Trojans Looking for Big Finish as They Host No. 1 Oregon State|
May 22, 2014
Upcoming Games Schedule
Saturday, May 24
Sunday, May 25
LOS ANGELES - The Trojans finish off the regular season as the host No. 1 Oregon State for a three-game series at Dedeaux Field starting on Friday, May 23 at 4 p.m. PT. All three games of the series will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. The Trojans split their two midweek games, defeating Grand Canyon 6-3 on Monday, but falling at Cal State Fullerton 17-3.
The Trojans enter the week with an RPI of 80, and after splitting the first two games this week, they most likely need to sweep the Beavers for a chance at their first postseason bid since 2005.
The Trojans took care of business on Monday, defeating Grand Canyon 6-3 behind a strong start from Wyatt Strahan, who went 7.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, while striking out seven. Kevin Swickhad a 2-for-4 day at the plate and drove in two of the Trojans' six runs.
On Tuesday at Cal State Fullerton, the Trojans put together a two-out rally in the top of the first inning against starter Christian Coronado, as Jake Hernandez and Blake Lacey delivered RBI doubles. After that however, it was all Titans, as they lit up the Trojans for 17-unanswered runs. Starter Brent Wheatley, didn't get out of the first inning, as the Titans scored five runs in the bottom of the first. They they touched up the Trojans for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, the most runs the Trojans have allowed in one inning. The Trojans tallied nine hits on the day, while Fullerton had 17.
In the last Pac-12 series (May 9-11), the Trojans dropped two-out-of-three contests to the visiting California Golden Bears. The Trojans took game one of the series behind a strong start by Wyatt Strahan. The junior ace went seven complete innings, allowing just one run on five hits with six strikeouts. The Trojans dropped games two and three, by scores of 11-4 and 4-1, respectively. The Trojans had opportunities in both games, but were unable to get the big hit to push the Trojans ahead.
OREGON STATE NOTES-- The Beavers enter the weekend as the consensus No. 1 team in the nation. They boast a 41-10 overall record and are 22-5 in the Pac-12. Their magic number to clinch at least a share, and the automatic conference bid into the postgame is one game. Two win outright, they need a win coupled with a Washington loss. The team is led by outfielder Michael Conforto, who is batting .369 with 55 RBI and seven home runs. Dylan Davis leads the team with 63 RBI, while batting .298. As a team the Beavers bat .280. Their pitching staff, arguably the most impressive in the Pac-12, has a team ERA of 2.16. Starters Ben Wetzler (0.84 ERA, 86.0 IP), Jace Fry (1.50 ERA, 107.2 IP) and Andrew Moore (2.94 ERA, 79.2 IP) anchor the staff as the weekend starters.
The Trojans lead the Beavers in the series, 48-25. All time on the road vs. the Trojans, the Beavers are just 9-25. The last time the Beavers visited in Oregon State in 2012, the Trojans took two of three. The Beavers have won the last three matchups, as the Trojans were swept in Corvallis, Ore., last season.
PROTECTING HOME TURF -- The Trojans are in line for the program's 34th winning home record in 40 seasons at Dedeaux Field. The Trojans come into the weekend with an 18-12 record at home on the year.
SENIOR DAY -- The Trojans will honor six seniors playing in their final game at Dedeaux Field on Sunday. Third baseman Kevin Swick, first baseman Jake Hernandez, starting pitcher Bob Wheatley, outfielder JR Aguirre, starter/reliever Sean Silva, and relief pitcher James Guillen.
STARTERS -- Friday: RHP Brent WheatleyCareer Highs IP: 6.1 IP - 2x, last April 18, 2014 vs. Arizona Strikeouts: 4, 2x, last April 25, 2014 at UCLA
Saturday: RHP Wyatt StrahanCareer 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.
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 Swickwas 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 Martinezwas 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 Nootbaarwas 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 Alvarezenters 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.
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.