Trojans Look To Keep Pace In Pac-10 Race At California
April 14, 2003
LOS ANGELES - The USC baseball team (18-17, 5-4 Pac-10) - winner of 12 NCAA championships, more than twice as many as any other school - travels to Loyola Marymount (21-16) for a non-conference game on Tuesday (April 15) at 2:30 p.m. The Trojans will then travel to California (20-18, 6-6) in a Pac-10 Conference series, beginning on Thursday (April 17) at 2 p.m. The series will continue on Friday (April 18) at 2 p.m. and Saturday (April 19) at 1 p.m. All four games will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com.
RANKINGS - USC, Loyola Marymount and California are not ranked in any polls.
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT NOTES - Loyola Marymount is 21-16 on the season after being swept last weekend at Pepperdine. Head coach Frank Cruz is 192-196-1 in his seventh season at Loyola Marymount. The team is batting .317 while its pitching staff has a 4.90 ERA. Josh Whitesell leads the team with a .360 average with 10 home runs and 30 RBI. USC leads the all-time series with Loyola Marymount by a 113-18-1 margin. The Lions handed the Trojans their worst loss ever last year at George Page Stadium with a 31-7 defeat on March 19.
CALIFORNIA NOTES - California is 20-18 on the season after being swept at home last weekend against Arizona State. Head coach David Esquer is 108-98 in his fourth season at California. The team is batting .275 while its pitching staff has a 5.29 ERA. Chris Grossman leads the team with a .355 average with six home runs and 33 RBI. USC leads the all-time series with California by a 213-120-2 margin.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans lost a non-conference game at home against San Diego (4-3) before sweeping UCLA in a Pac-10 series (7-6, 7-4, 8-5). USC won its first series since Feb. 14-16 when the Trojans swept South Alabama. Sunday's win was also USC's first since Feb. 16. The Trojans have won nine straight games against the Bruins at Dedeaux Field. APRIL 13 VS. UCLA - Spencer Gordon's second home run in as many days broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the sixth as the Trojans earned the series sweep. Jeff Clement and Joey Metropoulos also homered for the Trojans. Fraser Dizard earned the win with four innings in relief, allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts. APRIL 12 VS. UCLA - Brian Bannister did not allow a run in the first seven innings. Bannister allowed three runs in the eighth inning after the Trojans built a 7-0 lead. He retired the side three times. Anthony Lunetta and Travis McAndrews went 3-for-4 for the Trojans as the team used a 13-hit attack to hand UCLA starter Wes Whisler the loss. APRIL 11 VS. UCLA - Joey Metropoulos scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. UCLA reliever David Johnson threw a wild pitch on the first pitch to pinch hitter Darin Vieira, ending the game. Josh Rummonds earned the win after throwing 6 2/3 innings in relief, allowing only one run on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. The Trojans rallied from a 6-2 deficit, beginning the rally with three runs in the seventh. APRIL 8 VS. SAN DIEGO - Ben Quinto's RBI sacrifice fly in the third proved to be the game-winner for the Toreros. Tony Perez earned the save, leaving the tying run stranded at third in the bottom of the ninth. David Gordon hit a two-run homer for the Trojans. USC's Anthony Reyes made his first start since Feb. 14, allowing three runs on four hits in two innings of work.
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 662-373-2 (.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 35 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 made the start on April 8 vs. San Diego and April 13 vs. UCLA. 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. Brett Bannister will also 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 .353 (47-for-133) on the season and leads the team in home runs (16), RBI (36), runs scored (41), slugging percentage (.759), walks (21) and on-base percentage (.446). Clement has a 13-game hitting streak, batting .444 (24-for-54) with four doubles, five home runs, nine walks and 15 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. On April 13 vs. UCLA, he went 3-for-4 with his 16th home run of the season with a solo shot.
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) 16 35 0.46
MOVING UP THE LIST - With his 16th home run on April 13, Jeff Clement moved into a tie for 13th on USC's all-time single season list for home runs, tying him with three other players:
USC Single Season Home Runs6. Mark McGwire (1983) 197. Brad Ticehurst (1998) 18 Justin Gemoll (2000) 18 Beau Craig (2000) 1810. 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) 16 Jeff Clement (2003) 16
PUT ME IN, COACH - This season, 13 of Jeff Clement's 16 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 .402 with 13 home runs and 29 RBI while batting just .244 with three home runs and seven 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 .351 (47-for-134) with five home runs and 18 RBI and leads the team in doubles (16). He had a season-high 11-game hitting streak snapped on April 11 against UCLA. He is batting .459 (17-for-37) in his last nine 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 .305 (40-for-131) with eight home runs and 30 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. On April 13 vs. UCLA, he hit a three-run homer in the first, his eighth of the season, in an 8-5 win against the Bruins. 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 .333 (44-for-132) 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.
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 .304 (41-for-135) with three home runs and 14 RBI. Brewster had a season-high 10-game hitting streak snapped on April 8 vs. San Diego, but has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games. 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. He went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI on March 18 in a 12-4 win at San Diego.
PHRESHMAN PHENOM FROM CALIFORNIA - Left-handed pitcher Bobby Paschal (Northridge/Chaminade HS) pitched his way into a prominent position after strong fall practices and has spent the last couple of weeks as the team's No. 1 starter. On the season, he is 2-4 with a 4.12 ERA (48 IP, 44 H, 22 ER, 18 BB, 48 SO, .238 opponents' batting average). With his four losses, Paschal 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.
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 4-3 this season with a 4.50 ERA (62 IP, 69 H, 31 ER, 16 BB, 34 SO, .289 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 earned the win on April 12 vs. UCLA on national television by shutting out the Bruins through the first seven innings in a 7-4 victory. 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 will redshirt this season after a strain in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in the fall. 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 .246 (33-for-134) 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.
SPENCER FOR HIRE - Junior Spencer Gordon (Northridge/Chaminade HS) did not make the USC roster in his first two seasons, but proved that the third time was the charm. As the starting left fielder, Gordon is batting .273 (24-for-88) with three home runs and 17 RBI. He went 6-for-9 in the UCLA series at Dedeaux Field (April 11-13) with two home runs, five runs scored and six RBI. His third home of the season on April 13 in the sixth broke a 5-5 tie in the Trojans' 8-5 win.
COMMISSIONER GORDON - Senior David Gordon (Sacramento/Kennedy HS/UC Davis/Sacramento CC) batted .279 (29-for-104) with eight home runs and 18 RBI before a possible season-ending right knee injury on April 12 against UCLA. 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.
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 and Scott Swords 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.