27-18) won their first-ever Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament, then beat Howard in a play-in series, to advance to the NCAAs. Junior IF Tom Stein is batting .385 with nine home runs and 40 RBI.
THE SERIES - USC and Fordham have never met.
ALL-PAC-10 - The Trojans had five All-Pac-10 first teamers, more than any other school. Senior RHP Seth Etherton was named Co-Pitcher of the Year (along with Stanford,s Jeff Austin) and was the only three-time first team selection. Senior RHP Jack Krawczyk, senior 3B Morgan Ensberg, junior 1B Robb Gorr and freshman SS Seth Davidson all made the first team for the first time. Selected to the honorable mention team were senior LF Jeremy Freitas, sophomore C Eric Munson, senior 2B Wes Rachels and junior RF Brad Ticehurst.
INJURY UPDATE - Sophomore C Eric Munson, a preseason All-American first teamer, recently missed 16 games after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot, and junior CF Greg Hanoian missed six games with a pulled hamstring. Both returned last weekend against Portland State, as Munson went 3-for-7 with two RBI and Hanoian went 3-for-6 with three doubles.
PITCHING RECORDS - Senior RHP Seth Etherton has been named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week 13 times in his career, more than any other player in Pac-10 history. He has also been named a National Pitcher of the Week four times this season. Etherton recently set the Pac-10 career record for strikeouts and now has 385 ... Senior RHP Jack Krawczyk has 45 career saves, a Pac-10 record and good for third place on the NCAA Division I all-time list. He also has a nation-leading and school single-season record 19 saves in 1998. One more save will tie the Pac-10 single-season record. He has pitched in more games (108) than anyone in USC history.
HITTING THE LONG BALL - USC has hit 92 home runs and has broken the former school record of 85, set in 1984 ... Prior to this season, no Trojan team had ever had more than three players with double-digit home runs. But in 1998, six Trojans are in double figures (Morgan Ensberg with 19, Robb Gorr with 13, Jeremy Freitas, Eric Munson and Brad Ticehurst with 12 each and Jason Lane with 10) ... Ensberg has 38 home runs in his career, good for No. 3 on USC,s all-time list.
COACH OF THE CENTURY - Collegiate Baseball named former coach Rod Dedeaux, who won 11 NCAA titles at USC and had an overall record of 1,332-571-11, its NCAA Division I ,Coach of the Century0/00 in the April 3 issue.
50 YEARS AGO - In 1948, Kentucky won its first NCAA men,s basketball championship, Michigan won its first NCAA ice hockey title and USC won its first NCAA baseball championship. This spring, the Wildcats won the 1998 basketball title and the Wolverines won the 1998 ice hockey title. In addition, both USC and Kentucky won baseball and basketball crowns, respectively, in 1948, 1958 and 1978. Can history repeat itself for the Trojans in 1998?
SIX-PAC STATS (as of May 17) - USC is second in team batting (.325), second in team ERA (4.81) and third in team fielding (.963) ... Seth Etherton is first in ERA (2.77), first in strikeouts (147), first in shutouts (two) and second in wins (11) ... Jack Krawczyk is first in saves (19) ... Morgan Ensberg is second in home runs (19), eighth in RBI (62), tied for eighth in stolen bases (15), 10th in hitting (.348) and 10th in doubles (18) ... Robb Gorr is fifth in hits (83), sixth in RBI (64) and eighth in hitting (.359) ... Rik Currier is eighth in ERA (4.85) and eighth in strikeouts (76) ... Mike Penney is ninth in ERA (4.87) ... Wes Rachels is tied for eighth in stolen bases (15) ... Seth Davidson is 10th in stolen bases (12).
TROJAN TRADITION - No other university can match the collegiate baseball tradition of USC. Troy has captured an unprecedented 11 NCAA championships (no other school has more than five), 36 conference titles and 18 College World Series appearances (second most in the nation). Trojan players have been named All-American first teamers 36 times, and more than 70 former players have gone on to play in the major leagues, including such stars as Tom Seaver, Fred Lynn, Ron Fairly, Randy Johnson, Mark McGwire, Jeff Cirillo and Bret Boone.
