USC Reaches Halfway Mark Against Cal State Northridge, Oregon
April 7, 2009
Upcoming Games ScheduleTuesday, April 7 vs. Cal State Northridge - Dedeaux Field - 6:30 p.m.RHP Kevin Couture (3-2, 5.93) vs. RHP Bryan Longpre (0-1, 10.22)Thursday, April 9 vs. Oregon - Dedeaux Field - 6:30 p.m.RHP Brad Boxberger (2-3, 2.66) vs. LHP Tyler Anderson (2-3, 3.25)Friday, April 10 vs. Oregon - Dedeaux Field - 6:30 p.m.RHP Andrew Triggs (2-1, 4.64) vs. RHP Erik Stavert (3-2, 3.04)Saturday, April 11 vs. Oregon - Dedeaux Field - 1 p.m.RHP Robert Stock (2-1, 3.16) vs. RHP Alex Keudell (0-1, 2.60)All times local All games broadcast on www.usctrojans.comRankings based on Baseball America
LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team (13-14, 4-5) reaches the halfway mark of the regular season with a nonconference game on Tuesday (April 7) at home against Cal State Northridge (13-17). The Trojans then host Oregon (12-17, 2-4) in a Pac-10 Conference series, Thursday-Saturday (April 9-11). Thursday and Friday's game will start at 6:30 p.m. with a 1 p.m. start on Saturday. All four games will be broadcast through a live video webcast on usctrojans.com.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE NOTES -- Cal State Northridge is 13-17 on the season after being swept last weekend at Cal Poly. Head coach Steve Rousey is 129-236-1 in his seventh season at Cal State Northridge. The Matadors are batting .290 as a team with a 5.44 staff ERA. Richard Cates is batting .398 (49-for-123) with a home run and 17 RBI. USC leads the all-time series with Cal State Northridge by a 49-20 margin.
OREGON NOTES -- Oregon, which is playing its first season after reinstating the program after three decades, is 12-17 on the season and 2-4 in Pac-10 play after dropping two of three games at home last weekend against Stanford. Head coach George Horton, who won a national championship as head coach at Cal State Fullerton, is 12-17 in his first season at Oregon. The Ducks are batting .238 as a team with a 3.53 staff ERA. Cale Tommasini is leading the Ducks with a .312 average (34-for-109) with two home runs, seven RBI and 13 stolen bases. Friday starter Tyler Anderson is 2-3 with a 3.25 ERA (44 1/3 IP, 45 H, 16 ER, 21 BB, 39 SO, .260 opponents' batting average). USC leads the all-time series with Oregon by a 16-2 margin. This is USC's first meeting with Oregon since 1974 when the Ducks played at Dedeaux Field in the inaugural season for the stadium.
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.
HITTING A TRIPLE IN CLASS -- 13 members of USC's 35-man roster earned a 3.0 grade-point-average or higher during the 2008 fall semester: Beau Brett, Daniel Cooper, Danny Coulombe, Garret Houts, Ashton Kent, Alex Kurland, Chris Mezger, Billy Pinkerton, Hector Rabago, Kevin Roundtree, Vinnie St. John, Alex Sherrod and Andrew Triggs.
SIZE MATTERS -- Four players on the 2009 roster are 6-6 or taller: sophomore pitcher Chris Mezger (6-10), freshman pitcher Ben Mount (6-7), sophomore first baseman Mac Sullivan (6-6) and senior pitcher Philip Urso (6-6). Mezger wears the same jersey number (51) as another former 6-10 Trojan pitcher, Randy Johnson.
HOME COOKING -- USC opened the 2009 season with 19 of 23 games at home, including 13 straight games from March 10-29. USC opened Pac-10 Conference play at Dedeaux Field against UCLA (March 21-23) and Arizona State (March 27-29).
The 13-game homestand is the longest since USC played 10 straight home games in 2006. USC played a 15-game homestand during the 1976 season.
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 State, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State, Arizona and Cal and ahead of Washington State, Washington and Oregon.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 96 players had made it to the major leagues.
