USC Baseball Opens 2022 Season at Home Against Santa Clara
THIS WEEK: The USC baseball team opens up the 2022 season at home this week, hosting Santa Clara for a three game series starting on Friday. The Trojans also welcome UC San Diego to town on Tuesday.
Friday - USC vs. Santa Clara (Dedeaux Field), Feb. 18, 6 p.m. (USC Live Stream)
Saturday - USC vs. Santa Clara (Dedeaux Field), Feb. 19, 2 p.m. (USC Live Stream)
Sunday - USC vs. Santa Clara (Dedeaux Field), Feb. 20, 1 p.m. (USC Live Stream)
Tuesday - USC vs. UC San Diego (Dedeaux Field), Feb. 22, 6 p.m. (USC Live Stream)
BROADCAST INFO: All four home games will be streamed on Pac-12+ via 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.
SERIES VS. SANTA CLARA: Friday night's opener will be the 135th meeting between USC and Santa Clara, with the Trojans owning a 101-32-1 record in the series. The team's first played back in 1927, but haven't met much this century, with the last meeting coming in 2000. Through the early and middle parts of the 20th century, USC and Santa Clara were both members of the CIBA which was a division of the Pacific Coast Conference (early iteration of the Pac-12). Santa Clara played 34 seasons in the same conference as USC between 1927-1966. The teams have met five times in the postseason, with USC winning four of the matchups.
SERIES VS. UCSD: Tuesday will be the first meeting between the Trojans and Tritons.
2022 SLATE: USC plays the majority of its games at home this season, hosting 34 of the 54 scheduled contests and 10 of their first 11 games. The Trojans are at Dedeaux the first three weekend series of the year, before opening Pac-12 play on the road at UCLA. The Trojans' road series this year all come in Pac-12 action, with USC heading to UCLA, Oregon, Arizona State, Washington State and Stanford. Cal, Oregon State, Utah, Arizona and Washington will all be coming to Los Angeles for conference matchups.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: The Pac-12 is coming off of a season in which six teams earned NCAA Tournament bids (Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona), tied for the second-highest total in league history, including three regional hosts (Arizona, Stanford, Oregon) for the sixth time since national seeding began in 1999. A pair of the Trojans' non-conference opponents also made the NCAA Tournament last season, with UC Santa Barbara hosting a regional and UConn garnering a two-seed in the South Bend Regional.
LAST SEASON: The Trojans are coming off a 25-26 campaign in 2021, finishing tied for 8th in the Pac-12 with a 13-17 record.
- 25 returners/14 newcomers/16 letterman lost
- 3 SR (3 RS)/8 JR (6 RS)/19 SO (8 RS)/10 FR (0 RS)
- 21 pitchers (18 R/3 L)
- 21 position players (4 C/10 INF/8 OF)
- LHP Isaac Esqueda - 2021 stats: 3.47 ERA, 6-3, 71 K, 31 BB - Esqueda is the most experienced arm returning and is expected to serve as the Trojans Friday starter. D1Baseball.com ranked him the 109th starting pitcher in the country.
- RHP Garrett Clarke - 2021 stats: 2.79 ERA, 3-2, 23 K, 9 BB, 2 SV - Clarke had the 2nd best ERA in the bullpen last year, pitching in both long relief and at the end of games. He could see time as a starter or at the back end of the pen.
- C Garret Guillemette - 2021 stats: .299 BA, 3 HR, 19 RBI - Earned All-Pac-12 honors as a freshman last year and coming into this season is the No. 33 catcher in the nation according to D1Baseball.com.
- OF Rhylan Thomas - 2021 stats: .296 BA, 2 HR, 9 2B, 25 RBI, 9 SB - Thomas held down CF for the Trojans and was third on the team in batting average last season. He is the 130th ranked outfielder according to D1Baseball.com.
INCOMING CLASS: The Trojans welcomed 14 new players prior to this season, bringing in the 17th ranked recruiting class in the country according to Baseball America. The class includes four transfers and 10 incoming freshmen.
- Channing Austin (RHP) - Virginia - top-ranked third baseman and No. 5 overall player in the state of New York coming out of high school according to Perfect Game
- Cole Gabrielson (OF) - College of San Mateo - batted .330 in 2019 and was batting .352 before 2020 season was halted
- Matt Keating (INF/RHP) - Southeast CC - named an NJCAA Division I All-American and NJCAA Division I Region IX Player of the Year
- Nick Lopez (INF) - Santa Ana CC - batted .380 and slugged .750 while finishing tied for the conference lead in homers (8), doubles (8), hits (35) and RBI (31) at Santa Ana
- Josh Blum (RHP) - Emery Weiner School (Texas) - tossed 92 innings, posting 166 Strikeouts and a 0.75 ERA over his prep career
- Evan Clark (LHP) - IMG Academy (Fla.)/Fenwick HS (Ill.) - 8th-ranked pitcher in Ill. according to Perfect Game and the 5th-ranked LHP in Fla. according to Prep Baseball Report
- Alex Dargan (RHP) - Tamalpais HS (Calif.) - senior year went 7-0 with a 1.86 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 55 strikeouts in 41.3 innings pitched to earn North Ba Co-Player of the Year
- Harrison Feinberg (OF) - King School (Conn.) - according to Perfect Game, was the No. 6 player overall in Connecticut and the No. 2 outfielder
- Eric Hammond (RHP) - Keller HS (Texas) - ranked the No. 1 RHP and No. 3 player overall in the state of Texas by Perfect Game, and the No. 14 RHP overall in the nation
- Caiden Huber (INF) - Yucaipa HS (Calif.) - ranked No. 9 shortstop and the No. 27 player overall in California according to Perfect Game, as well as the No. 51 shortstop in the nation
- Fisher Johnson (RHP) - Aptos HS (Calif.) - helped lead Aptos HS to the CCS D3 championship game in 2019, also played football and basketball
- Revan Lazarus (C) - Brunswick School (Conn.) - joined the team as a walk-on in the fall
- Will O'Neil (LHP) - Newport Harbor HS (Calif.) - as a senior, pitched 30 innings and had a 3.00 ERA, named to the All-Tournament team at the PG World Series
- Owen Wendell-Braly (RHP) - Millbrook School (N.Y.) - No. 10-ranked RHP in New York and the No. 20 player overall in the state according to Perfect Game
PAC-12 TOURNAMENT: The inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament is scheduled for May 25-29 at Scottsdale Stadium (Arizona). The double-elimination tournament will be spread over five days at the Spring Training home of the San Francisco Giants. The top eight teams in the conference standings at the conclusion of the regular season will earn berths in the Pac-12 Baseball Tournament, from which the champion will receive the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
USC TO THE MLB: No other school can claim a larger number of alumni who have made it to the big leagues, with 118 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, 344 Trojans have been selected in the MLB Draft.
2021 MLB DEBUTS: The Trojans had a pair of alums break through to the big leagues this past season and both made headlines.
- Lars Nootbaar made his debut with the Cardinals in June and quickly became a fan favorite in St. Louis. Nootbaar played 58 games after his call-up, hitting 5 homers and driving in 15 runs.
- Tyler Gilbert received his call-up in August from the Diamondbacks and after a quick relief appearance for his official debut, he made history with his first start. Gilbert became just the 4th pitcher in MLB history to toss a no-hitter in his first career start when he shut down the Padres on Aug. 14. It was the sixth no-hitter thrown in the Bigs by a Trojan alum, which is more than any other collegiate program can claim.
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.