Baseball Game Notes For Friday, February 9

Feb. 8, 2001

USC - Long Beach State NotesFebruary 9, 2000

LOS ANGELES -- The USC baseball team (4-0) -- winner of 12 NCAA championships, more than twice as many as any other school -- travels to Long Beach State (3-0) Friday for a 7:05 p.m. game at Blair Field. Saturday's game will be a 1 p.m. start at Dedeaux Field with the series finale on Sunday at Blair Field at 1:05 p.m.

RANKINGS -- USC is ranked No. 2 in the latest Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball polls and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Baseball Weekly preseason poll.

LAST WEEK -- USC opened the 2001 season by defeating Santa Clara on Wednesday (Jan. 31), 10-3, and Louisville in a two-game series, 19-4, on Saturday (Feb. 3) and 11-4 on Sunday (Feb. 4). The Trojans won their sixth straight season opener and have not lost an opener since a 4-2 decision in 1995 against Cal State Northridge. In Saturday's game against Louisville, the Trojans opened the game with 10 runs in the first inning. On Tuesday, the Trojans defeated the Cal State Fullerton Titans, 6-5, in 13 innings. Senior Abel Montanez registered the pinch-hit, game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 13th for the Trojans.

PAC-10 PRESEASON POLL -- In a preseason poll of the Pac-10 coaches, USC was picked to win the conference title. In order, the poll went as follows: USC (six first-place votes), Arizona State (one first-place vote), Stanford (one first-place vote), Arizona, California, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

COACH'S CORNER -- Mike Gillespie, in his 15th season as the Trojans' head coach, has a 567-313-2 (.644) career record and has led USC to the 1998 national championship, three conference titles (1991-95-96), 12 trips to the NCAA Regionals in 14 years (reaching the regional finals 10 times), and trips to the 1995, 1998 and 2000 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 three times (1991-95-96) 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.

YOUNG (ALL) AMERICANS -- The Trojans have three possible All-America candidates on the roster this season. Senior pitcher Rik Currier already has a couple of honors to his credit after earning Collegiate Baseball and The Sporting News All-America second team honors last season. Currier is a preseason All-America first teamer this season, according to Collegiate Baseball. Senior shortstop Seth Davidson was named to the 1999 All-America third team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association and was a Freshman All-America first teamer in 1998. Junior pitcher Mark Prior was selected this season as a preseason All-America second teamer by Collegiate Baseball and earned Freshman All-America second team honors while at Vanderbilt in 1998.

OFFENSIVE ONSLAUGHT -- Despite losing Justin Gemoll and Beau Craig, who each hit 18 home runs last year, the Trojans have not missed a beat at the plate. This year, USC scored 10 runs or more in the first three games of the season for the first time since 1951. Troy's 1951 team opened the season with run totals of 22, 11 and 10 en route to the CIBA Conference championship and a berth in the College World Series. The school record for most runs in a season is held by the 1998 national championship squad with 543 runs (8.23 runs per game). After scoring 10, 19 and 11 runs to open this season, the 2001 Trojans are averaging 11.5 runs per game.

A GOOD BEGINNING -- The Trojans are 4-0 to start a season for the first time since 1997. The last time a USC squad started 5-0 was in 1989.

CAREER MARKS -- Here are some updated numbers for USC players currently in the Top 20 lists:- Seth Davidson with 233 hits needs two to tie Wes Rachels for seventh place.- Davidson with 155 runs scored needs one to tie John Jackson and Gabe Alvarez for ninth place.- Davidson with 52 stolen bases needs one to tie Damon Buford for third place, two to tie John Jackson for second place, five to tie Mark Smith for first place.- Davidson with 37 doubles needs one to tie three players for 16th place.- Rik Currier with 27 wins needs two to tie Bill Lee and Greg Widman for ninth place.- Currier with 338 strikeouts needs 25 to tie Brent Strom for second place.- Mark Prior with 162 strikeouts needs 42 to tie Randy Johnson for 20th place.

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