USC Baseball Prepares for Omaha|
May 26, 1998
THE TEAM - The USC baseball team - which has won an unprecedented 11 NCAA championships - is 44-16 overall and 21-9 for a second-place finish in the Pacific-10 Conference Southern Division (one game behind Stanford) in 1998. The Trojans have earned their second College World Series trip in four years after winning the NCAA East Regional in Clemson, S.C. The CWS, which takes place at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., begins on Friday (May 29) and runs through June 6. The fourth-seeded Trojans open play with two-time defending champion LSU, the No. 5 seed, on Saturday (May 30) at 12:30 p.m. CDT. Florida and Mississippi State are also in the Trojans bracket.
THE RANKINGS - USC is currently ranked No. 3 by The Sporting News and No. 4 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.
ON THE AIR AND THE WEB - The USC-LSU game on Saturday will be televised live nationally on CBS. All other CWS games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 and the championship will be on CBS. All USC postseason games will also 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.
USC IN THE CWS - This is USCs 19th appearance in the College World Series, second only to Texas 27 appearances. USC has won 11 national titles, more than twice as many as any other school. USC has an all-time record of 67-21 in the CWS and is 181-64 overall in the postseason.
AGAINST THE CWS FIELD - USC is joined by Arizona State, Florida, Florida State, Long Beach State, LSU, Miami (Fla.) and Mississippi State at the College World Series. The Trojans have faced Pac-10 rival Arizona State (3-3) and local foe Long Beach State (3-0) in 1998. All-time, the Trojans have a 148-109 record against the CWS field, including 13-3 in CWS play.
ALL-AMERICANS - Five Trojans have been named to various All-American teams. Senior RHPs Seth Etherton and Jack Krawczyk were both named first teamers by USA Today Baseball Weekly and Collegiate Baseball. The last pair of Trojans to make first team All-American were Gabe Alvarez and Geoff Jenkins in 1995. Senior 3B Morgan Ensberg made the Collegiate Baseball third team. RHP Rik Currier and SS Seth Davidson made the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American first team.
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 Stanfords 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.
HEALTHY BATS - Sophomore C/DH Eric Munson, a preseason All-American first teamer, recently missed 16 games after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot. But in the seven games since his return, hes batting .520 (13-for-25) and was named MVP of the East Regional. Junior CF Greg Hanoian has also been swinging a hot bat since missing six games with a pulled hamstring. Hes hitting .435 (10-for-23) in the last seven games and made the All-East Regional team.
PITCHING RECORDS - Senior RHP Seth Etherton is the Pac-10s all-time strikeout leader and he now has 400. He has 162 strikeouts in 1998, a figure that leads the nation, and he needs only 11 more to set new school and Pac-10 single-season records. 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 ... Senior RHP Jack Krawczyk has 47 career saves, a Pac-10 record and good for second place on the NCAA Division I all-time list. He also has a nation-leading and Pac-10 single-season record 21 saves in 1998. One more save will tie the NCAA single-season and career records. He has pitched in more games (110) than anyone in USC history ... Trojan pitchers have set a new school record for strikeouts. They now have 523 in 533 innings.
HITTING THE LONG BALL - USC has hit 97 home runs, breaking 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, Eric Munson and Brad Ticehurst with 14 each, Robb Gorr and Jeremy Freitas with 13 each and Jason Lane with 10) ... Ensberg has 38 home runs in his career, good for No. 3 on USCs all-time list. His 19 home runs in 1998 are good for No. 4 (tied) on the USC single-season list.
50 YEARS AGO - In 1948, Kentucky won its first NCAA mens 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. Also, both USC and Kentucky won baseball and basketball crowns, respectively, in 1948, 1958 and 1978. Can history repeat itself for the Trojans?
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 Century in the April 3 issue.
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 19 College World Series appearances (second most in the nation). Trojan players have been named All-American first teamers 38 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 baseballs first-ever national championship team (1948). Troy is also commemorating three other NCAA championship anniversaries this year: 40th (1958), 30th (1968) and 20th (1978).
COACHS CORNER - Mike Gillespie, in his 12th season as the Trojans head coach, has a 478-266-2 (.642) career record and has led USC to three conference titles (1991-95-96), 10 trips to the NCAA Regionals in 12 years (reaching the Regional finals eight times), and trips to the 1995 and 1998 College World Series (Troy finished as the nations runner-up in 1995). 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 NCAAs - Thirty-seven years ago, Mike Gillespie was the leftfielder for USCs 1961 team that won the College World Series. Now, as the Trojan head coach, he is returning to Omaha for his second trip in four years. Gillespie has a 53-25 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 28-18 regional record in 10 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.
USC IN THE 1995 CWS - USC opened the 1995 CWS with a 15-10 loss to Miami, but Troy would come back with four straight wins to stave off elimination each time. After beating Oklahoma and Florida State, the Trojans defeated the Hurricanes twice in a row to advance to the championship game. But in the final, top-ranked Cal State Fullerton won the title with a 11-5 victory. Four freshmen - now seniors - played in the 1995 CWS. 2B Wes Rachels made the All-Tournament team and RHP Jack Krawczyk tied a CWS record with five appearances. RHP Seth Etherton and C/OF Jeff DePippo also saw time.
