USC Opens Pac-10 Conference Play At Home Against No. 2 Arizona
March 17, 2008
Upcoming Games ScheduleThursday, March 20 vs. No. 2 Arizona - Dedeaux Field - 7:00 p.m.LHP Tommy Milone (2-1, 2.13) vs. RHP Preston Guilmet (2-1, 2.70)Friday, March 21 vs. No. 2 Arizona - Dedeaux Field - 7:00 p.m.RHP Kevin Couture (1-0, 3.24) vs. LHP David Coulon (4-0, 2.28)Saturday, March 22 vs. No. 2 Arizona - Dedeaux Field - 1:00 p.m.RHP Ryan Cook (2-1, 5.04) vs. TBAAll times local All games broadcast on www.usctrojans.comRankings based on Baseball America
LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team (9-8) begins Pac-10 Conference play this weekend by hosting No. 2 Arizona (12-2) at Dedeaux Field, Thursday-Saturday (March 20-22). Thursday and Friday's games will begin at 7 p.m. with the series finale on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. All three games will be broadcast live via video webcast, along with Gametracker live stats, on usctrojans.com and TrojanTV All-Access.
NO. 2 ARIZONA NOTES -- Arizona is 12-2 on the season after winning two of three at home last weekend against Cal State Fullerton. Head coach Andy Lopez is 222-143-1 in his seventh season at Arizona. The Wildcats are batting .334 as a team with a 3.38 staff ERA. Diallo Fon leads the team with a .450 batting average (18-for-60) while C.J. Ziegler is batting .333 (18-for-54) with eight home runs and 22 RBI. Thursday starter Preston Guilmet, the 2007 Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year, is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA (26 2/3 IP, 21 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 33 SO, .214 OBA). USC leads the all-time series with Arizona by a 109-91-1 margin.
THE POWER OF EIGHT -- The number eight has bode well for USC baseball in the past with five of its 12 national titles coming in years that ended with the fortunate number: (1948, 1958, 1968, 1978 and 1998).
TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with live video webcasts for every home game, courtesy of Trojans' All-Access.
NICE TO MEET YOU -- USC is facing three schools for the first time ever in the program's history: Bethune-Cookman, Southern and Winthrop.
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER -- It was a strong summer for the Trojans in various leagues. A total of six Trojans played in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League as junior pitcher Tommy Milone was named the league's most valuable player. Shortstop Grant Green led Yarmouth-Dennis to the league title by hitting two home runs in the first game of the championship series. Sophomore righty Kevin Couture posted a 0.90 ERA in 30 innings for Chatham.
Junior outfielder Nick Buss was named to the Alaska League Postseason All-Star Team after leading the league in batting average (.369) and stolen bases (29) while sophomore catcher Keith Castillo led the Alexandria Beetles of the Northwoods League in home runs with eight. Senior outfielder/third base Roberto Lopez battined .300 and led the Santa Barbara Foresters with 24 stolen bases while sophomore outfielder Mike O'Neill batted .322 with 21 stolen bases for the Palm Springs Power.
FAMOUS RELATIVES -- Senior outfielder Will Rice is the cousin of NFL star wide receiver, Jerry Rice. Freshman first base/pitcher Jordan Hershiser's father Orel was the major league pitcher, who led the Los Angeles Dodgers to a World Series title in 1988.
IT'S A TWO-WAY STREET -- USC has six position players this season who can also pitch: catcher Robert Stock, infielder Hector Rabago, infielder A.J. Johnson, infielder Jordan Hershiser, outfielder Vinnie St. John and outfielder Anthony Vasquez.
