USC Heads To Long Beach State Before Home Series Against New Mexico

March 2, 2010

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Upcoming Games ScheduleTuesday, March 2 at Long Beach State - Blair Field - 6:30 p.m.TBA vs. RHP Branden Pinder (0-1, 6.00)Friday, March 5 vs. New Mexico - Dedeaux Field - 6:30 p.m.TBA vs. TBASaturday, March 6 vs. New Mexico - Dedeaux Field - 6:30 p.m.TBA vs. TBASunday, March 7 vs. New Mexico - Dedeaux Field - 1:00 p.m.TBA vs. TBAAll times local       All games broadcast on www.usctrojans.comRankings based on Baseball America 

LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team (3-4) travels to Long Beach State (3-3) on Tuesday (March 2) for a 6:30 p.m. game before hosting New Mexico (5-2) for a three-game series at Dedeaux Field, Friday-Sunday (March 5-7). Friday and Saturday's games start at 6:30 p.m. with a 1 p.m. start on Sunday. All four games will be broadcast live on with a video webcast for all three games of the New Mexico series.

LONG BEACH STATE NOTES -- Long Beach State is 3-3 on the season after winning two games last weekend at Arizona. Head coach Mike Weathers is 291-184 in his ninth season at Long Beach State. The Dirtbags are batting .269 with a 4.58 staff ERA. Steve Tinoco is batting .500 (11-for-22) this season with six RBI. USC leads the all-time series with Long Beach State by a 75-41 margin, but the Dirtbags have won six of the last eight games in the series.

NEW MEXICO NOTES -- New Mexico is 5-2 on the season after taking three of four last weekend against Northern Colorado. Head coach Ray Birmingham is 76-47 in his third season at New Mexico. The Lobos are batting .352 as a team with a 2.43 staff ERA and earlier this season took two of three at No. 1 Texas. Junior catcher Rafael Neda is batting .433 (13-for-30) with six RBI. USC is 3-1 all-time against New Mexico as both teams last played in 1985 with the Lobos winning 7-1 at Dedeaux Field.

· Through the first weekend of play, Pac-10 Conference teams had a combined 27-4 record.
· Andrew Triggs is rated as the No. 38 overall college prospect by Baseball America for the 2010 major league draft (he is a draft-eligible sophomore).
· Ricky Oropesa is rated as the No. 23 college sophomore by Baseball America while Triggs is rated No. 28. Shuhei Fujiya is rated No. 22 among college seniors.
· The Trojans have four pitchers on the staff that stand 6-6 or taller: Chris Mezger (6-10), Ben Mount (6-8), Jordan Hershiser (6-8) and Logan Odom (6-6).
· On February 28, USC played UCLA at Dodger Stadium in the concluding game of the Dodgertown Classic in front of a crowd of 14,588.

TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on with video webcasts for every home game, courtesy of Trojans All-Access.

TROJANS PICKED EIGHTH IN PAC-10 -- USC was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-10 Conference, according to the preseason coaches poll. The Trojans were slotted behind Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, Washington State and Cal and ahead of Washington and Oregon.

IT'S ONLY A GAME -- Perhaps one of the best college baseball stories in the nation this season is sophomore infielder Taylor Wrenn (Lakeland, Fla./Manatee College), who is simply happy to be playing the game.

On January 8, Wrenn suffered a severe allergic reaction to a medication he was taking and fell into a coma over the course of three days. After recovering from the life-threatening bout, Wrenn returned to the field and will look to play as soon as possible.

TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 96 players had made it to the major leagues.

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 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 college baseball at Pepperdine for three seasons (1983-85).

HOG HEAVEN -- Doyle Wilson is in his third 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 third 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. In 2009, Collegiate Baseball expanded its Coach of the Year Award by renaming it the Tom House Teaching Professional Award for his lifetime research and coaching expertise.

TAKING ANOTHER CRUZ -- Frank Cruz begins his second tour of duty at USC after 12 seasons as head coach at Loyola Marymount (1997-2008) and is in his second season as USC's volunteer assistant coach. 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.

CITY OF ORO -- Sophomore infielder Ricky Oropesa (Rancho Cucamonga/Etiwanda HS) is coming off a solid freshman campaign, earning Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America and Pac-10 Conference honorable mention honors after batting .314 (58-for-185) and leading the Trojans with 13 home runs and 48 RBI.

Oropesa is batting .231 (6-for-26) this season with a home run and four RBI.

He broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning with a leadoff solo homer on Feb. 21 at Cal Poly with the Trojans going on to win by a 9-4 score.

He hit two home runs in a game twice last season, both around a span of one week. He hit two on April 21, 2009, against Loyola Marymount with the second one coming on April 29 at No. 6 Cal State Fullerton, where he had five RBI. He hit home runs in back-to-back games on April 9 and 10 against Oregon. He hit an opposite-field home run against UCLA's highly-touted freshman Gerrit Cole on March 21. On March 14, he hit his first collegiate home run and had a season-high four RBI.

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 in high school and .547 as a junior with 11 home runs and 46 RBI.

PULL THE TRIGGER -- Sophomore right-hander Andrew Triggs (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow prior to his senior season of high school, but bounced back after two years on the sidelines. Triggs earned Pac-10 Conference honorable mention recognition last season as a freshman, going 5-3 with a 3.96 ERA (75.0 IP, 79 H, 33 ER, 20 BB, 50 SO, .276 OBA).

This season, Triggs is 1-0 with a 5.11 ERA (12 1/3 IP, 14 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 11 SO, .292 OBA).

He allowed four runs in seven innings with a walk and seven strikeouts in a 9-4 win on Feb. 19 at Cal Poly, the season opener for both teams.

He earned his fourth win of the season last year on April 18 at No. 14 Oregon State, allowing just two runs in eight innings. 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.

RESCUE ME -- Sophomore infielder/outfielder Matt Foat (Rescue/Ponderosa HS/Sierra College) started his Trojan career in style with a 4-for-5 and four RBI night in the season opener on Feb. 19 at Cal Poly. He hit .462 (6-for-13) for the weekend with five RBI.

This season, he is batting .370 (10-for-27) with two doubles, one home run and seven RBI.

He earned 2009 All Big-8 Conference first team honors at Sierra College after batting .395 (70-for-177) with 18 doubles, six home runs, 36 RBI and nine stolen bases.

DON'T GO BREAKING MY HART -- Junior infielder Matt Hart (Tacoma, Wash./Washington State/Santa Ana College) has gotten off to a good start this season.

He is batting .407 (11-for-27) with three doubles, a triple and two RBI. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles on Feb. 20 at Cal Poly.

CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK -- Freshman outfielder Cade Kreuter (Newhall/Hart HS) is the oldest son of current USC head coach Chad Kreuter. He is batting .357 (5-for-14) with a home run and three RBI this season.

He hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning on Feb. 21 at Cal Poly to give USC the 4-3 lead with the Trojans eventually winning, 9-4.

KNEEL BEFORE THE KING -- Senior outfielder Mike O'Neill (Riverside/Poly HS) made 51 starts in 52 games last season, finishing second on the team with a .319 (61-for-191) batting average. He had three home runs, 17 RBI and seven stolen bases.

This season, he is batting .321 (9-for-28) with three doubles, one home run and five RBI.

He gave the Trojans a 2-1 lead on Feb. 23 vs. Loyola Marymount with a two-run home run in the eventual 6-5 victory.

He hit his first home run of the season last year on April 14 against No. 6 Cal State Fullerton. He recorded his first career three-hit game on March 31 at No. 23 Cal Poly and later went 5-for-5 with a triple and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on May 19 against UC Riverside.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBER -- Sophomore right-hander Ben Mount (Coto de Caza/Tesoro HS) is 0-1 this season with a 4.05 ERA (13 1/3 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO, .220 OBA).

He earned a no-decision against Loyola Marymount on Feb. 23 in his first collegiate start, going six innings and allowing one earned run on two hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

DE PINTO BEANS -- Junior infielder Joe De Pinto (Sunland, St. Francis HS) has recovered from an ACL injury to his left knee suffered last summer. He is batting .333 (10-for-30) with four RBI this season.

In 53 starts, he batted .277 (53-for-191) last season with three home runs and 22 RBI while finishing second on the team with 11 stolen bases.

De Pinto went 4-for-4 on March 25 in the first game of a doubleheader against Brown last year. He had a six-game hitting streak and recorded three-hit games on March 13 and 16 against Winthrop. He had an inside-the-park home run on March 8 at Tulane while his first collegiate home run came on Feb. 28 against Western Carolina, hitting a three-run shot to left at Dedeaux Field.

In 2008, he made 34 starts in 42 games as he batted .203 (24-for-118) with five RBI and two stolen bases.

