Battle In Seattle For NCAA Tournament Spot This Weekend
May 20, 2003
LOS ANGELES - The USC baseball team (28-24, 11-10 Pac-10) - winner of 12 NCAA championships, more than twice as many as any other school - will conclude the 2003 regular season with a non-conference game at Fresno State (28-27) on Tuesday (May 20) at 6 p.m. before traveling to Washington (37-16, 12-9) for a key Pac-10 Conference series starting on Friday (May 23) at 6:30 p.m. The series will continue with 1 p.m. starts on Saturday (May 24) and Sunday (May 25). Baseball sports information director Jason Pommier will handle play-by-play duties for all four games on usctrojans.com.
RANKINGS - USC, Fresno State and Washington are not ranked in any polls.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans went 3-1 with a 5-3 non-conference win at home against Loyola Marymount and winning two of three games in Pac-10 action against Washington State (12-13, 6-1, 9-1). MAY 18 VS. WASHINGTON STATE - The No. 4 Titans scored five runs on one hit to break the game open in the fifth in a game that feature wood bats. Jeff Clement went 2-for-4 with an RBI double off the wall in right center. MAY 17 VS. WASHINGTON STATE - Michael Moon became the first Trojan since 1978 to hit for the cycle. Moon tripled in the first, homered in the second, singled in the fifth and doubled in the seventh to complete the rare baseball feat. Anthony Reyes went 8 2/3 innings, allowing only one run on six hits with seven strikeouts. Bret Butler registered the strikeout to end the game with the bases loaded for his eighth save of the season. MAY 16 VS. WASHINGTON STATE - The Cougars registered their first win at USC since 1969 and snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Trojans. Jay Miller went 4-for-6 with two RBI while Jeremy Farrar went 3-for-6 with two RBI. WSU scored 12 of its 13 runs with two outs. USC freshman Jeff Clement hit three home runs and had seven RBI for the Trojans. MAY 13 VS. LOYOLA MARYMOUNT - John Mayberry, Jr., went 5-for-6 with a home run and six RBI as the Trojans allowed the most runs ever (22) by an opponent at Dedeaux Field. Ryan Garko went 4-for-6 with three RBI. Travis McAndrews went 4-for-5 for the Trojans with two home runs and three RBI.
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 673-380-2 (.639) 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 21 of 52 games against Top 25 opponents and compiled a 7-14 record against those teams.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER - On April 22 vs. UC Santa Barbara, the Trojans were down 10-0 in the fifth inning, but released some Dedeaux Field magic for an incredible comeback. USC scored a run in the fifth and saved its best for the seventh and eighth innings. With only three remaining starters in the lineup, freshman Jason Filarey hit a bases-loaded triple down the right field line in the seventh. In the eighth with two outs and runners at first and second, freshman Ryan Broderick hit the first pitch from UCSB's Justin Segal over the wall in right field for a three-run homer to tie the game. It was Broderick's first collegiate home run. Broderick was the hero again in the bottom of the 10th with an RBI infield single to score freshman Baron Frost for the 13-12 victory. Broderick went 3-for-5 with a home run and career-high five RBI with other strong performances by Filarey (2-4, four RBI) and Frost (3-4, RBI). Trojan pitchers struck out a season-high 18 batters on the evening.
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 has not pitched all season and will redshirt.
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. He is batting .306 (60-for-196) on the season and leads the team in home runs (21), RBI (52), runs scored (51) and slugging percentage (.668). 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. Clement had a season-high 14-game hitting streak snapped on April 17 at California. 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. He hit his 17th homer of the season on April 15 at Loyola Marymount with a three-run shot to left center for the go-ahead runs in the seventh in an 8-5 win and added his 18th of the season on April 27 in a 12-2 win at Oregon State. Clement registered three home runs in the May 16th game against Washington State to push his season total to 21 homers.
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.
HAT TRICK - On May 16 in a 13-12 loss to Washington State, Jeff Clement belted three home runs and had a season-high seven RBI. He hit a solo home run, two-run homer and grand slam to become the first Trojan since Morgan Ensberg (April 28, 1998, vs. San Diego State) to record three home runs in a game.
CHASING BIG MAC - 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) 21 52 0.40
MOVING UP THE LIST - With his 21st home run on May 16, Jeff Clement moved into a tie for fourth on USC's all-time single season list for home runs, tying him with Morgan Ensberg (1998) and needs two to move into a tie for second behind school-record holder Mark McGwire, who hit 32 homers in 1984:
USC Single Season Home Runs1. Mark McGwire (1984) 322. Jim Campanis (1988) 23 Geoff Jenkins (1995) 234. Morgan Ensberg (1998) 21 Jeff Clement (2003) 21
PUT ME IN, COACH - This season, 18 of Jeff Clement's 21 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 .329 with 18 home runs and 44 RBI while batting just .245 with three home runs and eight 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 has been healthy for the 2003 season. This season, Lunetta is batting a team-leading .343 (68-for-198) with six home runs and 29 RBI and leads the team in doubles (21). He had a season-high 11-game hitting streak snapped on April 11 against UCLA. 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.
