Baseball Game Notes For Tuesday, February 6
Feb. 5, 2001
LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team (3-0) -- winner of 12 NCAA championships, more than twice as many as any other school -- will face the two top teams in the Big West Conference by hosting Cal State Fullerton (1-3) on Tuesday (Feb. 6) at Dedeaux Field and facing Long Beach State (3-0) this weekend. The games on Friday (Feb. 9) and Sunday (Feb. 11) will be played at Blair Field at 7:05 and 1:05 p.m., respectively, while Saturday's (Feb. 10) game will be played at Dedeaux Field at 1 p.m.
RANKINGS -- USC is ranked No. 2 in the latest Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball poll and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Baseball Weekly preseason poll. Cal State Fullerton is ranked No. 12 by ESPN/USA Today Baseball Weekly (preseason), No. 15 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 18 by Baseball America.
LAST WEEK -- USC opened the 2001 season by defeating Santa Clara in the opener on Wednesday (Jan. 31), 10-3, and Louisville in a two-game series on Saturday (Feb. 3) by a 19-4 score and Sunday (Feb. 4) by an 11-4 margin. The Trojans won their sixth straight season opener and have not lost an opener since a 4-2 decision in 1995 against Cal State Northridge. In Saturday's game against Louisville, the Trojans opened the game with 10 runs in the first inning.
CAL STATE FULLERTON NOTES -- Cal State Fullerton is 1-3 on the season after losing at Pepperdine last week and dropping two of three at home to Stanford. The Titans were shutout for the first time since 1999 in a 3-0 decision on Sunday (Feb. 4). Shortstop Mike Rouse is batting .455 (5-for-11) for the Titans while catcher Brett Kay has started in all four games this season and is batting .412 (7-for-17). George Horton is in his fifth season as head coach of the Titans. Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series by a 29-28-1 margin over USC.
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 566-313-2 (.644) 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.
OFFENSIVE ONSLAUGHT -- Despite losing Justin Gemoll and Beau Craig, who each hit 18 home runs last year, the Trojans have not missed a beat at the plate. This year, USC scored 10 runs or more in the first three games of the season for the first time since 1951. Troy's 1951 team opened the season with run totals of 22, 11 and 10 on route to the CIBA Conference championship and a berth in the College World Series. The school record for most runs in a season is held by the 1998 national championship squad with 543 runs (8.23 runs per game).