Baseball Earns No. 3 Preseason Ranking By Collegiate Baseball

Dec. 23, 2002

LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team is ranked No. 3 in the 2003 Collegiate Baseball 'Fabulous 40' pre-season poll released today. Collegiate Baseball also announced its pre-season All-Americans, placing senior shortstop Anthony Lunetta and sophomore first baseman Joey Metropoulos on the third team.

USC returns six starting position players and 10 pitchers from last year's squad that finished with a 37-24 overall record, reaching the NCAA Super Regional. The Trojans won their second straight Pac-10 Conference title with a 17-7 mark.

Lunetta is healthy for the 2003 season after batting .271 last year with one home run and 24 RBI and will be the Trojans' starting shortstop this season. Metropoulos earned Freshman All-America honors after batting .352 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI. Both players are part of a group of returners that include right-hander Anthony Reyes (4-2, 3.44 ERA, 65 1/3 IP, 49 SO), sophomore right-hander Brett Bannister (8-3, 3.56 ERA, 86 IP, 76 SO) and junior third baseman Michael Moon (.336-8-60, 12 stolen bases).

This year's squad also features another strong group of newcomers including freshman catcher Jeff Clement, who set the national high school record of 75 career home runs last year, and freshman left-hander/first baseman Bobby Paschal, who is expected to get considerable playing time.

National defending champion Texas was ranked No. 1 by the pre-season poll, followed in the top ten by Florida State, USC, Rice, Georgia Tech, LSU, Cal State Fullerton, South Carolina, Stanford and Houston.

The Trojans begin the 2003 season on Feb. 4 at UC Santa Barbara. All games will be carried live on usctrojans.com.

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