Trojans Battle No. 3 Arizona State This Weekend At Dedeaux Field
March 25, 2003
LOS ANGELES - The USC baseball team (13-13, 1-2 Pac-10) - winner of 12 NCAA championships, more than twice as many as any other school - will begin a nine-game homestand, beginning on Tuesday (March 25) against Fresno State (14-13) in a non-conference game at 6 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. The Trojans will host No. 3 Arizona State (32-5, 1-2) in a Pac-10 Conference series, beginning on Friday (March 28) at 6 p.m. with 1 p.m. starts for Saturday (March 29) and Sunday (March 30). All four games will be broadcast live, along with Gametracker play-by-play on usctrojans.com.
RANKINGS - Arizona State is ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today Sports Weekly/ESPN, No. 3 by Baseball America and No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball. USC and Fresno State are not ranked in any polls.
FRESNO STATE NOTES - Fresno State is 14-13 on the season after taking two of three last weekend at home against Minnesota. Head coach Mike Batesole is 14-13 in his first season at Fresno State. The team is batting .268 while its pitching staff has a 4.95 ERA. Junior third baseman Casey McGehee is batting .369 with a home run and 13 RBI. Tuesday's starter Toby Girazian is making his first start of the season and has a 3.75 ERA (12 IP, 15 H, 3 BB, 6 SO, .313 opponents' batting average). USC leads the all-time series with Fresno State by a 40-23 margin. The Trojans defeated the Bulldogs, 8-0, in the last meeting between the two schools at the 2001 NCAA First-Round Regional championship game at Dedeaux Field to advance to the NCAA Super Regional.
ARIZONA STATE NOTES - No. 3 Arizona State is 32-5 on the season and lost two of three at home against Stanford last weekend to open Pac-10 Conference play. This weekend represents the first road games for Arizona State since Feb. 6 as the Sun Devils have played 25 straight games at home. Head coach Pat Murphy is 338-169-1 in his ninth season at Arizona State. The team is batting .348 while its pitching staff has a 3.31 ERA. The Sun Devils set a school record with a 31-2 start this season. First baseman Jeff Larish is batting .381 with 11 home runs and 58 RBI. Probable starter Erik Averill is 6-0 on the season with a 2.20 ERA (45 IP, 38 H, 11 ER, 10 BB, 35 SO, .226 opponents' batting average). USC leads the all-time series with Arizona State by an 84-82 margin. The Trojans have not lost a home series against the Sun Devils since 1993 when ASU swept USC.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans went 2-2 with a 12-4 non-conference win at San Diego and losing two of three at Arizona to open Pac-10 Conference play (12-2, 5-6, 3-16). MARCH 23 AT ARIZONA - Arizona pounded out 19 hits to earn its first series win against USC since 1993. Brad Boyer went 4-for-5 with three RBI while Nick Hundley was a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBI. Richie Gardner improved to 6-0 on the season with eight strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. MARCH 22 AT ARIZONA - After the Trojans tied the game with four runs in the seventh, the Wildcats' Brad Boyer hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth for the game-winner. Boyer went 3-for-5 for Arizona. Jeff Clement hit his 14th homer of the season for the Trojans. Brian Bannister gave up five runs, but finished his start of eight innings by retiring 13 straight batters. MARCH 21 AT ARIZONA - Jeff Clement hit two home runs as part of an eight-run third inning as the freshman catcher went 3-for-5 with a season-high five RBI. The Trojans collected a season-high 17 hits and led 12-0 after the fifth inning. Freshman Bobby Paschal earned the win by allowing only two runs on two hits in six innings of work. Freshman Michael Cooper earned the save with three scoreless innings in relief. MARCH 18 AT SAN DIEGO - Joey Metropoulos went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI in the Trojan victory. Jon Brewster hit two doubles while Jeff Clement went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
PAC-10 PRESEASON POLL - In a preseason poll of the Pac-10 coaches, USC was picked to finish first in the conference. USC (six first-place votes) was picked to win the conference followed by Arizona State (two first-place votes), Stanford, California (one first-place vote), Arizona, UCLA, Washington, Oregon State and Washington State.
