Baseball Announces Enrollees For 2002 Season

Aug. 27, 2001

LOS ANGELES -- The entire baseball recruiting class for the 2002 season has enrolled at USC, Head Coach Mike Gillespie announced today. The group includes two players who were second-round selections in the 2001 amateur baseball draft and members of the United States Junior National Team: left-handed pitcher J.P. Howell (Sacramento/Jesuit HS) and left-handed pitcher/outfielder Matt Chico (San Diego/Fallbrook HS). Howell was selected by the Atlanta Braves while Chico was selected by the Boston Red Sox.

Other freshmen include third baseman Joey Metropoulos (San Diego/Monte Vista HS) and infielder Jay Nichols (Irvine/University HS).

Four players have also transferred to the program: infielder David Gordon (Sacramento City College), outfielder Kris Cox (Mississippi), outfielder Travis McAndrews (L.A. Harbor College) and right-handed pitcher Clayton Wentworth (St. Mary's University - Texas).

'Recruiting classes are normally evaluated once you know who is coming to school,' said Gillespie. 'We are genuinely excited by this class. It measures with the top groups we have ever had at USC.'

'I think a great tool is the ability to attract and keep good players based on the success we have had here,' said Dave Lawn, USC assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator. 'It's remarkable, given the history of the draft, that we were able to keep two second-round selections considering that virtually everyone in the top 10 rounds signs.'

Here are brief biographies on the key players:

Matt Chico, LHP/OF, San Diego (Fallbrook HS) -- Chico hit .419 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI for Fallbrook High in his junior year. He was named the Avocado League Player of the Year and also earned All-CIF honors. He batted .406 in his sophomore season, earning first team All-Avocado League honors. Chico had a 1-0 record with a 6.75 ERA and also hit .435 (10-for-23) with five RBI for the 2001 United States Junior National Team.

Kris Cox, OF, Breckenridge, CO (Mississippi) -- Cox batted .280 with three home runs and 21 RBI last year for the Rebels. Ole Miss had a 39-23-1 record and made its second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years. He started in 43 of 60 games last year and was also the starting center fielder in all six games for Baseball Canada's Senior National Team at the 2000 A Qualification Tournament for the 2001 World Cup.

David Gordon, 1B/3B, Sacramento (Sacramento City College) -- Gordon batted .342 last year for the Panthers and led the team in home runs (11), RBI (46) and stolen bases (17). He batted .278 with two home runs and eight RBI durning the 2001 state playoffs.

J.P. Howell, LHP, Sacramento (Jesuit HS) -- Howell recorded a 10-0 record with a 0.09 ERA in his senior year for Jesuit High. He struck out 137 batters in 71 innings 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. He made five appearances for the 2001 U.S. Junior National Team, including a start in the championship game in the Pan American Tournament in Cuba. Howell had a 0.93 ERA with Team USA (9.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 18 SO).

Travis McAndrews, OF, El Segundo (L.A. Harbor College) -- McAndrews earned All-American honors last year as a sophomore at Harbor, batting .413 with nine home runs, 52 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He also earned first team all-conference, all-Southern California and all-state honors. Harbor went 36-8-1 and won the conference championship with a 20-4 mark.

Joey Metropoulos, 3B, San Diego (Monte Vista HS) -- Metropoulos batted .396 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI in his junior year for Monte Vista High. He earned All-CIF and all-league honors and was a member during the summer of the Encinitas Reds, which won the national championship at the 2000 Connie Mack World Series.

Jay Nichols, IF, Irvine (University HS) -- Nichols batted .558 with three home runs and 43 RBI in his junior year for University High. He earned first team All-CIF, all-county and all-league honors as well as being named as Irvine's co-most valuable player.

Clayton Wentworth, RHP, San Antonio, TX (St. Mary's University) -- Wentworth went 9-0 with a 1.43 ERA as the No. 1 pitcher for the Division II national champions last year. He made 11 starts in 14 appearances, throwing four complete games with two shutouts. In 79 1/3 innings, Wentworth allowed 41 hits, walked 58 and struck out 94 batters with a .160 opponents' batting average against him.

The Trojans finished with a 45-19 record last season, including their second straight appearance at the College World Series (the 21st in school history) and winning the Pac-10 Conference championship with an 18-6 record.

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