TERRIFIC 2,000 - USCs 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 at that time and he was eventually sidelined for 16 games by a stress fracture in his right foot. Then an injury to backup catcher Jeff DePippo forced the Trojans to play little-used, third-string catcher Josh Townsend. Greg Hanoian also missed time with shoulder and hamstring problems. Those injury troubles contributed to seven losses in a nine-game stretch. 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 then-No. 1 Cardinal had lost a weekend series and lost back-to-back games. USC earned the No. 1 seed at the NCAA East Regional in Clemson, S.C., but went about things the hard way to make it to the College World Series. After beating Fordham, 10-6, USC was clobbered by Virginia Commonwealth, 14-4. The Trojans pitching and hitting then got back on track as they beat host Clemson, 8-5, then defeated South Alabama on consecutive nights, 3-2 and 4-3, to claim the regional title and the CWS berth.
VS. ARIZONA STATE - The Sun Devils, under fourth-year head coach Pat Murphy, are 38-22 in 1998. USC is 77-75 all-time against Arizona State and the two teams split their six meetings in 1998, 3-3. At the College World Series, the Trojans have a 6-1 edge, including wins in the 1972, 1973 and 1978 championship games.
VS. FLORIDA - The Gators, under fourth-year head coach Andy Lopez, are 46-16 in 1998. USC and Florida have met only once, a 3-1 Trojan victory in 1996 in Gainesville, Fla.
VS. FLORIDA STATE - The Seminoles, under 19th-year head coach Mike Martin, are 53-18 in 1998. The Trojans are 5-1 against Florida State, with three of the wins taking place at the College World Series (1963, 1970 and 1995). The Trojans defeated the Seminoles in the 1970 championship game, 2-1, in 15 innings.
VS. LONG BEACH STATE - The 49ers, under 10th-year head coach Dave Snow, are 41-21-1 in 1998. USC leads, 60-21, in a series that goes back to 1960. The Trojans won all three meetings in 1998, though they came at the start of the season. The last time USC and Long Beach State met in the postseason, it was in the 1995 West Region final, which the Trojans won, 9-2.
VS. LSU - The Tigers, under 15th-year head coach Skip Bertman, are 46-17 in 1998. They hold a 5-1 lead in the all-time series against the Trojans, including a 2-1 mark in the 1990 South Regional and a 2-0 record in the 1994 South Regional, both hosted by LSU in Baton Rouge.
VS. MIAMI (FLA.) - The Hurricanes, under fifth-year head coach Jim Morris, are 50-10 in 1998. USC is 4-7 against Miami all-time, but the Trojans have a 4-2 record in CWS play. The Trojans defeated the Hurricanes in the 1974 championship game. After losing to Miami in the first game at the 1995 CWS, the Trojans came back later in the tournament to defeat the Hurricanes twice and advance to the championship game.
VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE - The Bulldogs, under first-year head coach Pat McMahon, are 41-21 in 1998. Mississippi State is the only school in the CWS field that USC has never faced.
SETH ETHERTON (#33, RHP, Sr., 6-1, 205, Laguna Niguel) - Senior RHP Seth Etherton has proven himself as one of college baseballs finest starting pitchers and one of the best in USC history. He has been named a 1998 All-American first teamer and the Pac-10 Co-Pitcher of the Year. He is 12-3 in 16 starts with a 2.86 ERA in 1998. He has 162 strikeouts, a figure that leads the nation and is good for No. 2 on the USC single-season list and No. 3 (tied) on the Pac-10 single-season list. He needs 11 strikeouts to set a new school and Pac-10 single-season record. Etherton has given up only 26 walks and 98 hits in 122 2/3 innings and opponents are batting .211 against him. Seth is the Pac-10s career strikeout leader (400) and has moved into a tie for No. 4 on USCs all-time win list. He was named to the All-East Regional team after striking out a career-high-tying 15 in a complete-game win against host Clemson (May 23). Etherton is a four-time National Pitcher of the Week in 1998. The first two honors came after throwing shutouts against North Carolina (Feb. 13) and Oregon State (March 6). The third award 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 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 was 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). He was a 1998 Collegiate Baseball preseason All-American first teamer and Baseball America 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 (47), a 1998 All-American first teamer and an All-Pac-10 first teamer, senior RHP Jack Krawczyk is the top reliever in the nation in 1998. He is 2-2 with a 1.71 ERA and a nation-leading and Pac-10 record-setting 21 saves this season. Krawczyk is also No. 2 on the NCAA's Division I career save list (Tom Hickox of Stetson, who is No. 1, had 48 from 1988-91). He needs one more save to tie both the NCAA career and single-season records. Krawczyk once had a stretch of six saves in eight games. He had two saves at the East Regional. He picked up his 27th career save (which broke the school record) against Long Beach State (Feb. 1) 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), and his 21st save, which broke the Pac-10 single-season record, came against South Alabama (May 24) in the East Regional final. His 110 appearances are No. 1 on Troys career list. Baseball America named him to its Midseason All-American senior class. A 1998 Collegiate Baseball preseason All-American second team pick, he had three saves in 1995, 12 in 1996 and 11 in 1997.
