Oct. 19, 2016
LOS ANGELES – With fall ball in full swing, the USC baseball program welcomes 15 newcomers to the team for the 2017 season. The class includes 13 true freshmen and two four-year graduate transfers.
The highly-touted class, ranked 40th nationally by Collegiate Baseball, features seven pitchers, one two-way player, three infielders, two catchers and two outfielders.
On the class, fifth-year head coach Dan Hubbs said, “We are very excited about this year’s group of recruits. There is a ton of speed and athleticism among the position players and a balance of right and left-handed pitching that we think can make an immediate impact in 2017.”
The class is highlighted by catcher/outfielder Blake Sabol, the 33rd round pick of the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 MLB First Year Player Draft. In 2015 he was rated the 64th-best player in the nation in his class and seventh-best catcher by Perfect Game USA. He was also a 2015 First Team Underclass All-American by Perfect Game. Sabol was selected to play in the Perfect Game All-American Game in for top 50 2016 players in the nation. Two-way athlete Matthew Acosta figures to factor in on the mound as a left-handed pitcher and in the outfield. He earned All-CIF honors from 2014-2016 and was a 2015 Perfect Game Underclass All-American. 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher Chris Clarke, a 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and 2016 California All-Region First Team honoree figures to be an impactful arm for the Trojans. Right-handed pitcher Connor Lunn, of Cathedral Catholic High School is also a key arm, earning 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention honors and was a 2016 Cal Hi Sports All-State Pitcher.
Two pitchers joining the Trojans have collegiate experience, in left-handed pitcher Max Tishman out of Wake Forest and righty Brock Larson from the University of San Francisco. Tishman brings experience from the ACC and the prestigious Cape Cod League, while Larson made 49 appearances out of the pen for the Dons over three seasons.
Bios for all 15 newcomers listed below in alphabetical order.
Matthew Acosta, OF/LHP (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala HS)
Played three years of varsity baseball for head coach Chris Vogt at Ayala High School…Three time All-League (2014-2016) and All-CIF (2014-2016) selection…Led the Sierra League in batting average, stolen bases, on-base percentage and slugging in his sophomore and junior seasons…Named All-Inland Valley in 2015 and 2016…Played travel ball for the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal and was a member of both the Angels Elite and Red Sox scout teams…2015 Cal-Hi Sports All-State selection and a Perfect Game Underclass All-American.
Chris Clarke, RHP (Westlake Village, Calif./Newbury Park HS)
Played four years of varsity baseball for Jeff Lampert at Newbury Park HS…2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American…2016 California All-Region First Team selection…2014 Perfect Game Underclass honorable mention, 2015 Perfect Game Underclass High honorable mention…Two-time Second-Team All-Marmonte League honoree… Pitcher of the Year…Scholar Athlete…Played club ball for SGV Arsenal.
Daniel Edson, C (Las Vegas, Nev./San Ramon Valley HS)
Played three years of varsity baseball at Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas, Nev. And San Ramon Valley HS in Danville, Calif…Named the San Ramon Valley HS Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2016…Earned Honorable Mention All-East Bay Athletic League in 2016, batting. 290…Earned Perfect Game All-West Region honors in 2016…Earned Perfect Game Underclass honorable mention in 2015 as a junior…Helped lead Bishop Gorman HS a Nevada State Title in 2015 as a junior, batting .308 …As a sophomore his team earned American Legion State runners up…Played club ball for Hoots Baseball (2015, 2016), Connie Mack Northern California State Finalists in 2016…Connie Mack West Regional Finalist 2016…Also played fall ball for the Las Vegas Cardinals, competed in the Dodger Classic Invite…Boasts a POP time between 1.9-2.0…An honor roll student all four years of HS, earned scholar athlete honors from 2013-2016.
Grant Jones, LHP (Danville, Calif./De La Salle HS)
A two-sport standout in baseball and football at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif.…Won the East Bay Athletic League in baseball during his junior (2015) and senior (2016) seasons…Won the CIF-North Coast Section (NCS) in 2016 after finishing as runner-up in his junior year…Also won two NCS championships in football (2014 and 2015)…Four-time honor student and named a 2015 NCS Outstanding Student-Athlete.