SIZE MATTERS -- Five players on the 2008 roster are 6-6 or taller: freshman first base/pitcher Jordan Hershiser (6-8), senior first base Mike Roskopf (6-6), freshman first base Mac Sullivan (6-6), junior pitcher Philip Urso (6-6) and freshman pitcher Chris Mezger (6-10). Mezger wears the same jersey number (51) as another former 6-10 Trojan pitcher, Randy Johnson.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK -- A total of 19 newcomers stock the Trojans' roster for the 2008 season, including two transfers in senior first baseman Mike Roskopf (Prescott, Ariz./North Carolina State) and sophomore infielder Billy Pinkerton (San Marino/Cal State Fullerton). Roskopf hit 13 home runs for the Wolf Pack last season.
Freshman Joe De Pinto (Sunland/St. Francis HS) has been the Trojans' starting second baseman while pitchers Jeff Grijalva (San Clemente/San Clemente HS), Chris McCaffery (Hillsborough/St. Ignatius HS) and Ryan Cabral (Norwalk/Don Bosco Tech HS) are making contributions out of the bullpen.
TROJANS PICKED SEVENTH IN PAC-10 -- USC was picked to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference, according to the preseason coaches poll. The Trojans were slotted behind Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon State, California and Stanford and ahead of Washington State and Washington.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- During the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 96 former players have made it to the majors.
The 2007 season proved to be a tremendous year for USC as 18 former Trojans played at least one game in the major leagues or were on a roster (Brian Bannister, Aaron Boone, Matt Chico, Jeff Cirillo, Jeff Clement, Morgan Ensberg, Randy Flores, Ron Flores, Geoff Jenkins, Randy Johnson, Jacque Jones, Ian Kennedy, Jason Lane, Chad Moeller, Eric Munson, Mark Prior, Anthony Reyes and Barry Zito).
KREUTER'S KORNER -- On June 2, 2006, Chad Kreuter became just the fourth head baseball coach at USC in the past 77 years. Kreuter was named head coach after his father-in-law, Mike Gillespie, announced his retirement. Kreuter took the position after starting the 2006 season as the manager for the Modesto Nuts of the California League, the single A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Last season, USC went 27-29 overall in Kreuter's first season as head coach. He spent the 2005 season as director of operations for the USC baseball program after retiring from the major leagues. In a career that spanned 17 seasons, Kreuter played in a total of 944 games with a .237 career average, 54 home runs, 274 RBI and .990 fielding percentage. He started with the Texas Rangers in 1988 and later played with the Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, Anaheim Angels, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Dodgers. His best season came in 1993 with Detroit, batting .286 (107-for-374) with 15 home runs and 51 RBI. During his career, Kreuter worked with top-flight pitchers such as Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Eric Gagne, Kevin Brown, Charlie Hough, Frank Tanana, Bill Gullickson, Walt Terrell, James Baldwin, Chuck Finley, Mark Langston, Robb Nen, Kenny Rogers and Chan Ho Park. He played collegiately at Pepperdine for three seasons (1983-85).
TOP FIVE RE-KREUTER -- First-year head coach Chad Kreuter picked up the nickname 'Ruh' after capping the 2007 recruiting class with catcher/pitcher Robert Stock. Baseball America rated USC's class as the third-best in the nation behind Baylor and South Carolina while the class was rated No. 5 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. Baseball America also ranked the top five newcomers in the Pac-10 Conference with two Trojans being named: Stock at No. 1 and shortstop Grant Green at No. 3. With new recruiting coordinator Doyle Wilson aboard this year, the Trojans have already compiled another top five class for 2009. Student Sports has slotted USC's class as the third-best in the nation with top shortstop Tim Beckham (Griffin, Ga.) headlining the group.
HOG HEAVEN -- Doyle Wilson joins USC after seven seasons as the head coach at Chandler-Gilbert (Ariz.) Community College. With a lengthy scouting background, Wilson compiled a 255-140 record at Chandler-Gilbert. He was a two-time all-conference catcher at Arkansas and played for the Razorbacks in the 1985 College World Series. Along with his recruiting coordinator duties, Wilson will be in charge of the hitters as well as being USC's third-base coach this season.
