Trojans Return to Dedeaux Field, Host California in Three-Game Pac-12 Series|
May 8, 2014
LOS ANGELES - The Trojans return to Dedeaux Field to host California in their second-to-last Pac-12 series of the season. The Trojans are right in the hunt for their first postseason berth since 2005, as they are currently sitting in fifth place in the Pac-12 with a conference record of 13-11.
The Trojans salvaged last weekend at Washington State with a 7-1 victory over the Cougars on Sunday. After a strong six innings of work from Bob Wheatley, the Trojans were able to break the 1-1 deadlock with six runs in the eighth inning. Kevin Swick, Garrett Stubbs and Dante Flores each had two hits on the day, with Flores tallying two doubles, while Stubbs drove in two runs.
Last Tuesday, the Trojans fell 6-2 to visiting UC Irvine. The Trojans did not look like themselves from the get go, as costly errors and miscues hurt the team, especially in the costly four-run Anteater seventh inning. Jake Hernandez, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 at the plate, while Blake Lacey, made his first start in left field and went 3-for-4 with one RBI. The Trojans out hit the Anteaters, 10 to 9, but left nine runners on base.
CELEBRATING THE 70's-- The Trojans will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1974 NCAA title, the last in the program's unprecedented run to five straight national title from 1970-74. All five teams will be recognized for their incredible accomplishments prior to Saturday's game vs. California.
CELEBRATING MOM - Bring Mom out to the ballpark to celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday in their 1 p.m. PT game vs. California. The $50 package includes two game tickets, two tickets to a pregame brunch and a yoga mat.
CALIFORNIA NOTES-- USC's second-year head coach Dan Hubbs is set to square off against his old ball club, after spending 12 seasons as the pitching coach for the Golden Bears. He is currently 3-1 vs. Cal. The Bears have a season record of 19-24 and are 7-14 in Pac-12 play. As a team they are batting .330, while their pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.66 and opponents are batting .256 against them. Devon Rodriguez leads the Bears with a .271 batting average through 43 games. He also has four home runs, while the team leader in the big fly category is Derek Campbell.On the mound, Kyle Porter and Ryan Mason both have four wins apiece. Porter has struck out a team-high 60 batters to lead the team.
The Trojans lead the series record vs. the Golden Bears, 230-144. Last season, the Trojans took two-of-three, winning 4-3, 9-5 and losing 15-5 in the series at Evans Diamond. The last time the Golden Bears visited Dedeaux Field, April 5-7, 2012, the Trojans won 2-of-3.
STARTERS -- Friday: RHP Wyatt Strahan Career Highs IP: 9.0 IP - last April 17, 2014 vs. Arizona Strikeouts: 11 - April 11, 2014 vs. Utah - Earned first-career Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honor last Monday after a complete-game shutout in last Thursday's 1-0 victory over Arizona. Strahan held the Wildcats to just five hits. He also earned College Sports Madness National Pitcher of the Week honors. - Saw his streak of scoreless innings thrown snapped at Washington State at 21.1 innings pitched over four different starts.
Saturday: RHP Brent Wheatley Career Highs IP: 6.1 IP - 2x, last April 18, 2014 vs. Arizona Strikeouts: 4, 2x, last April 25, 2014 at UCLA
Sunday: LHP Bob Wheatley Career Highs IP: 7.0, multiple times, last April 19 vs. Arizona Strikeouts: 10, March 2, 2014 vs. Cal Poly
BROTHER TO BROTHER -- After a national search, it appears that Bob and Brent Wheatley are just one of two weekend starters for a NCAA Division I team. The other pair of starter brothers are at Northwestern State in Louisiana. The Wheatley's father, Bob Wheatley, Sr., played basketball at USC, while their mother, Julie, was a Song Girl.