Brock Larson, RHP (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Torrey Pines HS/USF)
Joins the Trojans after three seasons at the University of San Francisco…Made 49 career appearances for the Dons, all out of the bullpen…As a redshirt junior in 2016, he made 21 appearances on the year, all out of the bullpen… went 1-0 with a 4.28 ERA... struck out 15 batters in 27.1 innings... allowed his first earned run of the year at Sacramento State (Mar. 22), snapping a streak of 13.0 innings over eight appearances to start the season... combined with two other pitchers to post the Dons’ first shutout of the year at No. 4 Oregon State (Mar. 13) by throwing 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing one walk... had his longest outing of the year vs. Grand Canyon (Mar. 8) by going four innings in relief, allowing one unearned run on two hits with a walk and a season-best three strikeouts... earned his lone win at San Jose State (Mar. 15) with 1.2 scoreless innings of work... did not allow an earned run over his final five appearances (3.2 IP)... stranded 77% of the runners he inherited, the highest rate on the team.
Connor Lunn, RHP, (Carlsbad, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS)
Played three seasons of varsity baseball at Cathedral Catholic HS in San Diego, Calif…As a senior in 2016, earned First Team All-CIF, 0.99 ERA, 10 wins, 70.2 IP, 70 Ks, .183 opponent batting average…was the unanimous vote for Eastern League Pitcher of the Year…First Team All-Eastern League…2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention selection…2016 Cal Hi Sports All-State Pitcher…2016 MaxPreps All-State Pitcher…2016 All-San Diego Section Pitcher…Honorable Mention All-American California Region…A two-time Preseason Under Armour All-American…2015 and 2014 Perfect Game Underclass High Honorable Mention…As a junior in 2015, went 6-2 with a 2.56 ERA, 40 Ks in 57.1 innings…As a sophomore in 2014, went 8-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 65 Ks in 52 innings of work…Played club for the San Diego Show, Marucci Elite….Threw a complete game shutout in the playoffs in Ft. Myers at the WWBA Championships Underclass for Marucci Elite…An honor roll student.
Austin Manning, LHP (Oakdale, Calif./Oakdale HS)
Played three years of varsity baseball at Heritage HS in Brentwood, Calif. (sophomore & junior) and Oakdale HS in Oakdale, Calif. (senior)…Earned First Team Valley Oak League honors as a senior in 2016…Named his team’s Most Valuable Pitcher in 2016, going 7-3 with a 1.33 ERA, 87 Ks, while batting .347 at the plate…As a junior at Heritage HS, earned All-Bay Valley League First Team honors…Led team to the BVAL title in 2015 as a junior, 5-0 with a 0.36 ERA in league play, overall was 6-0 with a 1.97 ERA…Earned Perfect Game All-Region Second Team honors…In 2015 was rated the 12th-best LHP in California by Perfect Game…2015 Member of the Oakland A’s Area Code team.
Christian Moya, OF (Diamond Bar, Calif./South Hills HS)
Played four years of varsity baseball—two at Bishop Amat under former USC assistant coach Andy Nieto and two at South Hills under coach Darren Murphy…Named Second Team All-Del Rey League his freshman and sophomore seasons at Bishop Amat…Named Second Team All-Palomares League his junior year at South Hills…Named First Team All-League, First Team All-San Gabriel Valley and First Team All-CIF Southern Section for his senior campaign in 2015…Hit .360 with 13 doubles and two home runs, adding 14 stolen bases...Was part of two CIF-Southern Section championship teams: one at Bishop Amat and one at South Hills.
Jarrett Pico, INF (Miami Beach, Fla./Palmer Trinity HS)
Played four years of varsity baseball at Palmer Trinity School in Palmetto Bay, Fla. under coach Donnie Harvey…Also played two years of basketball…Competed in the District 4A-8 and was a First Team All-District and Second Team All-County selection both as a junior and as a senior…Also named Second Team All-Florida and Honorable Mention All American by Perfect Game his senior year…Hit .427 senior year and .405 in his career…Broke school records for runs scored in both a single season (32) and a career (105)…Teams won two South Florida Baseball Conference championships (2012 and 2016)…Was a four-year honor student and a member of the Hispanic Honor Society.
