Baseball Returns Home To Dedeaux Field Against Top-Ranked Stanford
March 20, 2002
LOS ANGELES - The USC baseball team (12-10) - winner of 12 NCAA championships, more than twice as many as any other school - will play its first home games of the 2002 season with a non-conference series against top-ranked Stanford (14-5), beginning with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday (March 23) at Dedeaux Field. The series will conclude on Sunday (March 24), also at 1 p.m. The Trojans played 22 games on the road to open the season, due to construction at Dedeaux Field. USC will play 21 of its next 27 games at home.
RANKINGS - Stanford is No. 1 in the latest Baseball America poll and No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball and USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN. USC is not ranked in any polls.
STANFORD NOTES - Stanford is 14-5 on the season and resumes play after a 12-day break. The Cardinal won its series with California on March 8-10, the eighth straight series win dating back to last year. Head Coach Mark Marquess is 1,060-520-5 in his 26th season at Stanford. The Cardinal are batting .339 as a team while its pitching staff has a 3.99 ERA. Right fielder Jason Cooper is batting .455 (30-for-66) with four home runs and 23 RBI. Game 1 starter Jeremy Guthrie has won 10 consecutive decisions and is 5-0 with a 3.07 ERA. USC leads the all-time series with Stanford by a 195-141-2 margin. Stanford won four of six games last year against USC. The Trojans won two of three against the Cardinal last year at Dedeaux Field (2-1, 7-0, 5-9).
LAST WEEK - The Trojans went 4-1 last week winning four in a row before a historical loss at Loyola Marymount. USC recorded wins at No. 20 San Diego, two at Pepperdine and one at San Diego State. MARCH 19 AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT - LMU handed USC its worst loss ever in a 31-7 rout. It was the most runs allowed by the Trojans since records were kept in 1921, along with the largest margin of defeat and most hits allowed (27). Jonathan Oller hit two three-run homers as part of a 10-run seventh inning for the Lions. Eight USC pitchers were used, including backup freshman infielder Dale Legaspi, who allowed a run and three hits in one inning. MARCH 18 AT SAN DIEGO STATE - Travis McAndrews delivered a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the seventh to break a tie in the Trojans' 8-6 win. McAndrews hit a 3-2 pitch with two outs to right off reliever Erik Fielder. Bret Butler recorded the win for the Trojans while Cory Campos registered his first save of the season. Alberto Concepcion hit his fourth homer of the season in the ninth off San Diego State ace Royce Ring. It was the first run allowed by Ring in 13 innings this season. MARCH 17 AT PEPPERDINE - Joey Metropoulos and David Gordon both went 3-for-4 with three RBI in an 18-6 defeat for the Trojans. Metropoulos hit two doubles and a triple. Anthony Reyes made his first appearance of the season, starting for the Trojans and pitching one inning. Freshman Matt Chico got the win, throwing 5 2/3 innings. Chico allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. MARCH 16 AT PEPPERDINE - USC reliever Jon Williams allowed a leadoff single in the fourth and retired the next 18 batters in the Trojans' 5-3 victory. He allowed two hits with no walks and two strikeouts. The Trojans took advantage of four errors by the Waves. MARCH 13 AT SAN DIEGO - Brian Barre went 3-for-5 with two homers and five RBI in a 15-5 rout at No. 20 San Diego. The Trojans scored six in the second and five in the fifth. Freshman J.P. Howell went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts. Shortstop Rafael Torres went 3-for-5 with three RBI.
PAC-10 PRESEASON POLL - In a preseason poll of the Pac-10 coaches, USC was picked to finish second in the conference. Stanford (seven first-place votes) was picked to win the conference followed by USC (two first-place votes), Arizona State, California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington State.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE ROAD - With construction at Dedeaux Field, the Trojans played their first 22 games on the road (the three-game series against Baylor, Feb. 15-17, was played at Dodger Stadium). The $4 million project at Dedeaux Field will add a new clubhouse, players' lounge, expanded coaching offices and Hall of Fame and restrooms. Capacity at Dedeaux Field will be increased to 2,500 with additional seating on the first base side.