FULL HOUSE -- Wilson is one of two new assistant coaches for the program this season. Tom House, who pitched for the Trojans in 1967, returns to Troy as the pitching coach. After spending eight seasons in the major leagues, House was the pitching coach for three major league teams before becoming the founder and CEO of the famed National Pitching Association in San Diego. His principles are based in three-dimensional motion analysis, mental and emotional profiles and nutritional assessments.
NO, I'M NOT THAT DIRECTOR GUY -- Not to be confused with the famed director, Tim Burton is in his second season as an assistant coach with the USC baseball program. Along with running USC's baseball camps, he also handles the infielders and outfielders. As the staff's designated volunteer assistant coach, Burton currently teaches at USC as a part of the physical education department. He served as an assistant coach for Dennis Rogers at Riverside Community College during three straight state titles (2000-02).
TOMMY, CAN YOU HEAR ME -- Junior left-hander Tommy Milone (Saugus/Saugus HS) is 2-1 this season with a 2.13 ERA (25 1/3 IP, 23 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 25 SO, .235 OBA). He took his first loss of the season on March 14 at No. 9 Long Beach State despite allowing just two runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. At Winthrop on March 7 in a game that was halted in the sixth due to fog, Milone threw five innings and allowed one earned run with nine strikeouts. He threw eight scoreless innings in the Trojans' home debut on Feb. 29 against Bethune-Cookman, allowing two hits with a walk while tying a career high with nine strikeouts. Against the Wildcats, he retired the final 13 batters he faced and did not allow a runner past second base. He opened the season by going five innings on Feb. 24 at Florida International, where he allowed three earned runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts for a no-decision.
He is coming off an amazing summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League, where he won the 2007 B.F.C. Whitehouse Award as the league's top pitcher. He tied for the league lead in wins, going 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA. He was one of four CCBL pitchers to record a shutout and in 52 1/3 innings, he allowed only seven walks while striking out 46 batters. Early in the CCBL schedule, he earned Coca-Cola Pitcher of the Week honors with two starts and 15 innings. Against Orleans, he allowed just two hits and struck out six while giving up just one earned run and no walks. In his next start against Cotuit, he threw his complete game shutout by striking out nine and allowing just one walk.
MILONE (2007) -- Milone went 3-7 with a 6.17 ERA during his sophomore season. In 15 starts and 77 1/3 innings, he allowed 101 hits with 19 walks and 59 strikeouts. He turned in a career performance on May 14 at No. 14 Arizona with seven scoreless innings. He allowed just five hits with a walk and career-high nine strikeouts to earn the victory. Despite a loss at No. 18 UC Irvine on April 17, he allowed just one earned run in seven innings with five hits, one walk and six strikeouts. Milone struck out six in six innings on Feb. 6 at Loyola Marymount for his second win, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks. He opened the 2007 campaign with a win against Cal Poly on Jan. 30, going six innings and allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts. During the summer of 2006, he went 5-1 with a 2.61 ERA and two saves for the Wenatchee AppleSox of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League. With eight starts and 11 appearances, he threw 51 2/3 innings and allowed 44 hits, 15 earned runs, walked 10 and struck out 36. He also went 20-for-105 at the plate, batting .190 with 11 RBI.
MILONE (2006) -- In his freshman season, Milone went 7-4 with a 4.94 ERA in 16 starts and started with a 7-0 record. In 98 1/3 innings (second-most on the team), he allowed 126 hits and 54 earned runs while walking 21 and striking out 55. He had only one start out of 16 where he allowed more than two walks. He made his collegiate debut on Feb. 4 against No. 22 Long Beach State where he threw four scoreless innings, allowing three hits. He earned his first collegiate win on Feb. 7 at UC Riverside with 4 1/3 innings in relief. He allowed just two runs in six innings with five strikeouts and no walks in a win against No. 15 San Diego at USC's Public Storage Baseball Classic. On March 12 against No. 16 Stanford, he threw seven innings and allowed two runs to get the win and allowed two runs again in eight innings on April 1 at Stanford in the second game of a doubleheader.
