Trojans Complete Nine-Game Homestand This Week
April 8, 2003
LOS ANGELES - The USC baseball team (15-16, 2-4 Pac-10) - winner of 12 NCAA championships, more than twice as many as any other school - will continue a nine-game homestand on Tuesday (April 8) against San Diego (17-21) in a non-conference game at 5 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. The Trojans will then host UCLA (17-18, 3-3) in a Pac-10 Conference series, beginning on Friday (April 11) at 6 p.m. with 1 p.m. starts for Saturday (April 12) and Sunday (April 13). All four games will be broadcast live, along with Gametracker play-by-play on usctrojans.com.
RANKINGS - USC, San Diego and UCLA are not ranked in any polls.
LEXUS GAUNTLET - The battle for the Lexus Gauntlet trophy encompasses a season-long all-sports competition between USC and UCLA in which the Trojans and Bruins compete against each other in 18 sports. Five points are awarded to the winner of the each sport's season series or, for those sports that don't meet head-to-head, the team that places higher in the conference championship (10 points are awarded in football, men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball). UCLA has the lead after taking two of three games against USC on March 7-9 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Five points are at stake this weekend with USC needing two wins to split the season series or a series sweep to gain all five points. The Southern California Lexus Dealer Association is the title sponsor of every USC-UCLA athletic competition. This is the first time the two universities have partnered with a corporate entity for complete rivalry sponsorship. In the fall of 2001, the schools signed a 4-year contract of undisclosed terms with Lexus, America's best-selling luxury automotive manufacturer for two years in a row.
SAN DIEGO NOTES - San Diego is 17-21 on the season after being swept at home last weekend by Pepperdine. Head coach Rich Hill is 153-119-2 in his fifth season at San Diego. The team is batting .287 while its pitching staff has a 5.54 ERA. Junior outfielder Joey Prast leads the team with a .371 average with eight home runs and 39 RBI. USC leads the all-time series with San Diego by a 14-2 margin. The Trojans defeated the Toreros, 12-4, on March 18 in San Diego.
UCLA NOTES - UCLA is 17-18 on the season after losing two of three at home last weekend against California. Head coach Gary Adams is 939-780-8 in his 29th season at UCLA. The team is batting .291 while its pitching staff has a 5.13 ERA. Sophomore outfielder Matt Thayer leads the team with a .351 average with five home runs and 30 RBI. USC leads the all-time series with UCLA by a 217-98 margin. The Bruins took two of three from the Trojans in non-conference action from March 7-9 at Jackie Robinson Stadium (7-4, 6-9, 17-5).
LAST WEEK - The Trojans did not play last weekend, but defeated UC Riverside, 9-4, in a non-conference game on April 1 and lost two of three against No. 3 Arizona State in Pac-10 action on March 28-30 (4-11, 6-5, 5-7). APRIL 1 VS. UC RIVERSIDE - Jeff Clement went 3-for-5 with a double and his 15th home run of the season for the Trojans. Fraser Dizard went six innings, allowing only one earned run on three hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. Anthony Lunetta went 2-for-4 to increase his hitting streak to 10 games. MARCH 30 VS. ARIZONA STATE - Ryan Schroyer stopped a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth to earn his seventh save of the season in Arizona State's 7-5 win. With the win, the Sun Devils won a series at Dedeaux Field for the first time since 1993. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Trojans manufactured a run and loaded the bases. With the tying run at second, Schroyer got pinch hitter Darin Vieira to line out to first to end the game. MARCH 29 VS. ARIZONA STATE - USC's Jon Brewster delivered a two-out, bases loaded single in the bottom of the ninth for the win against Arizona State. The win snapped the Trojans' four-game losing streak. Fraser Dizard earned the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief as the Sun Devils stranded 12 runners. Anthony Lunetta went 2-for-5 to increase his hitting streak to eight games as Michael Moon and Spencer Gordon homered for the Trojans. MARCH 28 VS. ARIZONA STATE - Arizona State used a 17-hit attack in a 11-4 win against USC Friday night. Trojan pitchers allowed 14 walks, two away from tying the school record. Dennis Wyrick went 3-for-6 with three RBI as the top four hitters in the Sun Devil lineup went a combined 9-for-19. Brett Bordes (1-0) got the win after facing his only batter in the bottom of the fifth. Anthony Lunetta went 3-for-3 for the Trojans, improving his hitting streak to seven games.
