Trojans With Huge Pac-12 Series On Deck Against Oregon State|
May 18, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans (24-25, 12-12 Pac-12) return to the friendly confines of Dedeaux Field after four games on the road to host Oregon State in a decisive Pac-12 series starting on Friday, May 20 at 7 p.m. PT. All three games this weekend will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.
OREGON STATE-- The Trojans are 51-28 overall against the Beavers. In 2015 the Trojans dropped two of three in Corvallis. Prior to that however, the Trojans took two-of-three the last time they faced the then-No. 1 Beavers to close out the 2014 season at Dedeaux Field. In 2014 the Trojans won on Friday 4-2, dropped the Saturday game 2-0 and then won the regular season finale 3-1 behind a gutty performance from current senior Kyle Davis, who threw a complete game in his first start of the year and only second of his career after getting the save on Friday. He tossed a career-high 14 strikeouts in the win. All time on the road vs. the Trojans, the Beavers are just 10-27, and the Trojans have taken the last two series against the Beavers at Dedeaux Field (2012 and 2014), going 4-2.
JOHNNY BENCH AWARD SEMIFINALIST - USC junior catcher Jeremy Martinez becomes the second Trojan in as many years to be named a semifinalist for the prestigious Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation's top collegiate catcher. Martinez follows in the footsteps of Garrett Stubbs, who won the award in 2015. Overall, Martinez becomes the third Trojan to be named a semifinalist for the honor, joining Stubbs and Jeff Clement, who won the award in 2005. Martinez has started at catcher in 47 of the 49 games he has played this season, throwing out 22 of 52 would-be base stealers so far this season. Martinez has also been calling games when teammate Kyle Davis pitches. The junior, the most polished Trojan hitter, ranks second on the team with an impressive .376 batting average. He has driven in 37 RBI, good for second-most on the team. He tallied five home runs, slugging .554 for the year. He has drawn 17 walks and he is the 16th-toughest hitters to strike out nationally, only striking out once every 18.1 at bats. One key criteria in determining the semifinalists is that they must be the starting catcher for their team in 75% of the games. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 6, 2016. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 19th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 30, 2016.
ON TUESDAY - The Trojan offense continues it's hot ways, blasting eight runs on 15 hits on Tuesday at UC Irvine. The Trojans tied their season-high of seven runs in an inning, with a seven-run third inning (previously in game 2 of series vs. Cal). The seven-run inning was due in large part to AJ Ramirez's second grand slam of the year (third of his career). 10 different Trojans had at least one hit in the game. Marrick Crouse was outstanding in his first collegiate start, going five solid shutout innings, his longest outing of the year. CJ Stubbs entered and threw a flawless sixth inning and then went behind the plate for the final three frames, an uncommon switch from pitcher to catcher.
HEART ATTACK KIDS - 20 of the Trojans' 49 games so far this season have been one-run games. The Trojans are 9-11 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 this season, the Trojans are 2-2.
PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK- Trojan junior catcher Jeremy Martinez earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for the week of April 18-24.For the first time since 1996, USC has garnered three Pac-12 Player of Week honors in the same season. Martinez was on fire at the plate this week as the Trojans went 3-1, including a Pac-12 series victory at Washington State. Martinez was .688 at the plate (11-for-16), with multi-hit outings in all four games. First in an 8-3 midweek victory over then-No. 18 Long Beach State, the Trojan catcher was 4-for-4 with three RBI, two coming on a two-run home run as he was a part of the Trojans' five home runs, the most in a single game in program history since 2006. He then was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored in game one of the series at Washington State as the Trojans won a rain-delayed 10-inning contest 4-2 on Friday in the series opener. He followed up that performance with a 2-for-5 day with one home run (a solo shot), coming on a two-run home run as the Trojans took the series with a 6-2 victory on Saturday. Rounding out the weekend, Martinez went 3-for-4 on Sunday for his final multi-hit day 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 was 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 as the Trojans defeated Cal State Fullerton, 3-2. The award was 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.
TOUGH TO K - Entering the week, junior catcher Jeremy Martinez is the 16th toughest batter in the nation to strikeout, with only 10 strikeouts in 181 at bats (strikes out once every 18.1 at bats).
ON THE BASES - The Trojans are hitting .269 as a team with runners in scoring position this season, led by David Oppenheim who is hitting .474 and Jeremy Martinez who is hitting .377. However, they have stranded 392 base runners through 49 games this season.
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 37 of the 46 games he has played in this season. He has had 18 games with 2 or more hits. He also has a 11-game hitting streak earlier this season.
IN THE PAC-12 STATS - The Trojans lead the Pac-12 in batting average (.295), second in on-base percentage (.382), second in slugging percentage (.433), second in home runs with 41 and first in total hits (485). Jeremy Martinez has 70 hits, tied for the most in the Pac-12, while David Oppenheim is fourth with sixth.The Trojans are ninth with a team ERA of 4.69 and a fielding percentage of .972 ranks sixth. Trojan pitchers are third with 369 batters struck out. David Oppenheim's .393 batting avearge is the best in the conference, Jeremy Martinez's average of .376 ranks third, while AJ Ramirez's (.331) is 11th. Oppenheim's .502 on-base percentage leads the conference. Brooks Kriske's six saves rank eighth. Joe Navilhon ranks 10th with 60 strikeouts, while Kyle Davis ranks 11th with 59 Ks.
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, lled 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.
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.