COUTURE OF DUTY -- Sophomore right-hander Kevin Couture (Coronado/Coronado HS) is spending time this season as a starter after being a reliever last year for the Trojans. He is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA this season (25 IP, 22 H, 9 ER, 9 BB, 20 SO, .237 OBA). He threw seven innings and allowed just one run on March 8 at Winthrop, giving up just four hits. On Feb. 26 at San Diego State, the hometown native made his collegiate debut and sparkled with six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with three walks and six strikeouts. He made two appearances during the FIU series (Feb. 22-24), allowing one run and one hit in 2 1/3 innings with two strikeouts.
Couture went 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in 15 appearances last summer for the Chatham A's of the Cape Cod Baseball League. In 30 innings, he allowed 16 hits with seven walks and 26 strikeouts.
COUTURE (2007) -- In his freshman season, Couture went 2-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 25 appearances. In 37 1/3 innings, he allowed 42 hits with 16 walks and 45 strikeouts with opponents hitting .290 against him. He earned his first collegiate win on Feb. 17 at San Diego State with 1 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits. He also threw two perfect innings with three strikeouts on Feb. 6 at Loyola Marymount.
LOPEZ DISPENSER -- Senior outfielder/third baseman Roberto Lopez (La Mesa/Rancho Bernardo HS) has played three seasons with the Trojans and is making the most of his final season. He is batting a team-leading .424 (28-for-66) this season with six doubles, one home run, 13 RBI and four stolen bases. He had a career-high 13-game hitting streak earlier this season and has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games. Lopez is hitting .469 in his last 12 games. During the Winthrop series (March 7-9), he collected six hits with two doubles and led off Saturday's game with a solo home run. He went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI against Southern on March 1 during a nationally-televised ESPN2 broadcast. In a 2-0 win against Bethune-Cookman on Feb. 29, he recorded the Trojans' first run in the 8th with an RBI single.
As a 2005 freshman, Lopez made 32 starts in 53 games and batted .264 with one home run and 21 RBI.
LOPEZ (2007) -- Lopez hit a career-high .313 last year (26-for-83) with 10 RBI and four stolen bases. He recorded a season-high three RBI in a 2-for-3 day on May 25 against Stanford and had three hits on March 4 at Georgia.
CODE NAME: COBRA -- Junior first baseman Derek Perren (Chatsworth/Granada Hills HS/L.A. Pierce College) gets the nickname from hitting left-handed and wearing the same uniform number as Dave Parker, the former Pittsburgh Pirates' right fielder who won the 1978 National League MVP award. This season, he is batting .367 (22-for-60) with two home runs and 12 RBI. For the week of March 9, Perren led the Trojans with a .611 batting average (11-for-18) and posted five multi-hit games in a row against Pepperdine (No. 24 nationally by Rivals.com) and Winthrop. He went 4-for-9 (.444) with two doubles and two RBI in the FIU series (Feb. 22-24).
Last season, Perren did not commit an error in 158 chances at first base for the Trojans. He batted .246 (15-for-61) in 13 starts and 34 games.
GREEN ACRES: THE PLACE TO BE -- Sophomore shortstop Grant Green (Anaheim Hills/Canyon HS) starts the season on the Brooks Wallace Award Watch list after earning Rivals.com and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honors last year. This season, he is batting .302 (13-for-43) with a home run and 11 RBI. Currently, he has a six-game hitting streak where he is hitting .370 for the Trojans. Against No. 9 Long Beach State on March 15, he went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and four RBI. He collected his 11th career triple with a two-run three-bagger on March 8 at Winthrop. Green went 1-for-3 with two RBI in the 2008 opener at Florida International, but missed six games with a strained muscle in his upper back before making a start on March 2 against UCLA.
During the summer, he batted .291 (37-for-127) with four home runs and 12 RBI for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Green led the Red Sox to the league title by hitting two home runs in the first game of the CCBL championship series and was rated as the No. 18 CCBL prospect by Baseball America.
