Trojans Ready for Early Season Road Test at Wake Forest, Duke|
Feb. 23, 2017
LOS ANGELES — The Trojans (4-0) set out for an early season road test, visiting Wake Forest (2-3) for three from Feb. 24-26, and then heading up to Durham for a Monday afternoon matchup with the Duke Blue Devils (1-4). The Trojans are coming off an offensive explosion, outscoring the Coppin State Eagles 37-8 over the weekend. The Trojans are in the midst of a stretch of nine games (including last night’s exhibition game against the NC Dinos) in just 10 days.
RECAPPING COPPIN STATE - The Trojans had a solid opening weekend, sweeping the Coppin State Eagles at home. The infusion of new talent was evident, with five new starters on opening day - Freshmen Brady Shockey (RF), Tyler Prtichard (2B), RS Freshman Kaleb Murphy (C), Sophomore Austin Russ (1B) and Senior David Edson (LF). Overall 14 different players made their USC debuts, with 12 making their collegiate debuts. Friday starter Mitch Hart was outstanding, going six complete innings, throwing a no-hitter into the fifth, while striking out a career-high nine batters. He was followed by fellow junior RHP Brad Wegman, who tied his career-high strikeout total of five. Sunday’s starter Marrick Crouse settled in after a rocky first inning, also going six complete in the win. The bullpen saw the freshmen step up, with RHP Connor Lunn getting a three-inning save as he finished out the game one victory, while RHP Chris Clarke threw two innings in relief in his debut and LHP Austin Manning threw one. Sophomore RHP Solomon Bates also made his debut and looked solid, throwing the ninth in the game three 9-4 victory.
RECAPPING LONG BEACH STATE— The Trojans grinded out a close game on Tuesday vs. Long Beach State, winning their first extra inning game of the year. Starter Mason Perryman was strong, going four complete innings, holding the Dirtbags to two runs on five hits with one walk and a career-high five strikeouts. The Trojan offense got going with a two-run home run by Lars Nootbaar in the eighth inning, tying the game. The Trojan relievers of Quentin Longrie (3.0 IP, 1 H, 5 Ks), Chris Clarke (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 Ks) and Austin Manning (3.0, 2 H, 1 R, 2 Ks) were outstanding. After the Dirtbags took the lead in the top of the ninth on a sac fly, the Trojan offense answered again, made things happen, drawing a throw to second with runners on the corners that sailed into center field to plate the game-tying run in the bottom half of the inning. Then in the 11th inning, the Trojans took advantage of two Dirtbags errors and found themselves with the bases loaded, nobody out. Frankie Rios played hero, with two outs and down to his last strike he singled to left center to plate the game-winning run.
WAKE FOREST - The Trojans are 4-3 all-time against the Demon Deacons, including a 2-1 series victory over their 2016 squad at Dedeaux Field. The Trojans won game one of the series 9-4, dropped game two 5-4, before taking the rubber match, 2-1. The first time the Trojans and Demon Deacons met was in 1949. Prior to last season the last time the two teams had met was 1993. In last year’s series, Adalberto Carrillo led the team in batting, going an impressive 6-for-9 against Wake, with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs. He also scored two runs and drew two walks. Other Trojans of note in the series include Frankie Rios who was the third-best hitter that weekend, going 4-for-10 with 2 RBs and one run scored. The currently hot Lars Nootbaar was 4-for-14, with three RBI and two runs scored.
DUKE - Monday’s contest marks the first time these two programs have met on the diamond.
2017 TROJANS -The Trojans boast the youngest team since Coach Hubbs’ first season as head coach in 2013. There are 14 newcomers on this year’s squad, including 12 freshmen. Freshmen pitchers Chris Clarke and Austin Manning, along with Connor Lunn look to be impact arms for the Trojans as just freshmen, while Brady Shockey has impressed in spring practice, along with Christian Moya, Blake Sabol, Matthew Acosta and John Thomas.
BEHIND THE DISH -The Trojans have to replace backstop Jeremy Martinez, who was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, while finishing second on the team with a .376 batting average with six home runs. Entering the season, RS Fr. Kaleb Murphy, a super athletic and speedy runner, who excelled in the California Collegiate Summer League, earning All-Star honors, will be an impact catcher for the Trojans, along with senior graduate transfer Cris Perez, who brings experience from the ACC Conference with three seasons at Duke. Freshman Blake Sabol will be backing up the duo, along with senior AJ Fritts, sophomore Zack Sharpley and freshman Daniel Edson.
IT’S IN THEIR BLOOD- Sophomores CJ Stubbs and Lars Nootbaar are following in the footsteps of their older brothers who also wore the Cardinal and Gold. CJ’s older brother Garrett competed for Troy from 2012-2015 and earned First Team All-America honors, was the 2015 Johnny Bench Award winner and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2015. He currently is in the Houston Astros organization after being an eighth round pick in 2015. Lars’ older brother Nigel was a right-handed pitcher for the Trojans from 2012-14, leaving for the draft in 2014.Lars is poised to have a breakout season in 2017. Currently there is one set of brothers on the team, as freshman catcher Daniel Edson joins redshirt senior utility David Edson as a Trojan.
