Feb. 11, 2014
ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team will open the 2014 season at home this weekend with a three-game series against the University of New Mexico. On Friday, the game will begin at 6 p.m., while Saturday's contest will have a 4 p.m. first pitch and Sunday's game will begin at 1 p.m. All games will be played inside the friendly confines of Fowler Park, with the first two games being aired live on Fox Sports San Diego.
SCOUTING THE LOBOS: New Mexico is coming off a season in which they posted a 37-22 overall record, and were Mountain West Conference champions, earning their fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Regionals. The Lobos lost seven players to the draft, most notably DJ Peterson (.408 AVG, 18 HR, 72 RBI). However, the Lobos do have three returning players who hit at least .300 last season, in senior outfielder John Pustay (.372), senior outfielder Chase Harris (.321), and junior catcher Alex Real (.317). The pitching rotation is anchored down by right-hander Drew Bridges, who was 3-1 with a 4.46 ERA last seaosn. The Lobos are under the direction of seventh-year head coach Ray Birmingham. During his tenure in Albuquerque, Birmingham has posted an overall record of 203-154.
LAST TIME VS. NEW MEXICO: The 23rd ranked University of San Diego baseball team dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 26 New Mexico Friday afternoon in the first game of the UCLA Regional. Offensively for the Toreros, Kris Bryant led the way, as he went 3-for-4 with a double. Michael Wagner (5-2) was saddled with the loss for the Toreros, as he allowed two runs on five hits, while striking out five in 5.1 innings of work. New Mexico's Austin House (8-5) picked up the win on the mound for the Lobos, as he allowed no runs on six hits in 7.0 innings of work.
TOREROS IN SEASON OPENERS: The Toreros have posted an overall record of 29-27-1 in program history on opening day. However, current head coach, Rich Hill, has posted an overall record of 10-5 on opening day in his tenure at the helm. USD will look to improve upon this record on Friday as they begin the 2014 season against New Mexico.
TOREROS ON TV: The first two games of the season against New Mexico will be televised live on Fox Sports. Calling all the live play-by-play action will be Mike Pomeranz and Mark Sweeny will be providing color analysis of the action. This marks the second consecutive season, that Fox will carry the Toreros first two games of the season, having aired the first ever games at Folwer Park this past season.
JOE HAULS IN PRESEASON All-AMERICAN ACCOLADES: Junior catcher Connor Joe has been tabbed a Louisville Slugger third-team preseason All-American. Joe, a 6-0 junior from Poway, Calif., had a great sophomore campaign in which he hit .319 with 74 hits, 14 doubles, seven home runs and 43 RBI. In WCC action, Joe hit .301 with 28 hits, six doubles, three home runs and had 19 RBI. Joe continued his hot play this past summer, as he was a Cape Cod All-Star, and started at catcher in the All-Star game. While playing with the Chatham Anglers, Joe hit .308 with 45 hits, nine doubles, one triple, three home runs and had 22 RBI.
CONLON TABBED A PRESEASON All-AMERICAN: Sophomore left-handed pitcher PJ Conlon has been tabbed a Louisville Slugger third-team preseason All-American. Conlon, a 6-0 sophomore from Placentia, Calif., had quite an impressive rookie campaign, posting a 9-1 record, while bolstering an ERA of 2.16. Conlon became the first freshman in USD history to begin a season at 9-0. Conlon made 25 total appearances with 10 starts, and moved himself into the Friday starter in the Torero rotation. In WCC play, Conlon posted a perfect 6-0 record with a 1.28 ERA in 49.1 innings of work, including one complete game.
THE POLLS: The University of San Diego baseball team has been ranked No. 33 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason top-40 poll, the publication announced Friday morning. This now marks nine consecutive seasons that the Toreros have been ranked in the national polls. New Mexico is also ranked in this same poll, as the Lobos check in at No. 37.
PADRES COMING TO FOWLER PARK: The San Diego Padres announced changes to the March 2014 exhibition game schedule. As was previously announced, the Padres will host the Cleveland Indians for two exhibition games in San Diego prior to the regular season opener. Both games will be played at the University of San Diego's Fowler Park and Cunningham Field, the first on Friday, March 28 at 6:10 p.m. PT, and the second on Saturday, March 29 at 1:10 p.m. PT.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Toreros will remain at home next week with five home games. On Tuesday, the Toreros will welcome Japan Railway to Fowler Park for an exhibition game. Then on Friday, USD will begin a four-game series with Northern Kentucky at 6 p.m. Saturday, USD will play a double-header against Northern Kentucky, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. Then on Sunday, USD concludes the busy week with a 1 p.m. game against Northern Kentucky.