GREEN (2007) -- Green was named Pac-10 Conference Co-Freshman of the Year after starting every game for the Trojans, batting .316 (72-for-228) with two home runs, 24 RBI and six stolen bases. He set a USC single-season record with 10 triples, breaking the previous record of eight held by Ed Simpson (1953), Gerald Mason (1954) and Steve Kemp (1975). He finished the season with a streak of 17 games without committing an error, along with a 13-game hitting streak while hitting safely in 27 of his last 29 games. He led the team with 21 multi-hit games. He went 6-for-14 (.429) at No. 15 Arizona, including a 3-for-5 day on May 14 and hit .500 (6-for-12) during the UCLA series (April 13-15). On March 27 at UC Riverside, he hit a double and triple in an 8-3 win. He hit his first collegiate home run on Feb. 18 at San Diego State, part of a 3-for-6 day with two RBI. Green opened the season with a triple in his first two games. He was the first freshman to start for USC at shortstop since Seth Davidson for the 1998 national championship season. Before his collegiate career, Green was a member of the 2005 U.S. Junior National Team, batting .412 with six RBI and two stolen bases at the 2005 Pan-Am Championships.
CHILI CON CARNE -- Sophomore center fielder Nick Buss (Clinton Township, Mich./De La Salle HS/San Diego Mesa CC), whose middle name is Chili, is batting .269 (18-for-67) with two home runs, 10 RBI and six stolen bases. Buss opened the season with an 8-for-15 performance (.533) at Florida International (Feb. 22-24) with a double, two home runs and seven RBI. He had three hits in his first two games and then hit a key three-run homer in a six-run eighth to help secure the series sweep.
He was named last summer to the Alaska Baseball League Postseason All-Star Team after leading the league for the Peninsula Oilers with a .369 batting average and 29 stolen bases. He played in 42 games for the Oilers, going 58-for-157 with six doubles, a league-leading five triples, two home runs and 23 RBI while posting a .445 on-base percentage.
BUSS (2007) -- Buss finished his 2007 sophomore season with a .290 batting average (53-for-183) with one home run, 13 RBI and six stolen bases. He had a season-high four hits on May 20 at California. He recorded two doubles on April 5 at No. 9 Oregon State. He hit his first home run as a Trojan on Feb. 13 at Pepperdine with an opposite-field solo shot. On Feb. 6 at Loyola Marymount, he recorded his first three-hit game for the Trojans. He was selected in the 35th round of the 2006 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
STOCK MARKET -- Sophomore catcher/right-handed pitcher Robert Stock (Westlake Village/Agoura HS) made national headlines after he bypassed his senior year in high school to join the Trojans as a 17-year-old freshman last year. This season, he is batting .298 (17-for-57) with two home runs and eight RBI. He is 6-of-19 for throwing out baserunners (31.6%) as a catcher. On the mound, he has made three appearances and with three innings of work, he has registered seven strikeouts. He had a 3-for-3 day on March 9 at Winthrop and hit his second homer of the season with a solo shot on March 5 against Pepperdine. He hit his first homer of the season on Feb. 23 at Florida International and pitched a perfect ninth inning in USC's 9-3 victory, recording back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
Last summer, he batted .228 (28-for-123) for Cotuit in the Cape Cod Baseball League with five doubles, four home runs and 20 RBI. On the mound, he made nine appearances and had an 0-1 record with a 7.88 ERA and three saves.
