Baseball Signs Four Recruits For 2002 Season

Nov. 22, 2000

LOS ANGELES -- Left-handed pitcher J.P. Howell (Sacramento/Jesuit HS), left-handed pitcher/outfielder Matt Chico (San Diego/Fallbrook HS), third baseman Joey Metropoulos (San Diego/Monte Vista HS) and outfielder Jay Nichols (Irvine/University HS) have signed letters-of-intent to play baseball at USC for the 2002 season, Head Coach Mike Gillespie announced today.

'We are excited to have them here,' said Gillespie. 'We believe that they will be outstanding collegiate players immediately for our program.'

Here are brief biographies on each player:

J.P. Howell, LHP, Sacramento (Jesuit HS) -- Howell recorded a 9-1 record with a 0.21 ERA last year for Jesuit High. He struck out 132 batters in 63 innings of work and was a member of the Division I city championship team. He earned all-state, all-city and team most valuable player honors.

Matt Chico, LHP/OF, San Diego (Fallbrook HS) -- Chico hit .419 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI last year for Fallbrook HIgh. He was named the Avocado League Player of the Year and also earned All-CIF honors. He batted .406 in his sophomore season, earning first team All-Avocado League honors.

Joey Metropoulos, 3B, San Diego (Monte Vista HS) -- Metropoulos batted .396 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI last year for Monte Vista High. He earned All-CIF and all-league honors and was a member during the summer of the Encinitas Reds, which won the national championship at the Connie Mack World Series.

Jay Nichols, OF, Irvine (University HS) -- Nichols batted .558 with three home runs and 43 RBI last year for University High. He earned first team All-CIF, all-county and all-league honors as well as being named as Irvine's co-most valuable player.

The Trojans are coming off a 44-20 season, including the program's 20th trip to the College World Series and a fourth-place finish in the Pac-10 with a 16-8 mark. The 2001 squad will begin its season on Saturday (Feb. 3) vs. Louisville at Dedeaux Field in a 1 p.m. contest.

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