USC Baseball Hosts No. 25 Arizona State for Final Homestand
THIS WEEK: The USC baseball team hosts No. 25 Arizona State for its final homestand of the regular season this weekend.
Friday - USC vs. Arizona State (Dedeaux Field), May 21, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Saturday - USC vs. Arizona State (Dedeaux Field), May 22, 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Sunday - USC vs. Arizona State (Dedeaux Field), May 23, 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Friday - USC: LHP Isaac Esqueda (5-2, 3.01 ERA) vs. ASU: RHP Tyler Thornton (1-3, 5.46 ERA)
Saturday - USC: RHP Chandler Champlain (3-4, 5.87 ERA) vs. ASU: LHP Justin Fall (7-1, 3.41 ERA)
Sunday - USC: LHP Alex Cornwell (5-5, 5.03 ERA) vs. ASU: TBA ()
BROADCAST INFO: All three games at Dedeaux Field will be televised on the Pac-12 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 took two of three from Washington State at home last weekend, before dropping a wild 13-10 game at Fresno State on a walk-off grand slam.
SERIES VS. ASU: ASU leads 110-107, with the teams first playing in 1961. The Sun Devils are the only Pac-12 team USC does not have a winning record against. The teams last played in 2019, with the Trojans taking two-of-three in Los Angeles. USC has won the last five series between the teams, dating back to 2015.
SENIOR DAY: USC will honor its graduating seniors before Sunday's game at Dedeaux Field. The Trojans will recognize 13 players (Alex Cornwell, Gus Culpo, Isaac Esqueda, Brian Gursky, Riley Lamb, Quentin Longrie, Jamal O'Guinn, Tyler Pritchard, Ben Ramirez, Brady Shockey, Jason Starrels, John Thomas, Bart West) and five student managers (Jacob Bickman, Reed Gallups, Daniel Gillman, Max Lee, Nick Ritcheson).
ISAAC ESQUEDA: The Trojans' ace has been a picture of consistency this year, leading the way for the USC staff with a 3.01 ERA, which is good for sixth 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 64 strikeouts lead all Trojan pitchers and his .223 opponent batting average is best among USC starters.
BEN RAMIREZ: Amongst regular starters, Ramirez leads the Trojans with a .307 batting average and .869 OPS. He has been the most consistent run producer for USC this year driving in 42 runs and scoring 20. Ramirez owns the second longest hitting streak of the season for USC at 10 games, and has the most multi-RBI games (11) and multi-hit games (16) in the Trojan lineup.
RHYLAN THOMAS: Thomas comes into this weekend against the Sun Devils riding a 24-game reached base streak dating back to April 1 and an 11-game hitting streak. Thomas has raised his average 45 points over his last 24 games (hitting safely in all but two) to .307. Thomas has been the toughest player in the Pac-12 to strike out this season, averaging 12.8 at-bats per strikeout, which is also good for 13th in the country.
Walks - Jamal O'Guinn (29) - 8th Pac-12
Home Runs - Clay Owens (11) - 7th Pac-12
RBI - Ben Ramirez (42) - 8th Pac-12
Stolen Bases - Tyresse Turner (18) - 4th Pac-12
Toughest to K - Rhylan Thomas (12.8 ab/k) - 1st Pac-12/13th NCAA
Toughest to K - John Thomas (10.7 ab/k) - 2nd Pac-12
Triples - Ben Ramirez (3) - 4th Pac-12
ERA - Isaac Esqueda (3.01) - 6th Pac-12
Saves - Nate Clow (5) - 6th Pac-12
Walks/9 - Alex Cornwell (2.12) - 4th 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.