STOCK (2007) -- In his freshman season, Stock batted .253 (38-for-150) with four home runs and 22 RBI. On the mound, he went 2-2 with a 4.55 ERA and two saves in 14 appearances (29 2/3 IP, 25 H, 15 ER, 14 BB, 25 SO, .238 opponents' batting average). He hit his fourth homer of the season on May 16 against UC Santa Barbara along with a season-high three RBI. He recorded a win in the Georgia series (March 2-4 in Athens, Ga.) with 2 2/3 innings of relief in the March 4 victory and hit a home run in Friday's game. Stock recorded his first win on the mound with 2 1/3 no-hit innings on Feb. 24 against No. 21 Tulane. During the weekend series against No. 17 San Diego (Feb. 9-11), Stock recorded two saves as well as hitting his first collegiate home run in a pinch-hit duty on Feb. 10. He made his first collegiate appearance on Feb. 9, going two innings and giving up only one hit with a strikeout. On Feb. 11 in the Trojans' 4-3, 10-inning win, Stock started as the catcher (throwing out two runners at second) and got the call to go on the mound in the 10th inning, recording the final two outs for the save.
MAN IN A BOX -- Sophomore right-hander Brad Boxberger (Tustin/Foothill HS) will look to put up the same numbers he did in his freshman campaign. He is 1-0 this season with a 4.09 ERA (11 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 6 BB, 12 SO, .268 OBA).
In the season opener on Feb. 22 at Florida International, he threw three scoreless innings before allowing a four-run fourth inning. He struck out five batters while scattering six hits.
He went 1-0 with a 1.24 ERA this summer for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Rated as the No. 24 overall prospect in the league by Baseball America, he threw 29 innings in six starts and allowed 15 hits with 11 walks and 26 strikeouts.
BOXBERGER (2007) -- Boxberger earned Rivals.com Freshman All-America second team honors after being the team's No. 1 starter. He went 3-5 with a 3.20 ERA (90 IP, 78 H, 32 ER, 37 BB, 72 SO, .234 opponents' batting average). Despite a 5-2 loss on May 12 at No. 14 Arizona, he allowed three runs on seven hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings. On April 20 at Washington, he went seven innings and allowed only one run on three hits with nine strikeouts for the win at Washington. At No. 9 Oregon State on April 6, he earned the win with seven strong innings where he allowed just one run on three hits with five strikeouts. Despite the loss to No. 17 Arizona State on March 24, he struck out a season-high nine batters. On March 10 at Stanford, he allowed only one run on six hits in the no-decision. He recorded his first collegiate win on March 3 at Georgia by going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. On Feb. 11 at No. 17 San Diego, he threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed four hits with four walks and three strikeouts. He allowed four unearned runs in his collegiate debut on Feb. 3 at Long Beach State, going five innings and allowing four hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON -- It was easy for Brad Boxberger to decide where to go to school since his father, Rod, was an All-American pitcher at USC. Rod went 12-1 with a 2.00 ERA for USC's national championship team in 1978 and was the most valuable player at the College World Series.
REMEMBER THE ALAMO -- Sophomore outfielder/pitcher Anthony Vasquez (San Antonio, Texas/Texas A&M) adds another two-way player to the lineup. He is batting .361 (13-for-36) with two home runs, nine RBI and three stolen bases while posting an 1-1 record and a 3.29 ERA on the mound (13 2/3 IP, 14 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO, .275 OBA). His best start as a pitcher came on March 5 against Pepperdine (ranked No. 24 by Rivals.com) with a career-long 7 2/3 innings, allowing just one run with no walks and seven strikeouts. He went 5-for-11 (.455) with two doubles, a home run, four RBI and three stolen bases in the season-opening series at Florida International (Feb. 22-24). On Feb. 23, he also came into the game as a reliever and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings where he allowed just one hit.
VASQUEZ (2007) -- He batted .196 (11-for-56) with eight RBI and two stolen bases. On the mound, Vasquez went 4-6 with a 5.16 ERA and 12 starts (75 IP, 92 H, 24 BB, 43 SO, .301 opponents' batting average). His second win of the season came on March 14 against Portland where he registered his third quality start in a row, going seven innings and allowing just one run on five hits. He earned his first win as a Trojan on Feb. 27 against Loyola Marymount with seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. In a pinch-hit appearance on Feb. 18 at San Diego State, Vasquez hit a three-run double as the Trojans rallied with four runs in the inning. In his 2006 freshman season at Texas A&M, Vasquez went 0-1 on the mound with a 3.78 ERA and two saves while batting .231 (3-for-13) with two RBI. In 23 appearances as a pitcher, he threw 33 1/3 innings while allowing 37 hits, nine walks and 25 strikeouts with opponents batting .270 against him.