HEART ATTACK KIDS - 22 of the Trojans’ 56 games in 2016 were one-run games. The Trojans are 10-12 in those games. The Trojans have also played a 14-innings long contest vs. rival UCLA, eventually falling 5-3 in extra innings. In extra innings in 2016 the Trojans were 2-2.
2016 RECAP — The Trojans had a disappointing season in 2016, a year when there was a lot of expectations around the program. The Trojans finished 28-28 on the year and 15-15 in Pac-12 play. As a team the Trojans batted .294 to lead the Pac-12 in offense. Senior designated hitter David Oppenheim earned the Pac-12 Batting Title with a .387 average. The team also blasted 44 home runs, the most the squad has had in the BBCOR era. Overall the Trojans lost 27 of those 44 long balls due to graduation and the draft. The team does return Adalberto Carrillo, who finished third on the team with seven home runs, while Corey Dempster, a senior outfielder returns with six home runs to his credit. The team ended the 2016 season on a high note, defeating Arizona State 31-9 to win their final series of the year on the road,, the first time the team defeated the Sun Devils on the road since 2004. The Trojans set the program Pac-12 single-game run record with 31, just four shy of tying the overall single game record, set in 1959 against Occidental. The 30 hits on the day were tied for second in the single-game hits total for the program. That mark was also set in 1959 against Occidental. The program record is 36 hits set in 1997 against UC Santa Barbara.
2016 DRAFT— A record 12 Trojans were drafted in the 2016 MLB First Year Player Draft, the most in program history since the current draft format was adopted in 1980. The old record was 11 in 1998, when the team was coming off the program’s last national championship. C Jeremy Martinez was first off the board, 4th Rd to the St. Louis Cardinals, RHP Brooks Kriske (6th Rd, Yankees), LHP Bernardo Flores (Chicago White Sox), RHP Kyle Davis (14th Rd, Seattle Mariners), RHP Brent Wheatley (17th Rd, Miami Marlins), OF David Oppenheim (18th Rd, LA Angels), LHP Marc Huberman (18th Rd, Chicago Cubs), LHP Andrew Wright (21st Rd, Cincinnati Reds), RHP Joe Navilhon (21st Rd, Detroit Tigers), OF Timmy Robinson (21st Rd, Yankees), RHP Jeff Paschke (22nd Rd, LA Dodgers), OF Corey Dempster (37th Rd, Yankees). Overall the Trojans have had 328 players drafted since the draft’s inception in 1965.
DEMPSTER TIME- Senior OF Corey Dempster elected to come back for his senior year, despite being a 37th Rd. draft pick of the Yankees. Of five juniors drafted, Dempster was the only one to return for his final season of action. He batted .290 last season in his first year as an everyday starter for the Trojans (starting 41 of 49 games). As the Trojans’ leadoff man, a position he’s set to maintain again in 2017, he showed some pop, knocking out six home runs, tying him for third on the team. He also had 11 doubles on the year.
IN THE PAC-12 — The Trojans were picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 in 2017. Last season the Trojans were selected to finish fifth. The Trojans are looking to channel their 2014 season, when they were voted to finish ninth in the Pac-12, but finished tied for fourth and were one of the last four teams left out of the NCAA Tournament.
IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD — Follow the Trojan baseball all year long on twitter, with the baseball specific twitter handle, USC_Baseball. The Trojans are also on Instagram, with the handle SCTrojans_Baseball and on Snapchat with the handle baseball_usc.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS — In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 111 players had made it to the major leagues. Current major leaguers include Tommy Milone (Milwaukee Brewers); Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays); Lucas Duda (New York Mets); Ian Kennedy (Kansas City Royals); JP Howell (Toronto Blue Jays); Andrew Triggs (Oakland A’s).
OPERATION: OMAHA — From 1948 to 1978, USC dominated the world of college baseball with 11 national championships in 17 appearances at the College World Series (the 1948 CWS was held in Kalamazoo, Mich., with the CWS moving to Omaha, Neb., in 1949). After the 1978 season, the Trojans went through a drought and did not return to Omaha until 1995, when Troy reached the national championship game. Since 1995, the Trojans have made four trips to Omaha (1995-1998-2000-2001), winning their 12th CWS title in 1998. USC has the second-most wins (74) at the CWS and is tied for third for most appearances (21).
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME — Legendary USC pitcher Randy Johnson became the third Trojan to be named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is just the second Trojan to enter the Hall as a player, following in the footsteps of Tom Seaver, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 with a 98.8 percent vote, which remains the highest percentage ever for an inducted member. Pat Gillick entered the Hall of Fame in 2011 as a front office executive with the Philadelphia Phillies.