SETTING THE MARK - On March 18, Anthony Lunetta set a school career record with his 59th double, surpassing the record held by Gabe Alvarez (1993-95) with 58. He has 72 career doubles and leads the team this season with 21 doubles. Lunetta is also climbing the lists for other career marks. He currently has 283 hits as a Trojans, good for second place (Seth Davidson-312). Lunetta also has 194 career runs, second behind Seth Davidson with 201, and 132 career walks, third behind Murph Proctor (141) and Bret Boone (136).
SUPERMAN IN METROPOULOS - Sophomore designated hitter Joey Metropoulos (Jamul/Monte Vista HS) returns after a stellar freshman season that earned him Baseball America Freshman All-America honors. This season, he is batting .325 (63-for-194) with nine home runs and 38 RBI. He went 2-for-3 with a solo home run in a 2-1 win on Apr. 29 at UC Irvine. 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. He went 8-for-12 (.667) in the Washington State series (May 16-18) with four doubles and three RBI, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI on May 18. 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 added one more on April 13 at Dedeaux Field (his only one at home) for a total of seven home runs in 12 career games against the Bruins.
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 .319 (59-for-185) with four home runs and 25 RBI. Brewster had a season-high 10-game hitting streak snapped on April 8 vs. San Diego and 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.
CENTER OF ATTENTION - Senior centerfielder Travis McAndrews (El Segundo/El Segundo HS) is batting .301 (58-for-193) average with five home runs and 29 RBI. On May 3 against No. 9 Stanford, McAndrews went 4-for-5 with two home runs and three 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.
REYES OF SUNSHINE - Senior pitcher Anthony Reyes (Whittier/California HS) missed two months with a sore right elbow, but is back in the rotation after earning Baseball America Preseason All-America third team honors. This season, he is 2-3 with a 4.32 ERA (41 2/3 IP, 45 H, 20 ER, 8 BB, 32 SO, .273 opponents' batting average). His best outing of the season came on May 17 against Washington State when he went 8 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. He held the Cougars scoreless through seven innings before allowing a solo home run in the eighth. On April 26 at Oregon State, Reyes went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts. He took the loss in his first appearance of the season on Feb. 7 vs. Long Beach State, going 4 2/3 innings and allowed four hits, four runs (all unearned), no walks and six strikeouts. Despite missing the early part of the 2002 season with soreness in his right elbow, Reyes registered a 4-2 record with a 3.44 ERA (65 1/3 IP, 69 H, 17 BB, 49 SO) and earned All-Pac-10 honors. Reyes was also a member of the 2000 and 2001 USA National Team.
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 .272 (55-for-202) for the season with six home runs and 24 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. He went 4-for-6 with an RBI on April 15 at Loyola Marymount. Moon also hit for the cycle (see: Full Moon Cycle) on May 17 against Washington State. 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.
FULL MOON CYCLE - On May 17 vs. Washington State, Michael Moon became the first Trojan since Dave Engle (March 22, 1978, vs. Texas A&M) to hit for the cycle. Moon led off the bottom of the first with a triple down the right field line, homered in the second, singled in the fifth and doubled in the seventh to complete the rare baseball feat.
TRUE FRESHMAN STARTER - Left-handed pitcher Bobby Paschal (Northridge/Chaminade HS) pitched his way into a prominent position after strong fall practices and spent several weeks as the team's No. 1 starter. On the season, he is 3-6 with a 4.57 ERA (69 IP, 67 H, 35 ER, 29 BB, 67 SO, .250 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.
RUMMAGE SALE - Junior left-hander Josh Rummonds (La Selve Beach, Calif/Palma Merenti HS) earned his first Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week honor after getting the win in relief on April 11 against UCLA. Rummonds pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing only one run on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He is 5-3 with a 4.68 ERA this season.
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 6-5 this season with a 4.30 ERA (90 IP, 99 H, 43 ER, 21 BB, 54 SO, .283 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. Bannister earned his first Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honor after throwing a complete game on May 18 against Washington State, allowing one run on four hits with a walk and career-high eight 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 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.
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 .252 (36-for-143) with three home runs and 20 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.
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. He is batting .237 (19-for-80) with a home run and four RBI this season. On April 26 in game one of a doubleheader at Oregon State, Hart hit his first collegiate home run with a solo shot to left in a 4-3 victory.
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 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.
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 was the Trojans' first base coach after USC registered a 12-7 win against the 49ers. After Klein could not make the Oregon State trip, Legaspi was called upon to serve as the first base coach again as the Trojans recorded the series sweep (April 26-27). He also entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning on April 27.
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.