STOP AND RABAGO -- Sophomore infielder/right-handed pitcher Hector Rabago (Riverside/Poly HS) is scheduled to be one of USC's co-closers this season along with teammate Robert Stock. He normally starts at third base and will enter the game as a pitcher when needed. He opened the season with a five-game hitting streak.
This season, he is batting .359 (23-for-64) with three home runs and 13 RBI. During the opening series at Florida International, Rabago was forced to make two starts at shortstop with an injury to Grant Green. He made the most of it by hitting two home runs and a triple on Saturday and finished the weekend by hitting .636 (7-for-11) with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and four RBI.
RABAGO (2007) -- In his freshman season, Rabago went 2-1 on the mound with a 5.10 ERA and one save while batting .232 with two home runs and 10 RBI. As a pitcher, he appeared in 19 games (30 IP, 31 H, 14 BB, 24 SO). He threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings on May 14 at No. 14 Arizona to record his first collegiate save and earned his first collegiate win on Feb. 23 against No. 2 Tulane with 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit in the 8-5 victory. As an infielder, he made 14 starts in 18 games. He hit his first collegiate home run on April 5 at No. 9 Oregon State.
ROSKOPF MEDICINE -- Senior transfer Mike Roskopf (Prescott, Ariz./North Carolina State) is batting .322 (16-for-45) this season with four doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI. Primarily used as a designated hitter, the 6-6 left-hander has aided the Trojans' resurgence in the power-hitting department. He went 5-for-8 in back-to-back games on March 8-9 at Winthrop. He started the season with a 7-for-14 weekend (.500) at Florida International (Feb. 22-24). He opened his USC career with a 3-for-5 day, including a grand slam, on Feb. 22 at Florida International.
Last season, he batted .316 with 13 home runs for the Wolfpack.
IRON CHEF -- Junior right-hander Ryan Cook (Clovis/Clovis HS) is a two-year starter who will again be a part of the Trojans' starting rotation this season. This season, he is 2-1 with a 5.04 ERA (25 IP, 28 H, 14 ER, 6 BB, 17 SO, .283 OBA). On March 9 at Winthrop, he threw seven innings for the win and allowed just one run on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts. He made his first career relief appearance on Feb. 29, pitching a perfect ninth inning to pick up his first save against Bethune-Cookman. He pitched two innings the next evening against Southern. He went six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits with a walk and a strikeout in his 2008 debut on Feb. 23 at Florida International. He pitched a perfect ninth on Feb. 29 against Bethune-Cookman to get his first collegiate save in his first career relief appearance.
Last summer as a member of the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League, he went 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA on eight starts. In 47 innings, he allowed 38 hits, 18 walks and struck out 43 batters.
COOK (2007) -- Cook finished the season with a 7-4 record and 5.06 ERA (90 2/3 IP, 114 H, 51 ER, 27 BB, 52 SO). In seven innings on April 28 against Washington State, he gave up four runs on seven hits to earn the victory. He went eight innings and scattered eight hits while allowing just two runs for the win on April 21 at Washington. On March 2 at Georgia, Cook allowed three unearned runs on nine hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He recorded his first complete game as a Trojan on Feb. 16 against San Diego State, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts. His first win came on Feb. 9 against No. 17 San Diego, going seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits. He did not figure in the decision on Feb. 2 in USC's 2-1 win against Long Beach State (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO).