During the 2008 season, a total of 14 former Trojans played at least one game in the major leagues or were on a roster (Brian Bannister, Aaron Boone, Matt Chico, Jeff Clement, Morgan Ensberg, Randy Flores, Geoff Jenkins, Randy Johnson, Jacque Jones, Ian Kennedy, 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. He posted a 28-28 record last year and a 27-29 record in his first season. 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 recruiting coordinator Doyle Wilson, the Trojans compiled another top five class for 2009. Student Sports slotted USC's class as the third-best in the nation.
HOG HEAVEN -- Doyle Wilson is in his second season at USC as assistant coach 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. Wilson is the recruiting coordinator and works as lead hitting coach.
FULL HOUSE -- Tom House, who pitched for the Trojans in 1967, is in his second season 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.
TAKING ANOTHER CRUZ -- Frank Cruz begins his second tour of duty at USC after 12 seasons as head coach at Loyolar Marymount (1997-2008). Cruz served as assistant coach at USC from 1993-96 under former head coach Mike Gillespie. He was an assistant coach for Team USA in 2000 and served as head coach in 2004, guiding the squad to the program's first-ever gold medal at the FISU World University Championships in Taiwan.
GREEN ACRES: THE PLACE TO BE -- Junior shortstop Grant Green (Anaheim Hills/Canyon HS) begins the 2009 season rated as the nation's top shortstop by several publications. He was named 2009 preseason first team All-American by Baseball America, Rivals.com and Collegiate Baseball and second team by the NCBWA.
Green is batting .375 (36-for-96) this season with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs, 12 RBI and nine stolen bases. He needs two triples to break into the Pac-10 Conference career top ten list for triples. As of April 7, he has a seven-game hitting streak where he is batting .500 (15-for-30).
He went 3-for-3 with his 17th career triple on March 28 against No. 3 Arizona State. He recorded back-to-back three-hit games (March 15 and 16 vs. Winthrop). He snapped a hitless streak to start the season on Feb. 22 with a solo home run against Long Beach State.
FUTURE TOP-TEN PICK? -- As of Feb. 6, Baseball America projects Grant Green to be selected second overall in the 2009 major league baseball draft. If Green is selected in the top 10 picks, he would become the sixth USC player since 1995 to be selected in that group (Geoff Jenkins, 9th in 1995; Eric Munson, 3rd in 1999; Barry Zito, 9th in 1999; Mark Prior, 2nd in 2001 and Jeff Clement, 3rd in 2005).
SUMMER SENSATION -- Green batted .348 (56-for-161) with six home runs and 21 RBI for the Chatham A's of the Cape Cod Baseball League. His .348 average was fourth in the league as he was among the league leaders in most offensive categories. He was second in the league for runs scored (37) and slugging percentage (.537) and third in hits (56), doubles (12) and extra-base hits (19). His .451 on-base percentage was the fifth-highest in the league and was 10-for-13 in stolen bases.
Green earned the Robert A. McNeece Outstanding Pro Prospect Award as the league's top pro prospect with former award winners including Mark Teixeira, Billy Wagner, Robin Ventura and Ron Darling. He was the starting shortstop for the East Division at the All-Star Game and named as CCBL All-Star Game most valuable player for the East squad after hitting a game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning as the East would go on to win, 8-6.
GREEN (2008) -- Green earned Rivals.com and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honors last year after batting .390 (80-for-205) with 15 doubles, five triples, nine home runs, 10 stolen bases and 46 RBI. On May 4 against Washington, Green set the USC career record with his 14th triple, passing the previous record of 13 held by Mark Smith (1989-91) and Seth Davidson (1998-2001). He recorded a career-high 19-game hitting streak which was snapped on May 3. From April 11-18, Green hit a home run in four of five games. He went 4-for-6 with a personal-best three doubles and a home run on April 15 at No. 15 Cal State Fullerton. He collected eight hits in the series at No. 23 UCLA (April 4-6), including a 4-for-4 day on April 5. He was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI on March 28 at No. 1 Arizona State. 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.
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 also earned Rivals.com and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honors. 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. 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. 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.
