Trojans Head Back Out on Road, Weekend Pac-12 Series at Washington State|
April 21, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans (16-19, 5-7 Pac-12) travel to the Palouse to face the Washington State Cougars (12-21, 5-10 Pac-12) in a three-game series starting on Friday, April 22.
WASHINGTON STATE -- The Trojans are 66-30 all-time vs. the Cougars. The Trojans took two-of-three last year at Dedeaux Field from WSU. The last time the Trojans made the tirp to Pullman was in 2014, where the Trojans dropped 2-of-3, salvaging the season with a game three victory. Since 2012, the Trojans and Cougars are even in the series win totals, with the Cougars winning the last two series in Pullman (2012, 2014) and the Trojans winning the last two at Dedeaux Field (2013, 2015).
PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK- AJ Ramirez was on fire at the plate while the Trojans went 3-1, including a series victory over first-place Utah the week of April 4. Ramirez batted .538 (7-for-13) with five RBIs and two home runs. He had at least one hit in every game, with two multi-hit outings. First, he was 1-for-3 with 1 run scored as the Trojans defeated Pepperdine 6-5 in 10 innings on Tuesday. Then against Utah, he was 6-for-10 with 5 RBI, including two home runs. The first home run came on Friday as the Trojans won 5-2, with his solo home run in the 2nd inning tying the game up at 1-1. After driving in one run on Saturday in the Trojans' 6-1 victory, he followed up on Sunday with an impressive 3-for-3 day at the plate, including a two-run home run. He is now tied for the team lead in home runs (5), and saw his season batting average jump 23 points to .370 so far on the year. This is Ramirez's second-career weekly honor (coincidentally last year he was Player of the Week after a monster weekend at Utah.
Timmy Robinson earned the Trojans' first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor in 2016, batting .462 with three home runs and five RBIs the week of the UC Santa Barbara series. On Saturday in a must-win game to salvage the weekend vs. then-No. 7 UC Santa Barbara, Robinson went 2-for-3 with his first two home run game. He had a three-run shot and a solo shot, tying his career RBI total of five as the Trojans went on to win 9-5. He also had a solo home run on Monday as the Trojans defeated Cal State Fullerton, 3-2. The award is his first career Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.
IT'S IN THEIR BLOOD- Freshman 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. He currently is in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
ON THE BASES - The Trojans are hitting .280 as a team with runners in scoring position this season, led by David Oppenheim who is hitting .480 and Jeremy Martinez who is hitting .371. However, they have stranded 275 base runners through 35 games this season (a little under 9 per game).
RAKING FOR OPP- USC senior outfielder David Oppenheim has been hitting the cover off the ball lately. He had a 5-for-6 night at Long Beach State, becoming the first Trojan to have a five-hit night at the plate since 2010. He has had a hit in 26 of the 32 games he has played in this season. Eight of those games were multi-hit outings. He also has a 11-game hitting streak earlier this season.
TRYING TO GO BACK-TO-BACK - Junior catcher Jeremy Martinez was named to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation's top collegiate catcher. USC is home to the reigning Johnny Bench Award winner, Garrett Stubbs, who won the award as a senior in 2015. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 8th round of the 2015 First Year Players' Draft. Currently, Martinez has caught 33-of-35 games and is hitting .348 with 27 RBI and four home runs.
IN THE PAC-12 STATS - The Trojans are second in the conference in batting average (.293) and Jeremy Martinez and AJ Ramirez's 46 hits are tied for fourth in the Pac-12. The Trojans are ninth with a team ERA of 5.04 and a fielding percentage of .971 ranks sixth. The team's on-base percentage of .382 is third in the conference and second in total hits (344), fourth in RBI (172) and fourth in runs scored (189). The team is first in the Pac-12 with 30 home runs. Trojan pitchers rank third in the Pac-12 with 260 batters struck out. David Oppenheim's .371 batting avearge is 4th-best in the conference, AJ Ramirez's average of .365 ranks sixth, while Martinez's (.348) is 9th. Oppenheim's .486 on-base percentage is third-best in the conference. Brooks Kriske is tied for fifth in the Pac-12 with five saves.
