Tom Lovrich, Star USC Baseball Pitcher in 1950s, Dies
LOS ANGELES--Tom Lovrich, who won 33 games while pitching for USC in the early 1950s, died on Oct. 1 in Long Beach, Calif., of heart failure. He was 91.
A 3-year (1950-51-52) letterman, he led the Trojans in wins and earned run average each season. He was an All-District and All-Conference first team selection in 1951 and 1952 and made All-American second team in 1952 as a senior.
As a 1950 sophomore, he had a 10-2 record with a 2.69 ERA. He was 12-5 with a 3.26 ERA and 69 strikeouts as a junior in 1951 and set a still-standing USC season record with 10 complete games as the Trojans won the conference championship and advanced to the College World Series. In 1952, he went 11-2 with a 2.43 ERA as USC repeated as conference champs.
He was the starting pitcher when USC hosted the New York Yankees in an exhibition game at Bovard Field in 1951 and gave up a legendary monstrous home run to Mickey Mantle.
Lovrich then spent 5 seasons (1952-56) pitching in the minors, where he won 28 games in the Pacific Coast League, California League, Western International League and Western League.
He came to USC from San Pedro (Calif.) High.
After his playing days, he used his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from USC to work as a rocket scientist.
He also served as the official game timer at USC men's basketball games for more than 50 years, as well as at Los Angeles Lakers games in the 1960s and '70s and at USC women's basketball games.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Glenda. Although they did not have children, they did raise their nephew, Bill March, following the death of March's parents.
Lovrich's late brother, Jack, was a center on USC's 1954 NCAA Final Four basketball team and a pitcher on the Trojans' 1955 College World Series baseball squad.
A celebration of life will be held on Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. at Bethel Grace Baptist Church (17909 Carpintero Ave., Bellflower, CA 90706).