BASEBALL HALL OF FAME - On Feb. 1, the USC Baseball Hall of Fame opened to the public for the first time. The Hall of Fame is the final part of the $4 million Dedeaux Field renovation project that includes a new locker room, seating pavilion on the first base side and stadium seating. All 12 national championship trophies will be permanently displayed as well as the awards won by former Trojan and current Chicago Cub pitcher Mark Prior during his 2001 national player of the year season.
COACH'S CORNER - Mike Gillespie, in his 17th season as the Trojans' head coach, has a 658-369-2 (.640) career record and has led USC to the 1998 national championship, five conference titles (1991, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002), 14 trips to the NCAA Regionals in 16 years (reaching the regional finals 12 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 four times (1991-95-96-2002) 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.
PATCHWORK PITCHING - The USC pitching staff has battled through a number of problems in the 2003 season. A total of seven players who pitched for the Trojans last year did not pitch in the first part of the season due to various reasons: Anthony Reyes (right elbow injury), Brett Bannister (right elbow injury), Jon Williams (right elbow injury), Jordan Olson (team suspension), Matt Chico (academics), Cory Campos (academics) and J.P. Howell (transferred to Texas). Williams returned to the mound on March 18 at San Diego and Olson has also returned. Brett Bannister is slated to make his first appearance on April 8 against San Diego. Reyes is out indefinitely.
PHRESHMAN PHENOM FROM IOWA - Catcher Jeff Clement (Marshalltown, Iowa/Marshalltown HS) earned national attention last year when he set the national high school career mark with 75 home runs. Clement strugged at the start of the season with a 1-for-15 streak, but broke out during the South Alabama series with a 7-for-12 effort. During the series, he hit four home runs and eight RBI (two home runs on Friday and two on Saturday), which earned him Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honors. He is batting .316 (30-for-95) on the season and leads the team in home runs (14) and RBI (30). He hit a three-run homer in the first on Feb. 25 in a 6-4 win against UC Irvine and hit a two-run home run in the first on March 4 in a 7-2 win against UNLV. On March 11 at Pepperdine, he went 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI in a 9-6 victory. His 11th homer came on March 14 against No. 5 Cal State Fullerton with a leadoff homer in the seventh inning to tie the game at 1-1 (USC won the game, 3-2). During the week of March 18-23, he went 7-for-16 (.438) with three home runs, a double and nine RBI, along with five walks and eight runs scored against San Diego and Arizona, earning him Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honors for the second time this season. On March 21 at Arizona, he hit two home runs in the same inning as the Trojans scored eight runs in the third.
OOPS, I DID IT AGAIN - Jeff Clement became the first Trojan since Jason Lane (April 24-25, 1999, vs. Arizona State) to record back-to-back multi-home run games. Clement hit two home runs, including his first collegiate homer, in a 10-2 win on Feb. 14 against No. 23 South Alabama at Dedeaux Field and hit two more the following night. For his efforts, Clement was named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week.
CHASING BIG MAC - Freshman Jeff Clement has shown an affinity for hitting home runs in the 2003 season. He is chasing Mark McGwire's school record of 32 home runs, set in 1984. If he hits at least 15 home runs this season, he would break into the school top 20 list and be the first freshman ever to accomplish the feat. His 0.54 home runs per game currently places him in the NCAA top 20 all-time single season home runs per game list.
HR Games HR per gameMark McGwire (1984) 32 67 0.48Jim Campanis (1988) 23 62 0.37Geoff Jenkins (1995) 23 70 0.33Morgan Ensberg (1998) 21 66 0.32Jason Lane (1999) 20 62 0.32Jeff Clement (2003) 14 26 0.54
PUT ME IN, COACH - This season, 12 of Jeff Clement's 14 home runs have occurred when he was the starting catcher while he has hit only two when he was the designated hitter. As the starting catcher, he is batting .397 with 12 home runs and 26 RBI while batting just .156 with two home runs and four RBI as the designated hitter.