SEASON OUTLOOK -In 2016, the Trojans return five of nine starters and two-thirds of their weekend rotation. The team is led by senior standouts Timmy Robinson, a first-team All-Pac-12 honoree and ace Kyle Davis. The team also returns Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American starting pitcher Mitch Hart, and All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention honorees Jeremy Martinez and AJ Ramirez.
2015 RECAP -- The Trojans made the NCAA Tournament in 2015 for the first time since 2005, advancing to the Lake Elsinore Regional final where they lost in extra innings to Virginia. The Trojans lose 2015 Johnny Bench Award winning catcher Garrett Stubbs, a First Team All-American, and batting average leader Bobby Stahel. Nationally, the Trojans ranked amongst the top in many offensive categories, including leading the country in sacrifice flies and ranking 18th in total stolen bases. Outfielder Bobby Stahel's .379 batting average was 26th nationally, while his 86 hits ranked 15th.
Individually, an impressive four Trojans finished in the top 11 in the Pac-12 in RBI, led by Timmy Robinson who was second with 53, Jeremy Martinez and AJ Ramirez who tied for sixth with 45, and Dante Flores finished 11th with 43.
In 2015, the Trojans finished with a .296 batting average--the team's highest since 2002. They were also among the Pac-12 leaders in multiple offensive categories, ranking second in batting average, second in on-base percentage (.374), third with a .411 slugging percentage, first with 377 runs scored, first with 614 hits, first with 347 RBI, third with 35 home runs, third with 110 doubles and second with 857 total bases. The team was also fourth with 857 total bases, led the Pac-12 with 94 stolen bases and was first with 46 sac flies.
IN THE PAC-12 -- The Trojans were picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 in 2016. Last season the Trojans finished tied for third with California and Arizona State.
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.
BALLPARK FUN -- For all Friday games, there will be free hot dogs for all USC students. On Sundays this season, there will be an autograph session available to all fans, starting 15 minutes after the game has been completed. Tuesday games will also be Taco Tuesdays.
TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with video webcasts for majority of home games. For road games you can hear a live radio broadcast on usctrojans.com.
CLASS BY CLASS PROSPECTS -- Senior right-handed pitcher Brent Wheatley was named the 22nd best senior in all of college baseball by Perfect Game USA. Likewise, RHP Kyle Davis was named the 56th-best senior and OF Timmy Robinson was named the 61st best senior. Sophomore pitcher Mitch Hart was named the No. 17th best sophomore nationally.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 110 players had made it to the major leagues. Current major leaguers include Tommy Milone (Minnesota Twins); Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays); Lucas Duda (New York Mets); Ian Kennedy (San Diego Padres); JP Howell (LA Dodgers).
BRINGING HIS SKILLS BACK -- Former USC shortstop Gabe Alvarez enters his sixth season as assistant coach for the Trojans. Alvarez played at USC as a shortstop from 1993-95 and had a career .338 batting average for the Trojans with 28 home runs and 163 RBI. In 1994, he was a first team All-America pick by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association after batting .326 with seven home runs and 51 RBI. He was a second-round selection in the 1995 major league baseball draft by the San Diego Padres and played three seasons in the major leagues (1998-2000).
COACHING THE TROOPS-- Volunteer assistant coach Chris Duffy, in his second season, came to Troy from his alma mater South Mountain Community College, where he was an assistant coach for two seasons, assisting with the outfielders, hitters and base-running, while coaching first base and recruiting. He helped coach the team to the Division I Region Championship series for two-straight seasons, including winning the region in 2014. During his two years as a coach he had five outfielders receive NCAA Division I baseball scholarships. He was also an instrumental part of ensuring the success of the student-athletes in the classroom by monitoring academic progress and acting as a student-athlete success coach. Duffy played 10 years of professional baseball, including four seasons as a major league outfielder after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth round of the 2001 MLB First Year Player's Draft. After having success as an all-star at virtually every level of the minor leagues, he was rated the best outfielder by Baseball America in 2004.
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).