ONE CRAZY SEASON - The first two months of the 2002 season has produced some strange moments for the Trojans. Playing the first 22 games on the schedule has produced the following games: FEBRUARY 23 - The Trojans produced 26 runs on 26 hits in a 26-4 win at UCLA. It was the highest output of runs in the all-time series against UCLA, dating back to 1921, and tied the largest margin of victory (22 runs). The Trojans also defeated the Bruins by 22 runs on March 23, 1958 (23-1). The 26 runs tied the most runs since May 25, 1990, when USC defeated Houston, 26-11, at the South I Regional in Baton Rouge, La. The number tied the mark for the third-highest number of runs produced in school history (the school record is 35, set on May 5, 1959, vs. Occidental). Ironically, the Trojans held a 24-0 lead in the seventh inning, three short of the football team's 27-0 shutout against UCLA last November at the Coliseum. The Trojans also scored 10 runs in the second inning, all of them with two outs. They were three runs away from tying the school record for most runs in an inning (13, twice...last time vs. UNC Greensboro on May 26, 1994, at the South Regional in Baton Rouge, La.). MARCH 9 - Travis McAndrews hit a grand slam against Notre Dame at the Express College Classic in the third as the Trojans held an 8-4 lead, going into the bottom of the fourth. The game took a scary turn when Notre Dame freshman shortstop Matt Edwards broke his right leg in a collision with left fielder Matt Bok. The game was suspended for 40 minutes as Edwards was taken to a nearby hospital. The Irish were truly in a fighting mode as the team scored 11 unanswered runs after the delay, including six runs in the ninth for a 15-8 win against the Trojans. MARCH 19 - The final game of the 22-game 'road trip' produced the worst loss ever in USC's history with a 31-7 defeat at Loyola Marymount. The loss produced three school records: most runs allowed in a game, largest margin of defeat and most hits allowed (27). LMU's Jonathan Oller hit two three-run homers as part of a 10-run seventh inning. The Lions added eight more runs in the eighth as USC used eight pitchers. Reserve infielder Dale Legaspi pitched the final inning for the Trojans, allowing one run on three hits. The Trojans also committed five errors on the afternoon. USC was playing its fifth road game in seven days and had played the night before in San Diego, arriving on campus at 1:30 a.m. in the morning before playing 12 hours later at LMU.
COACH'S CORNER - Mike Gillespie, in his 16th season as the Trojans' head coach, has a 620-342-2 (.644) career record and has led USC to the 1998 national championship, four conference titles (1991, 1995, 1996, 2001), 13 trips to the NCAA Regionals in 15 years (reaching the regional finals 11 times), and trips to the 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2001 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.
USC: PITCHING PERFECTION - A member of the Trojans' pitching staff has won the honor of Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year four consecutive years. Seth Etherton (now with the Cincinnati Reds) won the honor in 1998, Barry Zito (Oakland Athletics) in 1999, Rik Currier, who earned Co-Pitcher of the Year honors, in 2000 and Mark Prior in 2001.
PLAYING FOR THE U.S.A. - The Trojans have four players with national team experience. Junior pitcher Anthony Reyes was a member of the 2000 and 2001 USA National Team. Freshman pitchers Matt Chico and J.P. Howell pitched for the 2000 and 2001 USA Junior National Team while junior pitcher Chad Clark pitched on the 1998 USA Junior National Team.
