USC Baseball Hosts Washington State, Heads to Fresno State
THIS WEEK: The USC baseball team hosts Washington State for a three-game Pac-12 series this weekend, before hitting the road for their final midweek non-conference matchup at Fresno State on Tuesday.
Friday - USC vs. Washington State (Dedeaux Field), May 14, 6 p.m. (USC Live Stream)
Saturday - USC vs. Washington State (Dedeaux Field), May 15, 2 p.m. (USC Live Stream)
Sunday - USC vs. Washington State (Dedeaux Field), May 16, 12 p.m. (USC Live Stream)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Friday - USC: LHP Isaac Esqueda (4-2, 2.77 ERA) vs. WSU: RHP Brandon White (5-3, 4.99 ERA)
Saturday - USC: RHP Chandler Champlain (2-4, 6.22 ERA) vs. WSU: RHP Zane Mills (5-3, 3.68 ERA)
Sunday - USC: LHP Alex Cornwell (5-4, 4.36 ERA) vs. WSU: TBA ()
BROADCAST INFO: All three games at Dedeaux Field will be streamed live on Pac-12+ via USCTrojans.com and Tuesday's game at Fresno State will be streamed via the Mountain West Network. 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.
FAN POLICY: In accordance with Los Angeles County Department of Health policy and University guidance, USC athletics is currently allowing limited fan attendance at outdoor events. Attendance is currently limited to player guests.
LAST WEEK: The Trojans were on the road for a three-game series in Corvallis last weekend, with Oregon State taking two-of-three games in the matchup. USC had a late lead in the opener, but were sunk by five late unearned runs, then an eighth-inning homer gave the Beavers the win in game two. USC came back in the finale, getting clutch two-RBI hits from Garret Guillemette and Carson Wells, along with a brilliant start from Alex Cornwell to pick up the final W. Cornwell took a perfect game into the sixth inning, but took a no-decision after exiting with the game tied.
SERIES VS. WSU: USC leads the all-time series 74-33-1, with the teams first meeting in 1948. The last time the teams met was in 2019 in Los Angeles, with USC winning the first two games before the third was ended a 10-10 tie in the 12th inning due to travel restrictions. USC has taken two-of-three in the series each of the last five seasons the teams have met.
SERIES VS. FSU: USC leads the all-time series 43-28. The series dates back to 1952, with the teams last playing earlier this season in Los Angeles. The Trojans won the meeting on April 13, 2-1.
ISAAC ESQUEDA: The Trojans' ace has been a picture of consistency this year, leading the way for the USC staff with a 2.77 ERA, which is good for fifth in the conference. Esqueda has thrown at least 5.0 innings in all but one of his 11 starts and has only given up more than two runs twice. His 57 strikeouts lead all Trojan pitchers and his .225 opponent batting average is best among USC starters.
BEN RAMIREZ: Amongst regular starters, Ramirez leads the Trojans with a .318 batting average and .902 OPS. He has been the most consistent run producer for USC this year driving in 37 runs and scoring 20. Ramirez owns the longest hitting streak of the season for USC at 10 games, and has the most multi-RBI games (9) and multi-hit games (16) in the Trojan lineup.
RHYLAN THOMAS: Thomas comes into this weekend against the Cougars riding a 20-game reached base streak dating back to April 1 and a seven game hitting streak. Thomas has raised his average 31 points over his last 20 games (hitting safely in all but two) to .293. Thomas has been the toughest player in the Pac-12 to strike out this season, averaging 12.5 at-bats per strikeout, which is also good for 15th in the country.
Walks - Jamal O'Guinn (28) - 9th Pac-12
Home Runs - Clay Owens (11) - 4th Pac-12
Stolen Bases - Tyresse Turner (16) - 4th Pac-12
Toughest to K - Rhylan Thomas (12.5 ab/k) - 1st Pac-12/15th NCAA
Toughest to K - John Thomas (9.7 ab/k) - 2nd Pac-12
Triples - Ben Ramirez (3) - 4th Pac-12
ERA - Isaac Esqueda (2.77) - 5th Pac-12
Saves - Nate Clow (4) - 7th Pac-12
Walks/9 - Alex Cornwell (1.91) - 5th Pac-12
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.
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.