SUMMER BALL SUCCESS: The Toreros had a lot of players received individual honors for their play over summer. Both Connor Joe and Andrew Daniel were named All-Stars in the Cape Cod League, while sophomore left-handed pitcher Troy Conyers was tabbed the Prospect League's top prospect after he posted a 5-1 record, with a dazzling 1.53 ERA in eight starts for the Danville Dans. Conyers also racked up 60 strikeouts, to only 18 walks, while allowing just seven total runs to cross the plate in 41.0 innings of work. Wes Judish was named Galen Woods Fireman of the Year. Judish was also a dominating force on the mound for the Hannibal Cavemen, as he posted a 3-1 record with six saves in 28.2 innings of work. Primarily a closer, Judish recorded an impressive 0.94 ERA, while registering 37 strikeouts and only issuing eight walks.
TWO TOREROS NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM: Junior catcher Connor Joe and sophomore left-handed pitcher PJ Conlon were named to the preseason All-WCC team. Conlon, a 6-0 sophomore from Placentia, Calif., had quite an impressive rookie campaign, posting a 9-1 record, while bolstering an ERA of 2.16. Conlon became the first freshman in USD history to begin a season at 9-0. Conlon made 25 total appearances with 10 starts, and moved himself into the Friday starter in the Torero rotation. In WCC play, Conlon posted a perfect 6-0 record with a 1.28 ERA in 49.1 innings of work, including one complete game. Joe, a 6-0 junior from Poway, Calif., had a great sophomore campaign in which he hit .319 with 74 hits, 14 doubles, seven home runs and 43 RBI. In WCC action, Joe hit .301 with 28 hits, six doubles, three home runs and had 19 RBI. Joe continued his hot play this past summer, as he was a Cape Cod All-Star, and started at catcher in the All-Star game. While playing with the Chatham Anglers, Joe hit .308 with 45 hits, nine doubles, one triple, three home runs and had 22 RBI.
PICKED TO WIN IT: For the seventh straight year, the University of San Diego has been selected to win the 2014 West Coast Conference baseball championship, in a preseason poll of the WCC's 10 head coaches. The defending WCC Tournament Champion Toreros earned six of 10 possible first-place votes and 76 overall points in the poll. Pepperdine University, the 2012 WCC Champions, earned 68 points and picked up one first place vote, while the University of San Francisco, a 2013 NCAA Regional participant, collected 66 points and a pair of first place votes in the annual survey. Loyola Marymount University captured 56 points to finish fourth, while 2013 regular season champion Gonzaga University rounded out the top-five with 51 votes. BYU was tabbed sixth with 49 points and collected a first place vote. The University of Portland (27), conference newcomer the University of the Pacific (23), Saint Mary's College (21) and Santa Clara University (13) rounded out the poll.
TORERO SKIPPER Rich Hill: San Diego's Rich Hill has built the USD Toreros into one of the most successful Division I baseball programs on the West Coast. The 2014 spring season will be Hill's 27th year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and 16th at USD, having enjoyed 23 winning seasons in 26 years. Since taking over at USD in 1999, Hill has been remarkable in leading the Toreros to 15 winning campaigns, rewriting the school record book en route to claiming five West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2010, and one WCC Tournament Championship in 2013. Under his leadership San Diego has averaged 35 wins per season, including winning a school record 44 games in 2008, a year in which Hill was honored by his peers as the WCC Coach of the Year. In 2007, Hill led USD to its highest national ranking in program history at No. 4, as well as USD's first-ever national seed in the NCAA Regionals. In 2008, Hill guided the Toreros into the championship game of the Long Beach Regional, marking the first time USD had reached that game in a NCAA Division I Regional.
2014 LIVE STATS AVAILABLE: All of San Diego's home games, and select road games can be followed live via Stat broadcast on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Statbroadcast is a real time update of the action.
CAN YOU SEE ME?: All USD home games, as well as select road games, will be streamed live via video on the athletics department website. Fans can watch all the action live from the comfort of their home by logging onto usdtoreros.com. Simply go to the baseball schedule page and click on the WATCH link to view that days game. The voice of the Toreros, Jack Murray, will be providing live play-by-play of all home games as well as select road games this season.
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