CELEBRATE IN '98 - The 1998 season marks the 50th anniversary of USC baseball,s first-ever national championship team (1948). Troy is also commemorating three other NCAA championship anniversaries this year: 40th (1958), 30th (1968) and 20th (1978).
COACH,S CORNER - Mike Gillespie, in his 12th season as the Trojans, head coach, has a 474-265-2 (.641) career record and has led USC to three conference titles (1991-95-96), nine trips to the NCAA Regionals in 11 years (reaching the Regional finals seven times), and a trip to the 1995 College World Series (where Troy finished as the nation,s runner-up). He has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year three times (1991-95-96) and was also honored as the 1996 West Region Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association. He served as one of the assistant coaches for the 1997 USA Baseball Team.
GILLESPIE IN THE NCAA's - Thirty-seven years ago, Mike Gillespie was the leftfielder for USC,s 1961 team that won the College World Series. Now, as the Trojan head coach, he is hoping to return to Omaha for his second trip in four years. Gillespie has a 49-24 record in the postseason (both as a player and as a coach). In his three-year playing career (1960-62), the Trojans went 8-2 in the district playoffs and 9-2 in the CWS (17-4 overall). As the Trojan mentor, Gillespie has a 24-17 regional record in nine trips to the playoffs, 4-2 at the CWS and 4-1 in the league playoffs. He is one of five active coaches to have played and coached in the CWS.
TERRIFIC 2,000 - USC's 10-2 victory in the series finale against North Carolina on Feb. 15 was the 2,000th victory in school history. Troy currently has a 2,033-968-17 collegiate record.
1998 RECAP - The Trojans began 1998 as one of the hottest teams in the country, taking a 27-5 record into the month of April, including winning streaks of seven and 11 games. USC opened up April with the No. 2 national ranking, but had a loss to Cal State Fullerton and then won only one of three in a showdown with No. 1 Stanford. Eric Munson, who had been having a huge season, was hobbled by a foot injury and eventually was sidelined by a stress fracture in his right foot, all of which coincided with a streak of seven losses in nine games. When the Trojans lost three games at Arizona State, an injury to backup catcher Jeff DePippo forced the Trojans to play little-used, third-string catcher Josh Townsend. The Trojans regrouped, however, winning 11 of their final 14 games of the regular season. That included taking two of three games at Stanford, the first time in 1998 that the No. 1 Cardinal had lost a weekend series and lost back-to-back games.
OVERVIEW - USC currently has a team ERA of 4.81, though it had been less than 4.00 for the first 39 games of the season. USC has 484 strikeouts in 488 innings. The school record for strikeouts is 511 in 1968.