PAC-12 PITCHER OF THE WEEK -- Wyatt Strahan, was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week (April 14-20) after throwing his first complete-game shutout in a 1-0 victory against Arizona. He held the Wildcats, the top-hitting team in the Pac-12 entering the weekend to just five hits.
PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- USC senior third baseman Kevin Swick was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 24-March 2 as he went 7-for-12 at the plate over three games. The honor is the first of Swick's career Conference Player of the Week selection. Swick played a big role for the Trojans in their split of a two-game series vs. No. 13 Cal Poly. In the second half of the double header on Sunday, the senior went 3-for-4 with two doubles. He had a hand in six of the Trojans 16 runs; scoring three runs himself while driving in three more. He also drew a walk on the night. In the first half of the double header vs. Cal Poly and on Tuesday at Long Beach State, Swick was 4-for-8 overall, going 2-for-4 in each game. In the Tuesday game, Swick had two of the Trojans five hits in a close 2-1 loss.
Swick was followed by Jake Hernandez, who won Player of the Week for the first time in his career, the week of April 21-27. He hit .556 on the week, tallying an impressive 10 hits over four games, including posting multi-hit outings in each game. In the three game series against the Bruins, he went 7-for-13 with four RBI, adding a RBI and a ninth-inning run scored in the Trojan's come-from-behind 7-4 victory on Saturday to complete the series sweep.
RAKING IN THE ACCOLADES -- Junior catcher Garrett Stubbs was named a Preseason All-Pac-12 first team selection by College Sports Madness and was recently named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List. The junior led the conference in runners caught attempting to steal in 2013. Freshman phenom Jeremy Martinez was also named Pac-12 Preseason Freshman of the Year by the publication.
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.
TROJANS ON THE NET -- USC baseball games this season will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with video webcasts for majority of home games. The link is: http://pac-12.com/videos/university-southern-california. For road games you can hear a live radio broadcast on usctrojans.com.
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.
IN THE PAC-12 -- By a vote of the Pac-12 coaches, the Trojans are picked to finish ninth in the conference. The Trojans were picked to finish higher than Washington and Utah. Oregon State was picked to win the Pac-12, followed by Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, California and Washington State.
CLASS BY CLASS PROSPECTS -- Sophomore lefty Kyle Twomey was named the No. 16 prospect in the sophomore class by Baseball America. Perfect Game USA selected Twomey as the No. 31 player in the sophomore class. Jeremy Martinez the No. 35 player in the freshman class nationally by Perfect Game USA. In the junior class, Wyatt Strahan was ranked No. 44 in the junior class, Nigel Nootbaar was ranked 86th.
YOUTH MOVEMENT -- The Trojans have 23 freshmen and sophomores on the roster this season. The sophomores, although only in their second year of college ball, logged significant minutes as true freshmen that should pay off for Troy this year.
TROJANS IN THE MAJORS -- In the history of the USC baseball program, a total of 108 players had made it to the major leagues. Current major leaguers include pitchers Ryan Cook and Tommy Milone (Oakland A's); Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays); Grant Green (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim); Lucas Duda (New York Mets); Ian Kennedy (San Diego Padres); JP Howell (Los Angeles Dodgers); Nick Buss (Los Angeles Dodgers).
BRINGING HIS SKILLS BACK -- Former USC shortstop Gabe Alvarez enters his fourth 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--Dan Hubbs has also brought in a very capable assistant coach in 2014, Matt Curtis, who formerly was the head coach at Cal State Northridge. He will run the offense for the Trojans and brings a load of experience, both as a player and a coach. Another newcomer on the coaching front is volunteer assistant Vinny Lopez, who brings coaching experience from the professional ranks.
BROTHERLY LOVE -- The Trojans boast two sets of brothers on their roster, with the Aguirre brothers, senior J.R. Aguirre (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Palos Verdes HS) and sophomore Carl Aguirre (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Palos Verdes HS) and the Wheatley brothers senior Bob Wheatley (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) and sophomore Brent Wheatley (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS).