Baseball Game Notes For Saturday, Feb. 3

Feb. 2, 2001

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LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team -- winner of 12 NCAA championships, more than twice as many as any other school -- continues its two-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m. against Louisville. The Trojans will host Cal State Fullerton in a non-conference game on Tuesday (Feb. 6) at 6 p.m.

RANKINGS -- USC is ranked No. 2 in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball preseason poll and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Baseball Weekly preseason poll. Louisville is not ranked in any polls.

LOUISVILLE NOTES -- Louisville will open its 2001 regular season with the two-game series against USC, the first of eight games in nine days on a road trip that will feature stops at Cal State Northridge, Pepperdine and a four-game series at Hawaii. The Cardinals were 17-37-1 last season and finished eighth in Conference USA play. Senior outfielder Mike Hook batted .279 with 29 stolen bases last year while senior second baseman Matt Jarboe hit .341 in 36 starts for the Cardinals. Lelo Prado is in his sixth season at Louisville with a record of 126-148-1. This is the first meeting ever between the two schools.

LAST GAME -- Senior Josh Persell went 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and three RBI while sophomore Anthony Lunetta went 3-for-4 with a home run, double and four RBI as the Trojans opened the 2001 season with a 10-3 win against Santa Clara. Senior Rik Currier pitched two perfect innings, striking out three, to record the win. The key moment came in the Trojans' half of the second with two outs and the bases loaded. Rob Garibaldi's ground ball was booted by Santa Clara second baseman Mike Theoharis, allowing two runs on route to a four-run inning.

PAC-10 PRESEASON POLL -- In a preseason poll of the Pac-10 coaches, USC was picked to win the conference title. In order, the poll went as follows: USC (six first-place votes), Arizona State (one first-place vote), Stanford (one first-place vote), Arizona, California, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

COACH'S CORNER -- Mike Gillespie, in his 15th season as the Trojans' head coach, has a 564-313-2 (.642) career record and has led USC to the 1998 national championship, three conference titles (1991-95-96), 12 trips to the NCAA Regionals in 14 years (reaching the regional finals 10 times), and trips to the 1995, 1998 and 2000 College World Series (Troy finished as the nation's runner-up in 1995). He was named the 1998 National Coach of the Year, the Pac-10 Coach of the Year three times (1991-95-96) and the West Region Coach of the Year twice (1996-98). The starting leftfielder on USC's 1961 NCAA-winning team, he is one of just two men who have both coached and played on championship teams. Gillespie also was named by the United States Olympic Committee as the baseball coach of the year after serving as the head coach for the 2000 U.S. National Team, which posted a 27-3-1 record and the best winning percentage in club history.

FRESH CUT LAWN -- Dave Lawn joins the coaching staff this season, replacing John Savage as the team's pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. Savage took over the head coaching position at UC Irvine, which is scheduled to begin play next year. Lawn served as an assistant coach the past 10 years at California. He was instrumental with recruiting classes that were ranked in the Top 30 nationally from 1991 to 1998, including 1998 National Freshman of the Year Xavier Nady (San Diego Padres). He also served last summer as manager for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League. The Whitecaps won the league championship and set the franchise record with 28 wins during the regular season.

YOUNG (ALL) AMERICANS -- The Trojans have three possible All-America candidates on the roster this season. Senior pitcher Rik Currier already has a couple of honors to his credit after earning Collegiate Baseball and The Sporting News All-America second team honors last season. Currier is a preseason All-America first teamer this season, according to Collegiate Baseball. Senior shortstop Seth Davidson was named to the 1999 All-America third team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association and was a Freshman All-America first teamer in 1998. Junior pitcher Mark Prior was selected this season as a preseason All-America second teamer by Collegiate Baseball and earned Freshman All-America second team honors while at Vanderbilt in 1998.

PLAYING FOR THE U.S.A. -- Head Coach Mike Gillespie held similar duties last year with the United States National Team. USC pitchers Mark Prior and Anthony Reyes were on the team as well. Gillespie guided Team USA to a 27-3-1 record, posting the highest winning percentage (.900) in club history. The team reeled off a 21-game unbeaten streak at the end of the season, including capturing the Haarlem Honkbal Week championship in The Netherlands. Prior was the winning pitcher in the championship game against Cuba.

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