USC Announces Enrollees For 2004 Season

Aug. 26, 2003

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LOS ANGELES - The Trojan baseball recruiting class for the 2004 season has enrolled at USC, head coach Mike Gillespie announced today. The group includes right-handed pitcher/outfielder Ian Kennedy (Huntington Beach/La Quinta HS), who was drafted in the 14th round by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Other freshmen include left-handed pitcher Brandon Buxbaum (Encino/Brentwood School), shortstop Hector Estrella (Rosemead/Northview HS), utility/right-handed pitcher Andy Flores (Los Angeles/Roosevelt HS), utility Cyle Hankerd (Covina/South Hills HS), infielder/right-handed pitcher Paul Koss (Orange/Orange Lutheran HS), outfielder Daniel Perales (Orange/Mater Dei HS), outfielder Luke Salas (Westlake Village/Westlake HS) and catcher Sebastian Salinas (Riverside/Rubidoux HS).

Three players have transferred from the junior college ranks. Shortstop Blake Sharpe (Moorpark/Pierce College) was a 27th-round selection by the Boston Red Sox, while pitcher Austin Miller (Glendora) played on the Cypress College squad that won the 2003 state championship. RHP Cole Ganser (Lomita/El Camino College) is also transferring.

'We are excited to welcome this new group of players to our program,' said Gillespie. 'We believe many players in this class can contribute immediately.'

Here are brief biographies on some key players:

Hector Estrella, SS, Rosemead (Northview HS) -- Estrella, a defensive-minded shortstop, earned 2003 Valle Vista League most valuable player honors after batting .500 with five home runs and 45 RBI. He earned All-CIF Southern Section Division IV first team honors.

Cyle Hankerd, UT, Covina (South Hills HS) -- Hankerd earned 2003 All-CIF Southern Section Division III first team honors as a senior, batting .575 with nine home runs. He was drafted in the 45th round by the Chicago Cubs and has played at first base, third base and left field.

Ian Kennedy, RHP-OF, Huntington Beach (La Quinta HS) -- In his 2002 junior season, Kennedy was named the CIF Division IV Co-Most Valuable Player and earned Orange County Register and league most valuable player honors. He recorded 13 wins and led the county with a 0.38 ERA (five earned runs in 90 2/3 innings) and strikeouts (168) while batting .373 with seven home runs and 31 RBI. As a member of the 2002 U.S. Junior National Team, Kennedy went 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA (13 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 20 SO) at the IBAF World Junior Championships. He led the team to a win in the bronze-medal game, going seven innings and allowing one run on five hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts. He earned All-CIF Southern Section Division IV first team honors in his 2003 senior season, going 8-0 with a 0.32 ERA.

Austin Miller, RHP, Glendora (Cypress College) -- Miller went 5-1 with a 1.79 ERA last year at Cypress College. In 45 1/3 innings, he allowed 38 hits with 13 walks and 56 strikeouts. Miller led Cypress to the 2003 state championship and pitched a complete game in a 16-1 win in the finals against Saddleback (9 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 12 SO).

Daniel Perales, OF, Orange (Mater Dei HS) -- Perales batted .393 with 12 home runs in his 2002 junior season. He earned All-CIF, all-county and all-league first team honors and was named team most valuable player. He batted .442 with nine home runs in his 2003 senior season.

Blake Sharpe, SS, Moorpark (Pierce College) -- Sharpe earned all-conference and all-county honors as a 2003 freshman at Pierce College and was a 27th-round selection by the Boston Red Sox. Sharpe led the team with a .395 batting average and had three home runs, 29 RBI and eight stolen bases.

The Trojans finished the 2003 season with a 28-28 overall record, failing to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years. USC will open the 2004 season on Friday (Feb. 13) at Long Beach State.


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