STOCK MARKET -- Junior 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 .264 (23-for-87) with four doubles, three triples, three home runs and 23 RBI. Behind the plate, he has thrown out 11 of 30 baserunners (36.7%). On the mound, he is 2-1 with a 3.16 ERA and three saves (25 2/3 IP, 17 H, 9 ER, 9 BB, 33 SO, .189 opponents' batting average).
He registered USC's first complete game of the season, allowing three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts in a 7-3 win on April 5 at Arizona. Stock made his first collegiate start as a pitcher on March 29 against No. 3 Arizona State and got the win after allowing two runs on four hits in five innings while striking out 10 batters.
At the plate, he recorded a triple and four RBI on April 3 at Arizona. His bases-loaded triple in the eighth aided a comeback for the Trojans on March 25 in the first game of a doubleheader against Brown as USC won, 7-4. After catching for 7 2/3 innings on March 6 at Tulane, he went on the mound with the tying run at third and recorded the out. He went on to earn the save with a scoreless ninth in the 4-2 win. He had two key RBI and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the save on Feb. 28 in a 6-4 win against Western Carolina. He recorded three hits, including a two-run single, on Feb. 21 in a 4-0 shutout at Long Beach State. In the season opener on Feb. 20 at Dedeaux Field against Long Beach State, he had two hits, threw out two runners behind the plate and pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.
STOCK (2008) -- Stock batted .299 (53-for-177) with four home runs and 22 RBI as a sophomore. He is 22-of-57 for throwing out baserunners (38.6%) as a catcher. On the mound, he was 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA and three saves (10 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 17 SO, .237 OBA). After breaking out of an 0-for-24 slump, Stock recorded three doubles in a game for the first time in his career on May 14 at UC Riverside. He then followed up with a 2-for-3 night, adding a home run and two RBI on May 16 in a 5-3 win against Oregon State. On April 11 against No. 5 Cal, he recorded his first four-hit game as he went 4-for-4 with two RBI. He hit a three-run dinger in the top of the ninth on April 4 at No. 23 UCLA in a 6-1 and struck out two batters the following day in the ninth to get his second save of the season. At No. 17 San Diego on April 2, he pitched in his second straight game and picked up his first save after the Toreros put runners at second and third with no outs in a 3-2 win. On April 1 vs. UC Riverside, he went 3-for-4 at the plate and pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings with three strikeouts to earn the win. He drew four walks as the Trojans' leadoff hitter on March 30 at No. 1 Arizona State. 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.
During the summer, he batted .270 (31-for-115) for the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod Baseball League with three doubles, one home run and 11 RBI.
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. During the 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.
MAN IN A BOX -- Junior right-hander Brad Boxberger (Tustin/Foothill HS) begins the 2009 season as the team's No. 1 in the starting rotation. He is rated by Baseball America as the No. 37 collegiate prospect in the nation.
Boxberger is 2-3 this season with a 2.66 ERA (47 1/3 IP, 25 H, 14 ER, 29 BB, 53 SO, .159 opponents' batting average). Despite getting the loss on March 27 against No. 3 Arizona State, he gave up just two runs on three hits in eight innings while walking two and striking out eight. He allowed only two runs with seven hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts on March 4 in a 4-2 win at Tulane. On Feb. 27 against Western Carolina, he allowed just one run on two hits in six innings with five walks and five strikeouts. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with a career-high six walks and 11 strikeouts in the 2009 season opener on Feb. 20 against Long Beach State.
BOXBERGER (2008) -- Boxberger battled through injuries during his sophomore season, finishing 2-4 with a 6.12 ERA and three saves (50 IP, 54 H, 34 ER, 26 BB, 52 SO, .280 OBA). He earned his second win of the season on April 12 against No. 5 Cal by allowing three runs on five hits in eight innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. His first weekend start in a month came on Sunday with six innings at No. 23 UCLA where he struck out seven without giving up a walk. He made his first appearance in three weeks with a scoreless inning of relief on March 21 in a 5-0 shutout of No. 2 Arizona. 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. During the summer, he went 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA for the Chatham A's of the Cape Cod Baseball League. He appeared in 19 games for the A's as their closer, recording nine saves. In 18 2/3 innings, he allowed 11 hits, six runs, walked eight and struck out 28 while not allowing a home run during the summer.
