Trojans Set for First Pac-12 Road Series at No. 13 Arizona|
March 30, 2017
LOS ANGELES — The Trojans (15-8, 4-2 Pac-12) are set for their first Pac-12 road series, as they leave the friendly confines of Dedeaux Field on a weekend for the first time in a month, traveling to Arizona (17-7, 2-4 Pac-12). Game one of the series is set for 7 p.m. PT on Friday, game two at 6 p.m. PT on Saturday and game three at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday. All three games will be live streamed.
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 LAST WEEKEND- The Trojans went 2-1 last week, winning their second-straight Pac-12 series. In what was truly a team effort, Adalberto Carrillo and Corey Dempster led the team with four hits apiece, but three other Trojans (Nootbaar, Rios and B. Perez) each had three hits. Nootbaar led the way with three RBIs. On the mound, Friday starter Chris Clarke threw 5.2 innings in a no-decision. Brad Wegman went 4.2 innings on Saturday and was unlucky, with just one of the seven runs he gave up being earned. Sunday starter Marrick Crouse went four complete innings before getting into trouble and being lifted. CJ Stubbs, Bryce Dyrda and Solomon Bates combined for 10 scoreless innings in relief.
IN THE NATIONAL STATS - The Trojans now rank ninth nationally with a fielding percentage of .982. The Trojans also rank 12th nationally with 16 sac flies. The team’s three shutouts rank 20th in the nation. Individually, Lars Nootbaar’s 23 walks on the season ranks 14th nationally, while his 1.00 walks per game ranks 9th. Nootbaar and Carrillo’s four sac flies ranks 16th nationally. IN THE PAC-12 STATS - Despite making an uncharacteristic five errors in the weekend series vs. ASU, the Trojans rank tied for first with a .982 fielding percentage. Lars Nootbaar ranks fifth in the Pac-12 with 21 RBIs and is tied for third with four home runs. He also shows his patience at the plate as he leads the Pac-12 with 23 walks. Adalberto Carrillo is 10th with 17 RBIs. The Trojans are third with 101 walks drawn overall, showing the team’s patience at the plate. The team ranks second with 126 runs scored and is second with 112 RBIs. 16 sac flies for the Trojans second in the Pac-12. On the mound the team ranks fourth with 194 batters struck out and are second with 59 batters struck out looking. In Pac-12 play the team ranks fourth with a .288 batting average and the pitching staff is third with a 2.57 ERA.
BRINGING HOME THE BACON - The Trojans have been successful with runners in scoring position so far this season, batting .265 (60-of-230), but they have been even more impressive with runners on third and less than two outs, bringing home 39-of-62 runners for a percentage of 62.9%.
GETTING STUBBS GOING - March 7th 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. In his next start at LMU, he went a season-long five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with no walks and one strikeout. He threw 4.1 scoreless innings against ASU in relief, surrendering just five hits, with no walks and one strikeout. He is set to make his first weekend start of his career at Arizona on Saturday. 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).
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).