THE CRUSHER - Listed at 5-9, senior Brian Barre (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS) packs a big punch for the Trojans as the starting centerfielder. Barre currently is batting .341 (30-for-88) with six home runs and 22 RBI. He went 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI in the Trojans' 15-5 win on March 13 at No. 20 San Diego. On March 1 against No. 6 Miami, Barre went 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI and went 5-for-13 (.385) with two RBI against Long Beach State (Feb. 8-10). Last year, Barre led the team in batting average (.345), home runs (13), stolen bases (20), slugging percentage (.560) and on-base percentage (.445). He also tied for the team lead with teammate Bill Peavey in RBI (48). For his efforts, he earned All-Pac-10 honors.
REYES OF SUNSHINE - With the loss of pitchers Mark Prior and Rik Currier, the Trojans looked to junior pitcher Anthony Reyes (Whittier/California HS) to assume the No. 1 spot on the weekend rotation. A sore right elbow kept Reyes from pitching until March 17 when he made his first appearance of the season in a limited start (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 SO). He earned 2002 Preseason All-America first team honors by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. As the No. 3 starter on the team, Reyes posted a 5-4 record last year with a 3.72 ERA (109 IP, 111 H, 25 BB, 97 SO) and a 6-6 record with a 4.02 ERA in his 2000 freshman season (96 1/3 IP, 98 H, 45 BB, 86 SO).
CATCH A RISING STAR - Junior catcher Alberto Concepcion (El Segundo/El Segundo HS) has provided some power in the middle of the lineup this season. Concepcion is batting .373 (31-for-83) with eight doubles, one triple, four home runs and 11 RBI. He has a team-high nine-game hitting streak, batting .364 (12-for-33) with three home runs and five RBI. Concepcion went 5-for-11 (.455) with one RBI at Long Beach State (Feb. 8-10) and threw out three runners on six stolen base attempts against him. Before the start of the season, he earned 2002 Baseball America Preseason All-America second team and Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-America third team honors. Last year, he batted .321 with seven home runs and 41 RBI. Defensively, he threw out 26 of 100 runners (26.0 %). He batted .299 in his 2000 freshman season with eight home runs and 22 RBI.
REMEMBER THE ALAMO - Sophomore right-hander Jon Williams (Alamo/Monte Vista HS) has been a key reliever this season in the Trojans' bullpen. Williams is 3-1 this season with a 3.55 ERA and one save (25 1/3 IP, 25 H, 3 BB, 12 SO, .255 opponents' batting average). On March 16 at Pepperdine, he retired the final 18 batters in a row to register the victory, pitching 6 2/3 innings (2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO). He earned his first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor for the performance.
BIG DADDY - Senior first baseman Bill Peavey (Brisbane/Serra HS) is coming off a career season where he batted .305 with seven home runs and 48 RBI, which tied teammate Brian Barre for the team lead. Peavey is batting .308 (24-for-78) this season with three home runs and 17 RBI. He went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI on Feb. 24 in a 6-3 win at UCLA. Peavey hit two home runs on June 9, 2001, against Georgia at the College World Series in Omaha, including one hit over the 30-foot-fence in center field.
MAN ON THE MOON - Sophomore Michael Moon (Alta Loma/Rancho Cucamonga HS) provided a solid freshman season last year, batting .313 with six home runs and 35 RBI. This year, he is batting .289 (22-for-76) with 14 RBI. He went 5-for-13 (.385) with three RBI at Long Beach State (Feb. 8-10), including a 4-for-4 afternoon on Sunday, Feb. 10. Last year, Moon went 7-for-13 (.538) with a triple, home run and five RBI at the NCAA Regional to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. He also stole home during the regional on May 25, 2001, vs. Oral Roberts. He delivered one of the most electrifying moments in the history of Dedeaux Field on May 26 during the NCAA Regional. Down 3-2 against Pepperdine with a runner at first, Moon hit a 1-2 pitch from Noah Lowry over the right field wall for the game-winning walk-off homer to cap a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth.
