Trojans Set to Close Out Regular Season at Arizona State|
May 25, 2016
LOS ANGELES — The Trojans (26-27, 13-14 Pac-12) close out the regular season with a three-game set at Arizona State (33-19, 15-12 Pac-12), starting on Friday, May 27 at 7 p.m. PT in Tempe, Ariz.
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 51 of the 53 games he has played this season, throwing out 23 of 53 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 .375 batting average. He has driven in 39 RBI, good for second-most on the team. He tallied six home runs, slugging .511 for the year. He has drawn 18 walks and he is the 8th-toughest hitter to strike out nationally, only striking out once every 20.0 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.
HEART ATTACK KIDS - 21 of the Trojans’ 53 games so far this season have been one-run games. The Trojans are 10-11 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 weekend, junior catcher Jeremy Martinez is the 8th toughest batter in the nation to strikeout, with only 10 strikeouts in 200 at bats (strikes out once every 20.0 at bats).
IN THE NATIONAL STATS - David Oppenehim ranks 41st in the nation with a .385 batting average.
BATTING TITLE BATTLE - David Oppenheim leads the Pac-12 in hitting with a .385 batting average entering the final weekend of the season. In second place is hit teammate Jeremy Martinez, who is batting .375. In third place is Arizona’s Zach Gibbons with a .369 average. In 2013, the Trojans’ Adam Landecker finished in second place in the battle with a .351 average.
ON THE BASES - The Trojans are hitting .267 as a team with runners in scoring position this season, led by David Oppenheim who is hitting .462 and Jeremy Martinez who is hitting .364. However, they have stranded 407 base runners through 52 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 40 of the 50 games he has played in this season. He has had 19 games with 2 or more hits. He also has a 11-game hitting streak earlier this season.
IN THE PAC-12 STATS - The Trojans are second in the Pac-12 in batting average (.289), second in on-base percentage (.375), second in slugging percentage (.423), second in home runs with 43 and second in total hits (511). Jeremy Martinez has 75 hits, the most in the Pac-12, while David Oppenheim is fifth with 69.The Trojans are eighth with a team ERA of 4.51 and a fielding percentage of .974 ranks fifth. Trojan pitchers are third with 395 batters struck out. David Oppenheim’s .385 batting avearge is the best in the conference, Jeremy Martinez’s average of .375 ranks second. Oppenheim’s .493 on-base percentage leads the conference. Brooks Kriske’s six saves rank eighth. Joe Navilhon ranks ninth with 68 strikeouts.
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.
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); Andrew Triggs (Oakland A’s).
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. 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. 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. A graduate of ASU, Duffy is making his first trip back to Tempe in Cardinal and Gold.