CENTER OF ATTENTION - Senior centerfielder Travis McAndrews (El Segundo/El Segundo HS) is quietly putting together a strong season for the Trojans. He leads the team in batting with a .330 (33-for-100) average with three home runs and 16 RBI. He had a team-high 15-game hitting streak snapped on March 14 against No. 5 Cal State Fullerton. On Feb. 9 vs. Long Beach State, McAndrews went 2-for-5 with a double, home run and three RBI. This season, he has registered eight multi-hit games, including three-hit performances on Feb. 28 at Stanford and Feb. 16 vs. South Alabama.
SUPERMAN IN METROPOULOS - Sophomore designated hitter Joey Metropoulos (Jamul/Monte Vista HS) will have a bullseye on his back after a stellar freshman season that earned him Baseball America Freshman All-America honors. This season, he is batting .316 (31-for-98) with five home runs and 19 RBI. He hit his fifth homer of the season, along with four RBI, in a 12-4 win on March 18 at San Diego. Metropoulos, a 16th-round selection by the Detroit Tigers in the 2001 draft, batted .352 (68-for-193) with 13 home runs and 65 RBI during his 2002 freshman season. On May 26 at UCLA, he went 3-for-5 with a season-high seven RBI with a double and home run. He showed his power with 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.
JUMPING OUT AT J ROB - Joey Metropoulos hit home runs in back-to-back games on March 7 and 8 at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium and now has six home runs in nine games in his career against the Bruins.
LUNAR ECLIPSE - It has taken two years for senior Anthony Lunetta (Riverside/Arlington HS) to fully recover from a right elbow injury, but the Trojans' starting shortstop is healthy for the 2003 season. This season, Lunetta is batting .309 (30-for-97) with four home runs and 12 RBI. He had a season-high eight-game hitting streak snapped on March 14 against No. 5 Cal State Fullerton. He went 6-for-11 (.545) with two home runs and four RBI during the Stanford series (Feb. 28-March 2). Lunetta was named as the Pac-10 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year and earned Collegiate Baseball All-America first team honors in his 2000 freshman campaign after batting .343 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI. He also led the Trojans with a .545 batting average (6-for-11) at the 2001 College World Series.
PHRESHMAN PHENOM FROM CALIFORNIA - Left-handed pitcher Bobby Paschal (Northridge/Chaminade HS) pitched his way into a prominent position after strong fall practices. On the season, he is 2-3 with a 2.98 ERA (42 1/3 IP, 30 H, 14 ER, 11 BB, 44 SO, .190 opponents' batting average). He pitched two scoreless innings in relief in the Trojans' season opener on Feb. 4 at UC Santa Barbara and followed with another 2 1/3 scoreless innings on Feb. 14 against No. 23 South Alabama. On Feb. 23 at No. 9 Baylor, Paschal threw the first complete game since Rik Currier went the distance in the 2001 NCAA Super Regional against Florida International. Against Baylor, he took the loss despite going eight innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts. On March 14 against No. 5 Cal State Fullerton, he went seven innings in a no-decision against the Titans. Paschal allowed only one run (unearned) on three hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts. He struck out three straight batters in a row three times and struck out the side in his seventh and final inning.
COMMISSIONER GORDON - Senior David Gordon (Sacramento/Kennedy HS/UC Davis/Sacramento CC) is second on the team behind Jeff Clement with six home runs on the season. Gordon is batting .286 (22-for-77) with 11 RBI. On March 14 against No. 5 Cal State Fullerton, he led off the Trojans' eighth with a lead off home run to center on the first pitch for the game-winning run as USC won, 3-2. He opened the 2003 season with a 2-for-4 performance with a home run in the Trojans' 5-2 win at UC Santa Barbara.