LUNAR ECLIPSE - Junior second baseman Anthony Lunetta (Riverside/Arlington HS) is looking to continue his strong career at USC and rebound from right elbow surgery in the offseason. He is batting .267 (20-for-75) this season with six RBI and five stolen bases. Lunetta, who earned 2002 Baseball America Preseason All-America second team honors, was named as the Pac-10 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year in his 2000 freshman campaign after batting .343 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI. Last year, he led the Trojans with a .545 batting average (6-for-11) at the College World Series.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH - This season, a combination of freshmen and transfers will add some fresh faces to the Trojans' lineup. Senior transfer Kris Cox (Breckenridge, Colo.) is playing in left field after three seasons at Mississippi. Junior transfers Travis McAndrews (El Segundo/L.A. Harbor JC) and David Gordon (Sacramento/Sacramento CC) will battle for the starting spot in right field. Freshman Joey Metropoulos (Jamul/Monte Vista HS) has been playing as a designated hitter. Junior utility Nick Mosich (Santa Ana/Saddleback College/Notre Dame) has earned a spot in the lineup after a torrid offensive performance in the fall. Freshmen left-handed pitchers Matt Chico (Fallbrook/Fallbrook HS) and J.P. Howell (Sacramento/Jesuit HS), who were both second-round draft selections last year, have made an immediate impact in the starting rotation. With strong pitching as of late, freshman Brett Bannister (Paradise Valley, Ariz./Chaparral HS) is the younger brother of teammate Brian and has earned a spot in the rotation.
SUPERMAN IN METROPOULOS - Freshman Joey Metropoulos has been projected as a power hitter after being drafted in the 17th round of the 2001 draft by the Detroit Tigers. Metropoulos, who has played mostly as the designated hitter this season, is batting .345 (19-for-55) with three home runs and 13 RBI. On March 17 at Pepperdine, he went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI. He hit a pinch-hit three-run homer on March 8 against TCU at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Tx. The homer hit the top of the Round Rock Express' clubhouse in left field, estimated to be around 475-500 feet away from home plate.
MAKING THE TRANSITION - Junior Travis McAndrews has made the switch to Division I baseball after earning All-America honors last year at L.A. Harbor College. McAndrews is batting .288 (17-for-59) with a two home runs and 13 RBI. On March 18 at San Diego State, McAndrews hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer to break a tie in the seventh in the Trojans' 8-6 win. He hit a grand slam against Notre Dame on March 9 at the Express College Classic in Round Rock, Tx. He was the first Trojan to hit a grand slam since Brian Barre on Feb. 3, 2001, vs. Louisville.
GORDON IN A FLASH - Junior David Gordon was sidelined through the first part of the season with a broken right thumb, but has made up for it since making his first appearance on March 5 at UC Irvine. Gordon has made five starts in seven games and is batting .533 (8-for-15) with six RBI. He has walked six times (.636 on-base percentage) and stolen two bases. On March 17 at Pepperdine, he went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the Trojans' 18-6 victory.
BANNY SQUARED - Freshman Brett Bannister has been the most pleasant surprise this season. Bannister is 1-1 on the season with a 3.10 ERA (29 IP, 28 H, 14 BB, 27 SO, .250 opponents' batting average). He made his first collegiate start on Feb. 17 vs. Baylor at Dodger Stadium and threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings (3 H, 2 BB, 5 SO) before leaving the game in the sixth after being struck by a line drive. X-rays were negative and Bannister pitched the following Sunday against UCLA. Bannister recorded his first win on Feb. 12 at UC Riverside (11-7), with 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief (2 H, 1 BB, 4 SO). He and his brother, Brian, who is a junior pitcher for the Trojans, are the sons of Floyd, the former No. 1 draft pick out of Arizona State and major-league pitcher.