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.
FACING THE BEST - USC head coach Mike Gillespie has always put together a difficult schedule and the 2003 season is no different. So far, the Trojans have played 17 of 31 games against Top 25 opponents and compiled a 7-10 record against those teams.
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). Olson returned to action on March 15 against Cal State Fullerton. Anthony Reyes will make the start on April 8 vs. San Diego while Brett Bannister will also be returning to the mound against San Diego or against UCLA (April 11-13). Williams pitched on March 18 at San Diego and at Arizona, but after further evaluation on his injury will not pitch for the remainder of the season.
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 .333 (39-for-117) on the season and leads the team in home runs (15) and RBI (33). Clement has a nine-game hitting streak, batting .421 (16-for-38) with four doubles, four home runs, seven walks and 12 RBI. 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. He went 3-for-5 with a double, home run (his 15th of the season) and two RBI on April 1 in a 9-4 win against UC Riverside.
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. On April 1 vs. UC Riverside, Clement hit his 15th home run of the season, becoming the first USC freshman ever to accomplish the feat.
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) 15 31 0.48
MOVING UP THE LIST - With his 15th home run on April 1, Jeff Clement broke into USC's all-time single season list for home runs, tying him with three other players:
USC Single Season Home Runs10. Kent Hadley (1956) 17 Dave Hostetler (1978) 17 Walter Dawkins (1994) 1713. Dan Davidsmeier (1981) 16 Mike Robertson (1991) 16 Mark Smith (1991) 16 Robb Gorr (1998) 16 Eric Munson (1998) 1618. Rich Dauer (1974) 15 Geoff Jenkins (1994) 15 Bill Peavey (2002) 15 Jeff Clement (2003) 15
PUT ME IN, COACH - This season, 12 of Jeff Clement's 15 home runs have occurred when he was the starting catcher while he has hit only three when he was the designated hitter. As the starting catcher, he is batting .388 with 12 home runs and 27 RBI while batting just .216 with three home runs and six RBI as the designated hitter.
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 .368 (43-for-117) with five home runs and 16 RBI. He currently has a 10-game hitting streak, batting .525 (21-for-40) with six doubles, a home run and five RBI and has also hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games. He is batting .650 (13-for-20) in his last five games. Lunetta went 8-for-12 against No. 3 Arizona State with a home run and three doubles. 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.
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 (26-for-114) with seven home runs and 25 RBI. On March 25 vs. Fresno State, Metropoulos went 3-for-5 with a double, two home runs and six 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.
CENTER OF ATTENTION - Senior centerfielder Travis McAndrews (El Segundo/El Segundo HS) is quietly putting together a strong season for the Trojans. He is batting .328 (39-for-119) average with three home runs and 18 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.
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 2-4 with a 3.74 ERA (45 2/3 IP, 39 H, 19 ER, 16 BB, 47 SO, .223 opponents' batting average). With his four losses, Paschal has received a combined 10 runs of support from the Trojans' offense. 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.
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 .294 (28-for-98) with three home runs and 13 RBI. Brewster currently has a nine-game hitting streak, batting .325 (13-for-4) with four doubles, a home run and eight RBI. 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.
COMMISSIONER GORDON - Senior David Gordon (Sacramento/Kennedy HS/UC Davis/Sacramento CC) is second on the team behind Jeff Clement with seven home runs on the season. Gordon is batting .280 (26-for-93) with 15 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.
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 4.70 ERA (53 2/3 IP, 62 H, 28 ER, 13 BB, 29 SO, .298 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 .256 (31-for-121) for the season with three home runs and 15 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.