SETH ETHERTON (#33, RHP, Sr., 6-1, 205, Laguna Niguel) - Senior RHP Seth Etherton, a 1998 Collegiate Baseball preseason All-American first teamer, has established himself as one of college baseball,s finest starting pitchers. He has been named the 1998 Pac-10 Co-Pitcher of the Year and is 11-3 in 15 starts with a 2.77 ERA in 1998. He has 147 strikeouts, good for No. 2 (tied) on the USC single-season list and No. 7 (tied) on the Pac-10 single-season list. Etherton has given up only 25 walks and 91 hits in 113 2/3 innings and opponents are batting .212 against him. Seth is the Pac-10,s career strikeout leader (385) and has moved into USC,s career Top 10 list for wins (35, No. 6). He is one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Smith Award, given to the top player in college baseball. Etherton is a four-time National Pitcher of the Week in 1998. He earned that honor from both Collegiate Baseball and The Sporting News after throwing a three-hit shutout against North Carolina (Feb. 13) and striking out 13. He received that honor again from The Sporting News after throwing a two-hit shutout and striking out 13 against Oregon State (March 6). The third award, from both Collegiate Baseball and The Sporting News, came against Stanford (April 3), when he had a career-high 15 strikeouts and only four hits and no walks in a 1-0 loss between the top two ranked teams in the country. The fourth honor, from Collegiate Baseball, came against California (April 17) when he had a no-hitter for 7 2/3 innings en route to an eight-inning, one-hit, 11-strikeout performance. He was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after all four contests, as well as against then-No. 4 Arizona on Feb. 20. He has been named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week 13 times in his career (five times in 1998), more than any other player in conference history. Prior to his no-decision against Arizona State (March 14), he had won 11 straight starts dating back to 1997. Prior to a loss to Stanford (April 3), he had 13 straight wins without a loss. In the Baseball America early draft preview, he was rated No. 41 among college prospects (a figure that has likely since improved). Baseball America also named him the Most Outstanding Player of the senior class in its midseason update. Etherton, a 1997 All-Pac-10 first team pick who was the 1996 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, returned for his third season as a starter after rejecting a contract offer from the St. Louis Cardinals (he was a ninth-round pick in the 1997 draft).
JACK KRAWCZYK (#35, RHP, Sr., 6-5, 195, Scottsdale, AZ) - The Pacific-10 Conference,s career save leader (45), a 1998 All-Pac-10 first teamer and the top reliever in the nation in 1998, senior RHP Jack Krawczyk again heads up Troy,s bullpen. A 1998 Collegiate Baseball preseason All-American second team pick, he had three saves in 1995, 12 in 1996 and 11 in 1997. In 1998, Jack is 2-2 with a 1.47 ERA and a nation-leading and school record-setting 19 saves. He needs one more save to tie the Pac-10 single-season record. He once had a stretch of six saves in eight games. He went 3 1/3 scoreless innings against UCLA (April 26) and picked up the win in his longest outing of the season. Krawczyk is No. 3 on the NCAA,s Division I career save list (Tom Hickox of Stetson, who is No. 1, had 48 from 1988-91). He picked up his 27th career save (which broke the school record) against Long Beach State (Feb. 1), his 31st (to tie the Pac-10 record held by Washington,s Brett Merrick from 1993-96) against Arizona (Feb. 21) and his 32nd (breaking the Pac-10 record) against UCLA (Feb. 28). His 19th save of 1998, which broke the school single-season record, came against No. 1 Stanford (May 10). His 108 appearances are No. 1 on Troy,s career list. Baseball America named him to its Midseason All-American senior class.
RIK CURRIER (#28 or #15, RHP, Fr., 5-10, 175, Dana Point) - True freshman RHP Rik Currier, who has made 10 starts for the Trojans, has established himself in the pitching rotation. He is 5-1 with a 4.85 ERA in 16 appearances and has 76 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings. Against Arizona (March 22), he had eight strikeouts in four innings of relief and got the win. In two victories against California, he went 12 2/3 innings and struck out 19. He went a season-long 7 2/3 innings, giving up four hits and one run with seven strikeouts to beat No. 1 Stanford (May 10). USC defeated top-ranked Stanford both times Currier started, though he had a no-decision in one of those starts. In a no-decision, he struck out a career-high 14 in seven innings at Portland State (May 15).
MIKE PENNEY (#45, RHP, Jr., 6-0, 190, Laguna Niguel) - Junior RHP Mike Penney has gone from being a key middle reliever last season to a regular starter this season. He is 7-3 with a 4.87 ERA in 88 2/3 innings. USC is 11-3 in games that Penney starts. He has three complete games in 1998 (one was only five innings due to rain). Penney struck out a career-high nine in a complete-game victory over No.1 Stanford (May 11) and gave up only eight hits, two walks and one run. He pitched the first nine-inning complete game of his career in a win against Arizona State (March 14) and gave up eight hits, three earned runs and three walks while striking out two. In the Baseball America early draft preview, he was rated No. 72 among college prospects.