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. During the summer, hHe 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.
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 -- Junior outfielder/pitcher Anthony Vasquez (San Antonio, Texas/Texas A&M) will see action in the outfield, along with being part of the weekend starting rotation.
He is batting .320 (33-for-103) with three home runs and 17 RBI. On the mound, he is 1-2 with a 3.73 ERA (31 1/3 IP, 33 H, 13 ER, 7 BB, 18 SO, .275 opponents' batting average).
He went 4-for-5 with an RBI on April 5 at Arizona. He threw eight innings on March 25 in the second game of a doubleheader against Brown, giving up just one run on three hits for the 5-1 win. He recorded two hits and three RBI in a 5-1 win on March 22 against UCLA. Vasquez had two doubles in a three-hit performance on March 16 against Winthrop. He hit a double and a two-run homer on March 7 at Tulane.
VASQUEZ (2008) -- He finished his junior season with a .315 (45-for-143) average with four home runs, 33 RBI and seven stolen bases while posting a 3-1 record and a 3.65 ERA on the mound with one save (37 IP, 38 H, 15 ER, 6 BB, 24 SO, .268 OBA). For the week of May 14-18, Vasquez made three relief appearances and recorded two wins and a save. On May 14 at UC Riverside, he allowed one run in 3 2/3 innings for the win. Against two-time defending national champion Oregon State, he threw two scoreless innings on May 17 for his first save as a Trojan and came back the next day with three scoreless innings for the win. He started in right field as well during all three games, batting .417 (5-for-12) at the plate. 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.
PULL THE TRIGGER -- Redshirt freshman Andrew Triggs (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow prior to his senior season of high school, but the 6-3, 210-pound right-hander looks like he is healthy.
Triggs has made four starts in eight games this season and has a 2-1 record with a 4.64 ERA (33 IP, 37 H, 17 ER, 8 BB, 23 SO, .289 opponents' batting average). On March 22 against UCLA in his second start, he threw seven scoreless innings against the Bruins, allowing just three hits with seven strikeouts for the win. He celebrated his 20th birthday on March 16 with his first collegiate win in his first start against Winthrop (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER). He threw six strong innings in relief on March 7 at Tulane, allowing two runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
HANGING WITH MR. COOPER -- Senior right-hander Daniel Cooper (Costa Mesa/Costa Mesa HS/Rice) has become of the Trojans' top options out of the bullpen this season.
Cooper has a 1.35 ERA with two saves (20 IP, 19 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 11 SO, .232 opponents' batting average). He threw four scoreless innings, allowing three hits in an 8-2 win on March 29 against No. 3 Arizona State for his first save of the season.
STOP AND RABAGO -- Junior infielder/right-handed pitcher Hector Rabago (Riverside/Poly HS) has been a starter during his career at second base, shortstop and third base, along with being a relief pitcher. For the 2009 season, he will add starting catcher to his growing resume. Rabago will platoon behind the plate along with Robert Stock.
Rabago is batting .297 this season (30-for-101) with 15 RBI and four stolen bases. He went 3-for-5 on March 10 against No. 10 UC Irvine.
RABAGO (2008) -- In his 2008 sophomore season, he batted .263 (52-for-198) with seven home runs and 30 RBI. He was a key figure in the 6-5 win on May 18 against Oregon State as the Trojans rallied from a 5-0 deficit. He had a 2-for-3 game with three RBI, including a walkoff RBI single in the ninth with two outs. 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.
DE PINTO BEANS -- Sophomore Joe De Pinto (Sunland, St. Franics HS) is getting regular starts at second base this season for the Trojans. This season, he is batting .343 (25-for-70) with two home runs and 13 RBI.
De Pinto went 4-for-4 on March 25 in the first game of a doubleheader against Brown. He had a six-game hitting streak this season and recorded three-hit games on March 13 and 16 against Winthrop. On March 10 against No. 10 UC Irvine, he recorded two doubles. He had an inside-the-park home run on March 8 at Tulane. His first collegiate home run came on Feb. 28 against Western Carolina, hitting a three-run shot to left at Dedeaux Field.
