Trojans Ready to Host Arizona State in Pac-12 Play|
March 23, 2017
ARIZONA STATE- The Trojans are 101-107 all-time against the Sun Devils. The Trojans have won the last two series against the Sun Devils, taking two-of-three at home in 2015 and again on the road in 2016. The The road series win last year was the first series win for the Trojans in Tempe since 2004. The Trojans dropped game one of the series last year 3-2, but took game two 6-2 and game three 31-9, the biggest margin of victory in the series and the second-most runs scored in a game in Trojan history. The 31 runs 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 that day also 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. Overall the Trojans are 6-6 over four years against the Sun Devils, and 3-3 at home.
DIFFERENT SQUAD, SAME OFFENSE -- The Trojan hitting coaches, Matt Curtis and Gabe Alvarez have been developing a new core of Trojan hitters every year, and this year is no different. After leading the Pac-12 in batting average in 2016, the Trojans picked up right where they left off, tallying 22 runs on 20 hits in the 2017 season opener. The Trojans finished off the 2016 season with a 31-9 defeat of Arizona State, scoring the 31 runs on 30 hits. Now in what is believed the be the biggest run total in back-to-back Division I NCAA games, the Trojans scored 53 runs on 50 hits in back-to-back games.
RECAPPING THE PAST - The Trojans went 2-2 last week, including a big 2-1 Pac-12 series victory over Washington State to open up the Pac-12 schedule. The Trojans got three quality starts from the weekend rotation of RHP Chris Clarke (7.0 IP, 3 R (2ER), RHP Brad Wegman (6.0 IP, 1 R) and RHP Marrick Crouse (6.0 IP, 2 R). That success on the mound was a big point of success for the Trojans, as the starting pitching has been up and down to start the season. At the plate, the Trojans found their bats again, batting .280 for the week, starting the series off with a 12-3 victory over the Cougars. Brandon Perez continued his hot hitting, batting .533 (8-for-15) on the week, along with Corey Dempster, who batted .412 (7-for-17) with a team-high five RBIs. Frankie Rios and Cris Perez each drove in three runs on the weekend.
IN THE NATIONAL STATS - The Trojans lead the nation with a fielding percentage of .985. The Trojans also rank fifth nationally with 15 sac flies. Lars Nootbaar's 20 walks on the season rank 13th nationally, while his 1.05 walks per game ranks 11th. Nootbaar's four sac flies ranks seventh nationally. IN THE PAC-12 STATS - As of last week the Trojans lead the Pac-12 in fielding percentage, boasting a .985 percentage, making just 10 errors in 601 chances. Lars Nootbaar ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 18 RBIs and is tied for first with four home runs. The Trojans are second with 85 walks drawn overall, showing the team's patience at the plate. Likewise the team's 12 home runs are tied for second, along with their 96 RBIs ranking second. 15 sac flies for the Trojans ranks at the top in the Pac-12, five more than the second-place team. On the mound the team ranks second with 151 batters struck out and tied for first with 48 batters struck out looking.
BRINGING HOME THE BACON - The Trojans have been very successful with runners in scoring position so far this season, batting .280 (54-of-193), but they have been even more impressive with runners on third and less than two outs, bringing home 35-of-54 runners for a percentage of 64.8%.
GETTING STUBBS GOING - Last Tuesday's game at San Diego State was the first appearance of the year for the Del Mar, Calif., native, as he has been hampered by a lingering elbow strain. He threw 2.0 innings against the Aztecs, surrendering no runs on just two hits with no walks and two strikeouts. The regular Tuesday starter for the Trojans as a true freshman in 2016, he will be a key arm to get going for the Trojans. Last season he threw 42.0 innings in 14 appearances, starting seven of those. He was 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA. His control was key for the Trojans, as he walked just eight batters and struck out 27.
YOUTH ON THE MOUND - Freshman arms have been stepping up for the Trojans, led by frosh LHP Austin Manning, who is 1-1 with three saves on the year. He has only given up two runs on seven hits with three walks and 20 strikeouts in 12.2 innings of work. RHP Chris Clarke leads all Trojan pitchers in appearances with eight, highlighted by his 5.2 scoreless innings against UCLA on Sunday in Dodger Stadium to earn his first collegiate win. RHP Connor Lunn has also been impressive, throwing 16.1 1 innings in five appearances, mostly in long relief. Sophomores Solomon Bates and Quentin Longrie have also been outstanding, with Bates throwing 9,2 innings with nine Ks and one save, while Longrie has extended, throwing a total of 11.1 innings in seven appearances, tallying 16 Ks.
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.
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).