JASON LANE (#16 LHP/DH, Jr., 6-2, 205, Sebastopol) - Junior LHP Jason Lane has been an excellent addition, both as a reliever and a starter. Overall, Lane is 6-1 with a 5.72 ERA in 27 appearances (three starts) and 45 2/3 innings. In his first start, he got the win against Arizona State (March 15). He earned a victory in relief against No. 1 Stanford (April 5), giving up one run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings. Lane was the 1997 Northern California Junior College Player of the Year at Santa Rosa JC last season. Regardless of whether he,s pitching, Lane is also the starting DH.
JASON SAENZ (#51, LHP, Jr., 6-2, 195, Santa Ana) - A hard-throwing lefthander, junior Jason Saenz began the season as one of USC,s three regular starters and is now in the bullpen. After going only 19 1/3 innings (with 21 strikeouts) in his first two seasons, he eclipsed that mark early in the season and is 1-2 in 17 appearances (seven starts) with a 4.42 ERA. In 36 2/3 innings, he has 34 strikeouts. Saenz struck out a career-high seven in a win against North Carolina (Feb. 15). In the Baseball America early draft preview, he was rated No. 100 among college prospects.
ADDITIONAL PITCHERS - Veteran RHP Steve Immel, a junior, saw a great deal of work as both a starter and a reliever his first two seasons and is continuing to do so again. He is 4-1 with a 5.75 ERA in 20 appearances (three starts) ... Senior RHP Mike Weibling is again being used in long relief, with a 2-0 record and a 5.91 ERA ... Junior RHP Craig Jones is another experienced arm in the bullpen. He is 2-2 with a 8.90 ERA. He had a career-high nine strikeouts in five innings as he started and won against Pepperdine (March 24) ... Three other true freshmen have seen time: RHP Tanner Eriksen (0-0, 27.00); LHP Ronald Flores (0-0, 4.05), the younger brother of USC,s all-time winningest pitcher, Randy Flores; and RHP Shaun Kramer (0-0, 11.37).
OVERVIEW - USC is hitting .325 as a team and is averaging 8.2 runs a game. The Trojans have had a season-high 17 runs three times, coming in consecutive games against UCLA (April 25-26) and San Diego State (April 28). USC has had a season-high 21 hits twice, against UC Santa Barbara (March 3) and San Diego State (April 28). The Trojans have a school-record 92 home runs in 55 games, an average of 1.67 a game. The USC record for home run average is 1.29 a game in 1978. USC hit seven home runs in one game against San Diego State (April 28).
MORGAN ENSBERG (#14, 3B, Sr., 6-2, 210, Hermosa Beach) - Senior third baseman Morgan Ensberg is having a tremendous season and was named to the 1998 All-Pac-10 first team. Ensberg, who batted .306 last season, is currently hitting .348 with 19 home runs, 62 RBI, 60 runs scored, 15 stolen bases and 18 doubles. He had a .374 batting average in the Six-Pac. He hit .800 (8-for-10) one weekend against Arizona State (March 14-15) and had a streak of 10 consecutive times reached base, for which he was named Pac-10 Player of the Week. He also hit .583 (14-for-24) in six games against UCLA. He hit three home runs and went 4-for-5 with four RBI against San Diego State (April 28). He hit two home runs and had a career-high six RBI against Arizona State (March 14). He hit two home runs and had five RBI against Portland State (May 15). With 38 home runs in his career, he is No. 3 on USC,s all-time list (behind only Mark McGwire and Geoff Jenkins).