RIK CURRIER (#28 or #15, RHP, Fr., 5-10, 175, Dana Point) - True freshman RHP Rik Currier, who has earned 1998 Freshman All-American first team honors, established himself in the pitching rotation early this season. He is 5-1 with a 5.23 ERA in 18 appearances (12 starts) and has 85 strikeouts in 62 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 7-4 with a 5.30 ERA in 93 1/3 innings. USC is 11-4 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). 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 8-1 (second on the team in wins) with a 4.94 ERA in 30 appearances (four starts) and 54 2/3 innings. At the East Regional, he had two wins in two nights against South Alabama (May 23-24). He pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief the first night, then started the next night in the championship and gave up one run in 5 1/3 innings. He earned a victory in relief against then-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 hes pitching, Lane is also the usual 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 USCs 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 5-1 with a 5.72 ERA in 21 appearances (three starts) ... Senior RHP Mike Weibling is again being used in long relief, with a 2-0 record, 5.11 ERA and one save ... Junior RHP Craig Jones (2-2, 10.09 ERA) is another experienced arm in the bullpen. He had a career-high nine strikeouts in five innings as he started and won against Pepperdine (March 24) ... True freshman LHP Ronald Flores (0-0, 3.60 ERA, 15 IP) is the younger brother of USCs all-time winningest pitcher, Randy Flores.
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 with a vengeance. After sitting out 16 games with a stress fracture in his right foot, he came back to play the final two games of the regular season against Portland State, then was named Most Valuable Player of the East Regional after batting a team-high .556 (10-for-18) with two home runs and eight RBI. Munson, despite missing 19 games overall, was still named to the 1998 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad and is now hitting a team-best .380 with14 home runs and 51 RBI. Though just a sophomore, theres little doubt that Munson, when healthy, is the top collegiate catcher in the nation. A consensus 1998 preseason All-American and the 1997 Sporting News Freshman of the Year, he was the only catcher and the only sophomore selected to the Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and The Sporting News first teams. He has 16 multiple-RBI games this season, including a career-high five RBI at Arizona (March 22). He also 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. Baseball America listed him as the No. 1 prospect among the nations 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.
MORGAN ENSBERG (#14, 3B, Sr., 6-2, 210, Hermosa Beach) - Senior third baseman Morgan Ensberg is having a tremendous season and was named a 1998 All-American third teamer and an All-Pac-10 first teamer. Ensberg, who batted .306 last season, is currently hitting .356 with 19 home runs, 66 RBI, 66 runs scored, 18 stolen bases and 20 doubles. He had a .374 batting average in the Six-Pac. He was named to the All-East Regional team after batting .444 (8-for-18) with four RBI. 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 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 USCs all-time list (behind only Mark McGwire and Geoff Jenkins). His 19 home runs in 1998 rank No. 4 (tied) on the USC single-season list.
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 he's been one of the standouts again with a .351 batting average, 13 home runs and 66 RBI. He had hitting streaks of 17 games (.354, 28-for-79) and 10 games (.476, 20-for-42). Gorr has hit safely in 53 of 60 games. He leads the team with 28 multiple-hit games and is tied for the lead with 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).
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 is currently hitting .323 with 27 RBI and 15 stolen bases and has reached base in 48 of 57 games. 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. 9 (tied) on the Trojans all-time list. He was a member of the 1995 College World Series All-Tournament team as a freshman.
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 13 to go with a .326 average and 53 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 magazine's baseball squad, resulting in a $1,000 scholarship donation to the university.
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 has earned 1998 Freshman All-American first team and All-Pac-10 first team honors and is hitting .333 overall and .387 in Six-Pac play. He also has five home runs, 29 RBI and 14 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 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. Hes batting .297 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI and made the 1998 All-Pac-10 honorable mention team. He made the All-East Regional team after batting .278 (5-for-18) with two home runs and seven RBI. Ticehurst 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.
GREG HANOIAN (#25, CF, Jr., 5-9, 175, Huntington Beach) - A shoulder injury ended Greg Hanoians 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 .350 and has scored 31 runs with 16 RBI in 35 games in 1998. He made the All-East Regional team after batting .412 (7-for-17). He has a current 10-game hitting streak (.515, 17-for-33), though not in 10 straight games due to his injuries.
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 .305 with 10 home runs, 41 RBI and 46 runs scored. When Lane comes to the plate as the pitcher, hes batting .476 (10-for-21) with two home runs. He went 4-for-5 with an RBI against California (March 28).
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 .273 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. (.236) 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 Hawai'i Hilo (April 6). He had a base hit in each of his first three starts.