COUTURE OF DUTY -- Junior right-hander Kevin Couture (Coronado/Coronado HS) got his 2009 season off to a good start, earning Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week honors after striking out a career-high 10 batters in seven scoreless innings on Feb. 21 at Long Beach State. He allowed just two hits and one walk as USC shut out the 49ers, 4-0.
This season, Couture is 3-2 with a 5.93 ERA (30 1/3 IP, 38 H, 20 ER, 12 BB, 32 SO, .302 opponents' batting average). He threw six innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in a win on March 15 against Winthrop.
COUTURE (2008) -- He made 14 starts last year, going 6-2 with a 4.27 ERA (84 1/3 IP, 89 H, 40 ER, 19 BB, 65 SO, .276 OBA). He closed out the season with a then-career high eight strikeouts in seven scoreless innings on May 25 at Washington State. He scattered seven hits against the Cougars and did not allow a walk. On May 6 against Cal Poly, he tossed six scoreless innings to earn the win. He recorded seven innings and allowed three runs in a no-decision on April 8 against No. 16 Cal State Fullerton. He threw eight innings on April 2 at No. 17 San Diego and gave up just one earned run on seven hits with six strikeouts to get the victory in the 3-2 decision. He allowed five runs in a loss to No. 2 Arizona on March 21. 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
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.
During the summer, he 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.
CITY OF ORO -- Freshman Ricky Oropesa (Rancho Cucamonga/Etiwanda HS) brings left-handed power into the Trojans' lineup, as well as having the ability to throw in the low 90s on the mound as a short reliever.
He is batting .291 (23-for-79) this season with four home runs and 15 RBI. He has made three appearances on the mound this season (3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO).
He hit an opposite-field home run against UCLA's highly-touted freshman Gerrit Cole on March 21. He broke out of an early season slump with a 7-for-12 weekend (March 13-16) against Winthrop. On March 14, he hit his first collegiate home run and had a season-high four RBI.
As an Aflac All-American, he was rated as the No. 108 baseball player in the nation coming out of high school, along with being rated as the No. 2 third baseman by Perfect Game. As a 24th round draft selection in the 2008 draft by the Boston Red Sox, Oropesa batted .563 with six home runs, two triples and 16 RBI as a senior and .547 as a junior with 11 home runs and 46 RBI.
GEORGIA ON MY MIND -- Freshman Alex Sherrod (Marrieta, Ga./Walton HS) has been getting regular starts as of late in right field for the Trojans. He is batting .310 (9-for-29) with four RBI.
YANKEE CLIPPER -- Junior outfielder Mike O'Neill (Riverside/Poly HS) is a self-professed New York Yankees fan. He is batting .259 (22-for-85) with six RBI.
He recorded his first career three-hit game on March 31 at No. 23 Cal Poly.
KING OF HIS CASTILLO -- After starting the 2008 season with a 1-for-23 clip, junior Keith Castillo (Huntington Beach/Mater Dei HS) finished with a flurry as he hit .406 in his final 11 games. Castillo finished with a .242 average (16-for-66) with four doubles, a home run and eight RBI.
This season, he is batting .151 (8-for-53) with a home run and five RBI. He went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in a 6-4 loss on March 8 at Tulane.
VIVA LAS VEGAS -- Freshman catcher/outfielder Brandon Garcia (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS) is batting .190 this season (8-for-42) with a home run and two RBI. He hit his first collegiate home run on March 6 in a 4-2 win at Tulane.
Garcia was a 28th round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2008 major league baseball draft. He earned all-state first team honors as a senior after batting .407 with 16 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs and 55 RBI.
HOUTS IN THE HOUTFIELD -- Redshirt freshman Garret Houts (Fort Collins, Colo./Fort Collins HS) is batting .258 (8-for-31) this season with a home run and four RBI.
Houts recorded his first collegiate home run on March 7 at Tulane in a 2-for-4 performance.
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 added the RDRBI (Rod Dedeaux Research for Baseball Institute) and a brand-new Daktronics scoreboard with video capabilities to Dedeaux Field. The batting cages on the third-base side were completely renovated with the addition of a baseball-specific weight room. Fieldturf has been placed behind home plate prior to the 2009 season as a further improvement. 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.