USC Baseball Hits the Road Against No. 18 Arizona
THIS WEEK: The USC baseball team hits the road this weekend for a three-game Pac-12 series at No. 18 Arizona, and then returns home to host Pepperdine on Tuesday.
Friday - USC at No. 18 Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.), April 23, 6 p.m. (Arizona Live Stream)
Saturday - USC at No. 18 Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.), April 24, 6 p.m. (Arizona Live Stream)
Sunday - USC at No. 18 Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.), April 25, 1 p.m. (Arizona Live Stream)
Tuesday - USC vs. Pepperdine (Dedeaux Field), April 27, 6 p.m. (USC Live Stream)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Friday - USC: LHP Isaac Esqueda (4-1, 1.99 ERA) vs. ARIZ: RHP Chase Silseth (5-1, 5.69 ERA)
Saturday - USC: RHP Chandler Champlain (2-3, 5.75 ERA) vs. ARIZ: LHP Garrett Irvin (3-1, 3.76 ERA)
Sunday - USC: LHP Alex Cornwell (4-3, 5.10 ERA) vs. ARIZ: TBA ()
BROADCAST INFO: All four games will be broadcast on Pac-12+ via arizonawildcats.com and USCTrojans.com. Links to all of the broadcasts are available on the baseball schedule page at USCTrojans.com.
FOLLOW: Fans can also follow the action through live stats on USCTrojans.com. Live, in-game updates will be available for all games from @USC_Baseball on Twitter as well.
GET SOCIAL: Follow USC Baseball on social media to get updates on everything going on with the team this season. The Trojans can be found at @USC_Baseball on Twitter, @sctrojans_baseball on Instagram and USC Trojans Baseball on Facebook.
MEDIA POLICY: Limited media members will be allowed to apply for credentials to USC baseball home games. Credentialed media members will only have access to a designated media area, and no in-person interviews will be allowed. All postgame and weekly interviews will be conducted virtually and upon request. Please contact Jacob Breems (Breems@usc.edu) for more media information and to apply for credentials.
LAST WEEK: The Trojans went 2-2 last week. USC won its opener against No. 15 Arizona, 9-5, before dropping the finals two games of the series. The Trojans bounced back with an 8-1 victory at home over the LMU Lions.
SERIES VS. ARIZONA: USC leads the all-time series 125-109-1, with the teams first meeting in 1921. The last time the teams met was in 2019 in Tucson, with Arizona taking both games of a weather shortened series.
SERIES VS. PEPPERDINE: USC leads the all-time series 93-45-1, with the teams first meeting back in 1943. The Trojans and Waves played in the first week of March, with Pepperdine winning 11-5. The Trojans and Waves had another game scheduled that was canceled a week later.
JOHN THOMAS: Since the start of Pac-12 play, John Thomas has been one of the hottest hitters in the conference. Since March 19, Thomas owns a .343 batting average, with 13 RBI, four doubles and 12 runs scored. Thomas kicked off the hot streak with a career-best five hit day against Washington on 3/20.
BEN RAMIREZ: Ramirez has been right there with Thomas as one of the hottest hitters in the Pac-12 since March 19. Over that span, Ramirez is hitting .366 with 22 RBI, six homers, three doubles, two triples and 13 runs scored. Coming into the weekend, Ramirez is on a seven-game hitting streak, with five home runs in his last seven games.
STREAKING: Rhylan Thomas comes into this weekend at Arizona riding a seven-game hitting streak and a 10-game reached base streak. Thomas has raised his average 30 points over the last seven games to .286, and has posted three multi-hit games.
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST VS. DIXIE: The Trojans put on an offensive show vs. Dixie State earlier this year, beating the Trailblazers by a combined score of 30-9. The Trojans scored 14 runs and had 16 hits in the opener, then put up 10 runs on 13 hits in the Saturday contest and closed the weekend with six runs on nine hits. The 14 runs and 16 hits in the opener were both season highs for USC.