ROBB GORR (#10, 1B, Jr., 6-0, 195, Vista) - Last year,s starting centerfielder, junior Robb Gorr took over at first base for three-year starter Greg Walbridge and has been stellar at the plate, leading to 1998 All-Pac-10 first team honors. A year ago, he hit .347 with a team-high 52 RBI, and thus far, he,s been one of the standouts again with a team-high .359 batting average, 13 home runs and a team-best 64 RBI. He had a 10-game hitting streak (.476, 20-for-42) at the beginning of the season and has a current 16-game hitting streak (.351, 26-for-74). Gorr has hit safely in 49 of 55 games. He leads the team with 28 multiple-hit and 20 multiple-RBI games. He hit two home runs against San Diego State (April 28). He hit home runs in both ends of a doubleheader against No. 1 Stanford (April 5). He was 4-for-6 with three RBI against UCLA (April 26). His 64 RBI rank No. 9 on USC,s single-season list.
WES RACHELS (#24, 2B, Sr., 5-9, 175, Los Angeles) - A steady and experienced player, senior second baseman Wes Rachels again anchors the Trojan infield in 1998 and was named 1998 All-Pac-10 honorable mention. Rachels, who hit .364 with 41 RBI last year, achieved 1997 All-Pac-10 first team and USC MVP honors. He reached base in all but two of the 53 games he played last year and hit safely in all but eight. He is currently hitting .343 with 27 RBI and 15 stolen bases and has reached base in 46 of 52 games. At Arizona (March 20-22), he batted .500 (6-for-12) with six stolen bases. He went 5-for-5 against San Diego State (April 28). He has two home runs, which came in consecutive games against UCLA (April 26) and San Diego State (April 28). With 40 stolen bases in his career, Rachels is No. 8 (tied) on the Trojans, all-time list.
JEREMY FREITAS (#37, LF, Sr., 6-3, 210, Hanford) - Senior leftfielder Jeremy Freitas has been providing a great deal of punch this season. After transferring from Fresno (Calif.) City College and batting .277 with seven home runs and 35 RBI in 1997, he quickly surpassed last year,s home run total in 1998 and has 12 to go with a .331 average and 51 RBI. He hit two home runs against Texas (Feb. 7). Freitas has been named to the 1998 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad and the 1998 All-American Farm Team by Successful Farming magazine, an honor going to student-athletes with a farming background. He was named team captain of the baseball squad, resulting in a $1,000 scholarship donation to the university.
ERIC MUNSON (#3, C, So., 6-3, 220, San Diego) - An injury put on hold what could have been one of the top offensive performances in USC history, but sophomore catcher Eric Munson has returned from a stress fracture in his right foot that kept him out for 16 games. Though just a sophomore, there,s little doubt that Munson, when healthy, is the top collegiate catcher in the nation. A consensus 1998 preseason All-American, he was the only catcher and the only sophomore selected to the Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and The Sporting News first teams. Munson, who was named The Sporting News, Freshman of the Year last year, was selected to the 1997 All-Pac-10 first team after hitting .336 with a team-leading 13 home runs and 50 RBI as just a freshman. Despite missing so many games, he was named to the 1998 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad. He returned from his injury against Portland State on May 15 and is now hitting .356 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI. Against North Carolina (Feb. 13), he was 5-for-6 with three RBI. He missed the first Arizona State series (March 14-15) after a freak accident during batting practice when a foul ball went under the batting cage, bounced up and struck him above the left eye. He came back with a 3-for-4, two-RBI effort against Loyola Marymount (March 17), then batted .462 (6-for-13) with three home runs at Arizona (March 20-22) to win Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. He has 14 multiple-RBI games this season, including a career-high five RBI at Arizona (March 22). Baseball America recently listed him as the No. 1 prospect among the nation,s sophomore class, and as the Most Outstanding Player among sophomores at the midseason point of the season. A member of the 1997 USA National Team, he has been invited to the 1998 USA Baseball training camp in June.