COOK (2006) -- Cook spent the majority of his 2006 freshman season as a weekend starter, going 4-4 with a 5.97 ERA. In 13 starts, Cook threw 69 1/3 innings and allowed 93 hits with 34 walks and 31 strikeouts. His fourth win of the season came on April 8 against California, going seven innings and giving up two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. His longest stint of the season came on April 2 at Stanford with 8 1/3 innings with only one run on four hits while striking out five. Cook earned the win on March 19 against No. 13 Oregon State with five innings, allowing one run on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts. He recorded his first collegiate win on March 11 against No. 16 Stanford with 5 1/3 innings of work, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits. He made his collegiate debut on Feb. 5 at No. 22 Long Beach State and did not figure in the decision after allowing three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
FUTURE TROJANS -- Last November, USC signed 10 players for the 2009 season as the class was rated third in the nation by Student Sports. The signees are: outfielder Jay Austin (Atlanta, Ga./North Atlanta HS), shortstop Tim Beckham (Griffin, Ga./Griffin HS), first baseman Beau Brett (Spokane, Wash./Ferris HS), left-handed pitcher Danny Coulombe (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral HS), catcher/outfielder Brandon Garcia (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS), infielder Ashton Kent (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothill HS), first baseman/third baseman/pitcher Ricky Oropesa (Rancho Cucamonga/Etiwanda HS), right-handed pitcher Jon Pettibone (Yorba Linda/Esperanza HS), right-handed pitcher Chad Smith (Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks HS) and right-handed pitcher Michael Tonkin (Palmdale/Palmdale HS).
'We are extremely excited about what will be the first stage of our recruiting class,' said head coach Chad Kreuter. 'We were able to go out and get four front-line arms, an important ingredient with the new condensed schedule. All four guys have projectable arms with velocities in the low 90s. The trio of Pettibone, Smith and Tonkin all have a very high ceiling and Coulombe might have the best left-handed breaking ball around. I think the commitment of Tim and Jay says a lot about what we are doing here now. This is the first time we have been able to recruit kids from the South. The signing of Tim and Jay out of Georgia will open the doors for us in places where we had typically been locked out. We will continue to hit the southern California area very hard, but will not shy away from the top out-of-state players.'
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 (1995-1998-2000-2001), winning their 12th CWS title in 1998. USC has the second-most wins (74) at the CWS and is third for most appearances (21). The Trojans also have the highest winning percentage for all teams (.740) that have played at least 20 games at the CWS.
DEDEAUX FIELD: EXTREME MAKEOVER -- One of Chad Kreuter's first tasks as head coach was to make Dedeaux Field one of the top collegiate facilities on the West Coast. The traditional red-colored outfield wooden fence was torn down in 2007 and replaced with a safer chain-linked fence which is covered by green padding. The 2008 season will add the RDRBI (Rod Dedeaux Research for Baseball Institute) and a brand-new Daktronics scoreboard with video capabilities to Dedeaux Field. A plan is currently in the works to modernize the field lighting system as well.
TROJAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME -- On Feb. 1, 2003, the USC Baseball Hall of Fame opened to the public for the first time. The Hall of Fame was the final part of a $4 million Dedeaux Field renovation project that included a new locker room, seating pavilion on the first base side and stadium seating. All 12 national championship trophies are permanently displayed as well as the awards won by former Trojan and current San Diego Padres' pitcher Mark Prior during his 2001 national player of the year season. Prior made a sizable donation to help complete the project. The major league uniforms of former Trojans are also on display.
THE 'OTHER' HALLS OF FAME -- Former USC pitcher Tom Seaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with a 98.8% vote, which remains the highest percentage ever for an inducted member. In the summer of 2006, legendary coach Rod Dedeaux was a member of the inaugural class for the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Texas. Another USC addition was made in 2007 when former outfielder Fred Lynn is inducted. He appeared on three consecutive USC national championship squads (1971, 1972 and 1973) and had a career .320 average with 28 home runs and 111 RBI. He also earned 1971 All-College World Series honors for the Trojans.