Tyler Pritchard, INF (Lake Elsinore, Calif./Temescal Canyon HS)
Played three years of varsity baseball at Temescal Canyon High School under coach Patrick O’Grady…Was an All-Sunbelt League selection all three years (2014-2016) in addition to being an All-Tournament selection for both the Norco and Redlands tournaments his junior year…Hit .398 with six triples as a senior…Named team defensive player of the year in his junior and senior seasons…Served as a team captain as a senior…Four-time All-Academic selection and Math Department Award Winner his senior year.
Blake Sabol, OF/C (Aliso Viejo, Calif./Aliso Niguel HS)
Four-year varsity baseball for Craig Hanson at Aliso Niguel HS…Earned 2016 South Coast All-League honors…Was a 2013 and 2014 All-Sea View League selection…Earned 2016 Aliso Niguel Athlete of the Year…Boasts a career .338 average with 133 hits, 20 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs, 73 RBI, a .418 on-base percentage, .498 slugging percentage and 43 stolen bases in 126 games played…In 2015 was rated the No. 64-best player in the nation in his class and seventh-best catcher by Perfect Game USA…2015 First Team Underclass All-American by Perfect Game…Selected to play in the Perfect Game All-American Game in for top 50 2016 players in the nation…Finalist for the USA Baseball U18 team…Was rated the 23rd best player in the nation for the class of 2016 by Max Preps…Was a member of the Team USA U15 National Team in 2013…Played club baseball for CBA Marucci, the No. 1 ranked team by Perfect Game in 2016, where he hit out of the No. 4 spot.
Brady Shockey, OF (Irvine, Calif./JSerra HS)
Played three years of varsity baseball under Brett Kay at JSerra Catholic High School after transferring from Foothill High School…Named First Team All-Century League after his freshman season at Foothill…Named MVP of the Trinity League and First Team All-CIF-Southern Section after his sophomore season at JSerra…First Team All-Trinity League as a junior…Named All-County as a sophomore and junior.
John Thomas, INF (Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake HS)
Played three years of varsity baseball at Harvard-Westlake, two under Matt LaCour and one under Jared Halpert…Named team defensive player of the year as a sophomore (2014), Second Team All-Mission League as a junior (2015) and First Team All-Mission League as a senior (2016)…Hit .365 as a junior and .375 as a senior…Named MVP of the IMG National Classic as a senior…Honor student as a junior and senior.
Max Tishman, LHP (Wellesley, Mass./Lawrence Academy HS/Wake Forest)
Played three seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to USC…In 2013 as a true freshman, he made one appearance out of the bullpen against West Virginia…In 2014 as redshirt freshman, he appeared in 26 games, starting two, including his first career start against Marshall where he went five innings, striking out five, giving up just three hits… Also earned the start against Radford ... Struck out at least two batters in five straight games... Did not give up a run or hit from March 1 to March 12 ... Pitched a scoreless inning at North Carolina ... Went 1.1 innings vs. Western Carolina while striking out two and not giving up a hits or runs ... Pitched in each win over No. 1 Virginia ... Saw action in the play-in game of the ACC Championship against Georgia Tech ... Playing with the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2014…As a redshirt sophomore in 2015 he made nine appearances, including earning the win with a scoreless inning of work against App State.
James Vaccaro, RHP (Orinda, Calif./Miramonte HS)
A two-sport athlete at Miramonte High School in Orinda, Calif. where he played four years of varsity baseball and a year of football…Four-time All-Diablo Foothill Athletic League (DFAL) selection in baseball and All-DFAL in football his senior season (2015)…Finished his senior season with a 6-3 record, leading team to a semi-final finish in the CIF-North Coast Section…Named a Perfect Game Underclass All-American in his sophomore season (2014) and was a pre-season PG Underclass All-American prior to his junior season (2015).