SETH DAVIDSON (#2, SS, Fr., 6-0, 170, San Diego) - A true freshman who has been one of USC,s big surprises with both the glove and bat, shortstop Seth Davidson earned 1998 All-Pac-10 first team honors and is hitting .348 overall and .387 in Six-Pac play. He also has five home runs, 27 RBI and 12 stolen bases. He had a midseason 10-game hitting streak (.390, 16-for-41). Davidson hit his first career home run at Arizona (March 20) and his first grand slam against California (April 18). He feasted on Cal,s pitching, hitting .542 (13-for-24) with three home runs and 11 RBI in six games. He has been invited to the 1998 USA Baseball training camp in June.
BRAD TICEHURST (#8, RF, Jr., 6-1, 200, Los Alamitos) - Junior rightfielder Brad Ticehurst moved into the starting lineup when Greg Hanoian was injured in 1997 and has been there ever since. He,s batting .299 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI and made the 1998 All-Pac-10 honorable mention team. He blasted a two-run home run and made a fantastic leaping grab to steal a potential two-run home run against Arizona State (March 15). He followed up an 0-for-21 slump with a 16-for-27 (.593) streak toward the end of the season. In the Baseball America early draft preview, he was rated No. 78 among college prospects.
JASON LANE (#16, DH/LHP, Jr., 6-2, 205, Sebastopol) - Newcomer Jason Lane has shown why he was named the 1997 Northern California Junior College Player of the Year at Santa Rosa J.C. In addition to his contributions as a pitcher, the junior designated hitter is batting .303 with 10 home runs, 39 RBI and 45 runs scored. When Lane comes to the plate as the pitcher, he,s batting .476 (10-for-21) with two home runs. He went 4-for-5 with an RBI against California (March 28).
GREG HANOIAN (#25, CF, Jr., 5-9, 175, Huntington Beach) - A shoulder injury ended Greg Hanoian,s 1997 season early and other injuries have hampered his 1998 season. The junior centerfielder separated his right shoulder making a diving catch against Arizona State (March 14) and missed 16 games. He then missed six games with a hamstring pull but returned against Portland State (May 15). He is batting .340 and has scored 29 runs with 16 RBI in 30 games in 1998.
JEFF DePIPPO (#9, OF/C, Sr., 5-7, 170, Garden Grove) - A versatile player who has been used all around the park, senior Jeff DePippo is batting .307 with three home runs and 20 RBI. He took over the catching duties when Eric Munson was injured and will still catch when Munson is the designated hitter. DePippo has also been used in all three outfield positions, at designated hitter and as a pinch-hitter. He had a 10-game midseason hitting streak (.424, 14-for-33). He missed seven games after suffering an off-the-field mishap during the first Stanford series that tore cartilage in his rib area.
ROD PERRY, Jr. (#6, CF, Fr., 5-10, 185, Irvine) - True freshman Rod Perry, Jr. (.253) has started 19 games while also serving as a late-inning defensive replacement in center field. In his first career start, he went 4-for-5 with three RBI against UC Santa Barbara (March 3). He had a two-run triple in the eighth inning that proved to be the game-winning hit at Arizona (March 20), then slugged his first career home run against the Wildcats the next day (March 21). Perry is also a wide receiver on the Trojan football team.
ADDITIONAL HITTERS - Junior Dominic Correa has seen playing time in the middle infield, the outfield and as a designated hitter and is batting .278 ... Reserve sophomore first baseman and pinch-hitter Carlos Casillas is hitting .357 (5-for-14) ... Sophomore Kevin Schultz has seen time at shortstop and has fared well. Schultz has started seven games (appearing in 22) while hitting .231 ... With the top two catchers out with injuries during one stretch, sophomore Josh Townsend (.273) moved into a starting role for five games. In his first career start, he got his first career hit against HawaiOEi Hilo (April 6). He had a base hit in each of his first three starts ... Reserve catcher Camilo Gomez got his first career hit against HawaiOEi Hilo (April 6). Gomez (.667), a junior, slugged a home run to left field in his first at-bat of the year ... Freshman Josh Persell is hitless in seven at-bats as a pinch-hitter but has two runs scored and one RBI.