Baseball Recruiting Class Gets Nod As Best In The Nation

Oct. 8, 2001

LOS ANGELES -- Collegiate Baseball has named USC as having the top recruiting class in the nation for the second time in three years. The annual survey rates the recruiting classes based on the quality of freshmen, junior college transfers and other transfers.

Head Coach Mike Gillespie and recruiting coordinator/assistant coach Dave Lawn registered a major coup in the 2002 class, including two left-handed pitchers who were drafted in the second round of the June draft: J.P. Howell (Atlanta Braves) and Matt Chico (Boston Red Sox). Both Howell and Chico were members of the 2001 USA Junior National Team.

Freshman third baseman Joey Metropolous (Spring Valley/Monte Vista HS) was a 17th-round selection by the Detroit Tigers and freshman infielder Jay Nichols (Irvine/University HS) will also help with depth.

The Trojans' outfield improved with the addition of three transfers: Kris Cox from the University of Mississippi, David Gordon from Sacramento City College and JC All-American Travis McAndrews from L.A. Harbor College.

Adding to the strength of the pitching staff is transfer Clayton Wentworth from St. Mary's University (Texas). Wentworth was the No. 1 pitcher for St. Mary's with a 9-1 record and led the team to the Division II national championship.

USC returns five position players and eight pitchers from last year's squad that finished with a 45-19 record and the Pac-10 Conference championship. The Trojans made their 21st appearance at the College World Series, making back-to-back appearances in Omaha for the first time since the 1973 and 1974 seasons.

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