RALLY VS. THE BRUINS: The Trojans made an improbable comeback against then-No. 10 UCLA in the series opener, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4 in walkoff fashion. John Thomas led the inning off with a single, then after two walks Tyler Pritchard drew a third walk to bring home Thomas. Jamal O'Guinn followed with a two-run, two-out single to tie the game, then a throwing error on a grounder to short allowed Pritchard to score the winning run.
RAINY COMEBACK: The Trojans made an impressive comeback on the road at Washington in the Saturday game, battling through two separate rain delays to overcome a 3-0 deficit. USC got a huge relief appearance from Garrett Clarke in the game, as the righty transfer tossed 5.0 scoreless innings to hold the line as USC battled back. Jamal O'Guinn and Ben Ramirez homered in the game, and John Thomas drove in the winning runs in the seventh.
Home runs/game - 0.97/game (30 total) - 4th Pac-12
Home Runs - Jamal O'Guinn (7) - 7th Pac-12
Home Runs - Clay Owens (7) - 7th Pac-12
RBI - Jamal O'Guinn (31) - 7th Pac-12
SLG - Ben Ramirez (.586) - 12th Pac-12
Stolen Bases - Tyresse Turner (13) - 4th Pac-12
Toughest to K - Rhylan Thomas (11.2 ab/k) - 1st Pac-12
Toughest to K - John Thomas (8.7 ab/k) - 5th Pac-12
Triples - Ben Ramirez (3) - 2nd Pac-12 / 15th NCAA
ERA - Isaac Esqueda (1.99) - 1st Pac-12 / 37th NCAA
Saves - Nate Clow (3) - 7th Pac-12
Strikeouts - Isaac Esqueda (46) - 8th Pac-12
2021 SQUAD AT A GLANCE: The 2021 Trojans return 27 lettermen from last year, have three players coming off of redshirt seasons and have added 15 newcomers to the roster.
On the position player side, the most notable returning veterans are INF/OF Jamal O'Guinn (.378/.500/.564), 1B/DH Clay Owens (.346/.400/.577) and Ben Ramirez (.310/.375/.552). Another pair of underclassmen returners who impressed during the 15-game 2020 season are Rhylan Thomas (.356/.412/.422) and Tyresse Turner (.257/.372/.371, 6-6 SB).
On the pitching side, starters LHP Isaac Esqueda (0-1, 1.20 ERA) and LHP Alex Cornwell (2-1, 3.66 ERA) lead the charge, while RHP Chandler Champlain (1.23 ERA) looks to lock down a starting role as well. The Trojans had five relievers post sub-2.00 ERA's last year, losing just RHP/DH Ben Wanger of the group.
DRAFTED/SIGNED: The Trojans lost a pair of key players to the MLB last year. RHP Kyle Hurt was selected in the fifth round of the shortened 2020 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins and chose to sign with the club. Hurt was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers this February. LHP John Beller was later snatched up in the undrafted free agent market by the St. Louis Cardinals.
LAST YEAR: The Trojans had their 2020 season cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic, finishing the year 10-5. During the abbreviated season, USC picked up signature wins over No. 2 and defending National Champs Vanderbilt and No. 22 TCU.
USC TO THE MLB: No other school can claim a larger number of alumni who have made it to the big leagues, with 116 Trojans having played in the MLB. The list includes three Trojans who have made it to the MLB Hall of Fame (Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver, Pat Gillick), nine Cy Young Awards (Johnson 5 times, Seaver 3 times, Barry Zito once), three Rookie of the Years (Seaver, Fred Lynn, Mark McGwire), one American League MVP (Lynn), one World Series MVP (Johnson), 29 World Series appearances and 67 All-Star Game appearances. In all, 341 Trojans have been selected in the MLB Draft.
CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: The Trojans have an unparalleled history of championship success at the College World Series, winning 12 total national titles (1948, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1998). The 12 titles are double any other team in the country and were won in 21 CWS appearances by the Trojans. USC won five straight NCAA Championships from 1970-74, a feat no other program has accomplished.