SPARE THE ROD -- Sophomore outfielder Alex Sherrod (Marrieta, Ga./Walton HS) is batting .273 (6-for-22) this season with a home run and two RBI.

He started in 31 games last season for the Trojans in right field. He batted .296 (34-for-115) with 11 RBI. This season, Sherrod might be utilized as a pitcher as well.

He hit a two-run double in the ninth to help USC defeat No. 14 Oregon State on April 18 in Corvallis and set up a 9-2 double play in the bottom of the ninth on April 19 to send the game into extra innings.

THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT -- Sophomore right-hander Chad Smith (Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks HS) worked himself into the weekend rotation after a solid freshman campaign. He is 0-2 this season with a 10.38 ERA (8 2/3 IP, 10 H, 10 ER, 7 BB, 7 SO, .278 OBA).

Smith went 3-4 last season with a 3.40 ERA (45 IP, 51 H, 17 ER, 16 BB, 38 SO, .273 OBA) with one save. He made four starts in 18 appearances.

COUTURE OF DUTY -- Senior right-hander Kevin Couture (Coronado/Coronado HS) is 0-0 this season with a 3.12 ERA (8 2/3 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, .344 OBA).

On Feb. 21, he allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings of work at Cal Poly, where he earned the no-decision.

Couture finished 3-3 last season for the Trojans, making nine starts in 15 games with a 5.66 ERA (49 1/3 IP, 59 H, 31 ER, 25 BB, 40 SO, .298 OBA).

He earned Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week honors at the start of the 2009 season 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.

He made 14 starts in 2008, 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. On May 6 against Cal Poly, he tossed six scoreless innings to earn the win and 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. 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.

In 2007, 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.

STOCK MARKET REDUX -- Freshman catcher Richard Stock (Westlake Village/Agoura HS) is following in the footsteps of his brother, Robert, at USC. His brother played from 2007-09 as a catcher/pitcher for the Trojans and was selected in the second round (67th overall) in the 2009 MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

This season, he is batting .375 (3-for-8) with one home run and two RBI. In his collegiate debut on Feb. 20 at Cal Poly, he blasted a mammoth pinch-hit home run on the first pitch in the ninth inning.

KING OF HIS CASTILLO -- Senior catcher Keith Castillo (Huntington Beach/Mater Dei HS) is batting .222 (4-for-18) this season.

He appeared in 28 games last year with 17 starts, batting .159 (11-for-69) with a home run and eight RBI. He went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in a 6-4 loss on March 8 at Tulane.

He finished the 2008 season by hitting .406 in his final 11 games. Castillo finished with a .242 average (16-for-66) with four doubles, a home run and eight RBI.

TAYLOR MADE -- Sophomore shortstop Taylor Wrenn (Lakeland, Fla./Manatee College) is batting .188 (3-for-16) this season. He made back-to-back starts to open the 2010 season at Cal Poly.

HOUTS IN THE HOUTFIELD -- Sophomore outfielder Garret Houts (Fort Collins, Colo./Fort Collins HS) made 19 starts in 33 games last season. He batted .232 (13-for-56) with one home run and six RBI.

Houts recorded his first collegiate home run last year on March 7 at Tulane in a 2-for-4 performance.

ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SEA -- Freshman Adam Landecker (Calabasas/Calabasas HS) went 0-for-1 in his collegiate debut on Feb. 21 at Cal Poly.

GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLING -- Sophomore infielder/outfielder Mike Greco (Scottsdale, Ariz./Army) redshirted last season for the Trojans after making 43 starts in 46 games at Army during the 2008 season. Greco, who was scheduled to be in the starting lineup, was hit by a pitch on Feb. 17 during a practice and will be out approximately 4-6 weeks with a fractured left wrist.

He batted .250 (39-for-156) for Army with two home runs, 11 doubles, three stolen bases and 27 RBI.

GLENNGARRY GLENN ROSS -- Freshman outfielder Alex Glenn (McDonough, Ga./Henry County HS) will be getting a good look this season. He was a 2009 ESPN Rise Magazine all-area first team selection in his senior season and was drafted in the 37th round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Florida Marlins.

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 tied for third for most appearances (21).

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 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 in 1992 with a 98.8% vote, which remains the highest percentage ever for an inducted member. In the summer of 2006, legendary coach Rod Dedeaux (who passed away on January 5, 2006) 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.

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