CHICO STATE - Matt Chico became the first freshman in head coach Mike Gillespie's 16-year career at USC to start a season opener. Despite picking up the loss on Feb. 8 at Long Beach State, Chico showed promise in the 2-0 defeat by pitching out of several jams. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Chico showed his versatility by being the designated hitter the following day and playing in left field in the series finale on Feb. 10. He is 3-1 on the season with a 3.56 ERA (30 1/3 IP, 36 H, 22 BB, 28 SO, .300 opponents' batting average). Chico earned his first collegiate win on Feb. 22 at UCLA in a 1-0 victory, throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings (5 H, 5 BB, 3 SO). He was selected in the second round (61st overall) by the Boston Red Sox in the 2001 draft.
JEWEL OF A PITCHER - Freshman J.P. Howell showed during his collegiate debut on Feb. 10 at Long Beach State why he was a second-round selection (52nd overall) by the Atlanta Braves in the 2001 draft. Howell went five innings to earn his first win in an 8-5 victory against the 49ers, allowing only one run on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He is 3-3 this season with a 4.78 ERA (26 1/3 IP, 28 H, 15 BB, 17 SO, .283 opponents' batting average). Howell earned his first collegiate win on Feb. 10 at Long Beach State (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 SO). He threw five scoreless innings, allowing four hits with one walk and two strikeouts on Feb. 23 at UCLA to get the win (26-4).
TROJANS ON THE NET - For the first time, all USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on www.usctrojans.com. USC students Ethan Rector, Matt Seigel, Scott Swords and Randy Ferrell will handle the majority of the broadcasts while baseball sports information director Jason Pommier will handle selected road games. If the Trojans reach the post-season, all games will also be broadcast live KMPC 1540 AM, USC's flagship radio station.
OPERATION: OMAHA - From 1948 to 1978, USC dominated the world of college baseball with 11 national championships in 17 appearances at the College World Series (the 1948 CWS was held in Kalamazoo, Mich., with the CWS moving to Omaha, Neb., in 1949). After the 1978 season, the Trojans went through a drought and did not return to Omaha until 1995, when Troy reached the national championship game. Since 1995, the Trojans have made four trips to Omaha in the last seven years (1995-1998-2000-2001), winning their 12th CWS title in 1998. USC has the most wins (74) at the CWS and is second for most appearances (21) behind Texas (27).
2001 SEASON RECAP - The Pac-10 Conference championship, a return visit to the College World Series and perhaps one of the greatest individual seasons in collegiate baseball history highlighted the 2001 season for the Trojans. USC finished with a 45-19 overall record and an 18-6 mark in Pac-10 play, winning the conference title on the final day of the regular season at Oregon State. The Trojans went 5-0 with sweeps at home in the NCAA First Round Regional and NCAA Super Regional to earn their 21st CWS appearance in Omaha. After an opening 11-5 win against Georgia, the Trojans' season ended with losses against eventual national champion Miami (4-3) and Tennessee (10-2). Pitcher Mark Prior turned in one of the best seasons ever, becoming the first Trojan to win the Golden Spikes Award, given by USA Baseball to the top amateur baseball player in the nation. Prior became only the second player in history to sweep every major national player of the year award. He earned first team All-America honors and was drafted No. 2 overall by the Chicago Cubs while senior pitcher Rik Currier earned third team All-America honors. Prior was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year while Currier and outfielder Brian Barre earned All-Pac-10 honors.
TEAM OF THE 20TH CENTURY - No other university can match the collegiate baseball tradition of USC, and it showed when Baseball America awarded the Trojans the title of 'Greatest Program of the 20th Century' in its Feb. 1, 1999 issue. Troy has an unprecedented 12 NCAA championships (no other school has more than five), 37 conference titles and 21 College World Series appearances (second most in the nation). Legendary former coach Rod Dedeaux was named 'Coach of the Century' by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. Trojan players have been named All-American first teamers 80 times, and 85 players have gone on to play in the majors, including such stars as Randy Johnson, Mark McGwire, Bret Boone, Jeff Cirillo, Barry Zito, Geoff Jenkins, Jacque Jones, Tom Seaver, Fred Lynn and Ron Fairly.