USC Baseball Signs Four Players To Letters-Of-Intent For 2002 Season

Nov. 22, 2000

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LOS ANGELES - Left-handed pitcher J.P. Howell (Sacramento/Jesuit HS),left-handed pitcher/outfielder Matt Chico (San Diego/Fallbrook HS), thirdbaseman Joey Metropoulos (San Diego/Monte Vista HS) and outfielder JayNichols (Irvine/University HS) have signed letters-of-intent to playbaseball at USC for the 2002 season, Head Coach Mike Gillespie announcedtoday.

'We are excited to have them here,' said Gillespie. 'We believe that theywill be outstanding collegiate players immediately for our program.'

Here are brief biographies on each player:

J.P. Howell, LHP, Sacramento (Jesuit HS) -- Howell recorded a 9-1 recordwith a 0.21 ERA last year for Jesuit High. He struck out 132 batters in 63innings of work and was a member of the Division I city championship team.He earned all-state, all-city and team most valuable player honors.

Matt Chico, LHP/OF, San Diego (Fallbrook HS) -- Chico hit .419 with 10 homeruns and 24 RBI last year for Fallbrook High. He was named the AvocadoLeague Player of the Year and also earned All-CIF honors. He batted .406in his sophomore season, earning first team All-Avocado League honors.

Joey Metropoulos, 3B, San Diego (Monte Vista HS) -- Metropoulos batted .396with 10 home runs and 39 RBI last year for Monte Vista High. He earnedAll-CIF and all-league honors and was a member during the summer of theEncinitas Reds, which won the national championship at the Connie MackWorld Series.

Jay Nichols, OF, Irvine (University HS) -- Nichols batted .558 with threehome runs and 43 RBI last year for University High. He earned first teamAll-CIF, all-county and all-league honors as well as being named asIrvine's co-most valuable player.

The Trojans are coming off a 44-20 season, including the program's 20thtrip to the College World Series and a fourth-place finish in the Pac-10with a 16-8 mark. The 2001 squad will begin its season on Saturday (Feb.3) vs. Louisville at Dedeaux Field in a 1 p.m. contest..

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