BREWSTER'S MILLIONS - Junior Jon Brewster (Sherman Oaks/Notre Dame HS) moved to second base after playing as the starting third baseman last year for the Trojans. This season, Brewster is batting .286 (28-for-98). He had an eight-game hitting streak snapped on Feb. 22 at Baylor. On Feb. 4 in the season opener, he hit a two-run homer in a 5-2 win at UC Santa Barbara. Brewster hit two doubles on Feb. 9 in a 12-7 win against Long Beach State.
THE BANNISTER BOYS - Junior Brian Bannister and sophomore Brett Bannister (Paradise Valley, Arizona/Chaparral HS) have made a name for themselves on the USC pitching staff. Brian is 3-3 this season with a 4.34 ERA (47 2/3 IP, 54 H, 23 ER, 10 BB, 26 SO, .293 opponents' batting average). On Feb. 15 against No. 23 South Alabama, Brian pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. He did not pitch in 2002 after right elbow surgery, but is healthy now after going 4-4 with a 2.80 ERA and five saves (54 2/3 IP, 40 H, 21 BB, 56 SO) in his 2001 sophomore season. His brother, Brett, went 8-3 last year as a freshman with a 3.56 ERA (86 IP, 80 H, 32 BB, 76 SO). Brett has not pitched all season with a strain in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, but is expected to make his first appearance on April 8 against San Diego. Both are the sons of Floyd, the former No. 1 draft pick out of Arizona State and major-league pitcher. Brian also pitched in the 2000 College World Series, becoming the second father-son tandem to pitch in the CWS.
MAN ON THE MOON - Junior Michael Moon (Alta Loma/Rancho Cucamonga HS) is the starting third baseman this year after spending his 2002 sophomore season as the Trojans' starting shortstop. Moon started the season with a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .257 (26-for-101) for the season with two home runs and 12 RBI. On Feb. 16, Moon went 3-for-5 with his first home run of the season and two RBI in a 9-5 win against No. 23 South Alabama. Last year, Moon earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors after batting .336 with eight home runs and 60 RBI. He made a name for himself after his freshman season, batting .313 with six home runs and 35 RBI. Moon went 7-for-13 (.538) with a triple, home run and five RBI at the 2001 NCAA Regional to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. He also stole home during the regional on May 25, 2001, vs. Oral Roberts and delivered one of the most electrifying moments in the history of Dedeaux Field on May 26 against Pepperdine. Down 3-2 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.
QUARTERBACKING THE OUTFIELD - Freshman Billy Hart did something on March 8 that has never happened during Mike Gillespie's 17-year tenure at USC. Hart, who is a reserve quarterback on the USC football team, participated in an 11 a.m. spring football practice and then drove to UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium to play in the 1 p.m. game. Without any batting practice, Hart was inserted into the game in right field in the sixth inning and finished 0-for-2 at the plate.
FIRST BASE COACH - When USC volunteer assistant coach and first base coach Rob Klein was ejected prior to the start of the Feb. 9 game against Long Beach State, Mike Gillespie decided to use an ace in the hole in the form of sophomore infielder Dale Legaspi (Burbank/Crespi HS). Legaspi is 1-0 as the Trojans' first base coach after USC registered a 12-7 win against the 49ers.
TROJANS ON THE NET - All USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on www.usctrojans.com. USC students Ethan Rector, Scott Swords and Randy Ferrell will handle the majority of the broadcasts while baseball sports information director Jason Pommier will handle selected road games.
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 eight 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 (29).
2002 SEASON RECAP - The USC Trojans finished the 2002 season with a 37-24 overall record, winning their second straight Pac-10 Conference title with a 17-7 mark. The Trojans went 3-0 at home in the NCAA Regional before falling to Stanford in the NCAA Super Regional. Catcher Alberto Concepcion earned All-America second team honors after being named Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year.
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), 38 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 89 players have gone on to play in the majors, including such stars as Randy Johnson, Mark McGwire, Aaron Boone, Bret Boone, Jeff Cirillo, Barry Zito, Geoff Jenkins, Jacque Jones, Mark Prior, Tom Seaver, Fred Lynn, Roy Smalley and Ron Fairly.