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Play Ball! Baseball Opens Fowler Park Friday

USDTOREROSDOTCOM All-American Kris Bryant.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
All-American Kris Bryant.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

Feb. 13, 2013

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ON DECK: The 12th-ranked University of San Diego baseball team will open the 2013 season in style, as they welcome cross-town rival San Diego State for a three-game series this weekend to christen USD's new stadium, Fowler Park and Cunningham Field.    Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m., Saturday is slated to begin at 6 p.m. and the series will wrap-up on Sunday at 1 p.m.

SCOUTING THE AZTECS: San Diego State is coming off a season in which they finished 26-34 overall and 12-12 in the Mountain West Conference.  The Aztecs lead the all-time series at 64-51-2, however the Toreros have won the last four meetings, and six of the last eight.  The Aztecs return their leading hitter from  a year ago in junior infielder Tim Zier, who hit .318 with 67 hits, 11 doubles, one triple and a team-leading 32 RBI.  On the mound, the Aztecs rotation is anchored down by sophomore right-hander Michael Cederoth, who is coming off a season in which he posted a 4-4 overall record, and had a 4.14 ERA in 67.1 innings of work.  The Aztecs are under the direction of 11th-year head coach Tony Gwynn.  

LAST TIME VS. THE AZTECS: The 19th-ranked University of San Diego baseball team scored six unanswered runs to claim a 6-2 victory over San Diego State University on April 9, 2012 in a non-conference game at Tony Gwynn Stadium to complete a season sweep of the Aztecs.  Offensively for the Toreros, Louie Lechich led the way, as he went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Kris Bryant and Bryan Haar also went 2-for-4 with Bryant driving in one run and Haar driving in two.  Drew Jacobs picked up his first collegiate win for the Toreros on the mound, as he allowed no runs on four hits in 3.0 innings of work. Michael Wagner came on and picked up his 15th save of the season, allowing no runs on one hit in 2.0 innings of work. The 15 saves became a new USD single-season record, passing AJ Griffin's 14 from the 2008 season. Aztec starter, Philip Walby, was saddled with the loss, as he allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 5.2 innings of work.

TOREROS IN SEASON OPENERS: The Toreros have posted an overall record of 29-26-1 in program history on opening day.  However, current head coach, Rich Hill, has posted an overall record of 10-4 on opening day in his tenure at the helm. USD will look to improve upon this record on Friday as they begin the 2013 season against San Diego State.

TOREROS ON TV: The first two games of the season against San Diego State will be aired live on Fox Sports.  For Friday's season-opener, Fox will air an one hour pregame special, including all the ceremonies surrounding the first ever game inside of USD's new yard, Fowler Park and Cunningham Field.  Calling all the live play-by-play action will be Mike Pomeranz and Mark Sweeny will be providing color analysis of the action.  Sideline reporting duties will be done by Andy Masur.  Friday's game will be a national broadcast on Fox College Sports, while Saturday's game will be live on Fox Sports San Diego.

ON THE AIR: The entire opening weekend series can be heard live on the air, as the Mighty 1090 has agreed to come and air the games live on 1700 AM.  On Friday, Craig Elsten will call the play-by-play action and he will be joined by Coach John Kentera providing color commentary.  On Saturday, it will again be Elsten on play-by-play, but the color analyst will be Ted Mendenhall.  Then on Sunday, Jack Cronin, the voice of Torero football, will call the play-by-play action and joining him with color commentary will be Bobby Wooldridge.

TOREROS RETURN EIGHT ALL-WCC PERFORMERS: The Toreros will feature eight returning All-WCC performers from last season, highlighted by preseason All-American's Kris Bryant and Michael Wagner.  Along with these two, USD welcomes back All-WCC first-teamer Andrew Daniel, as well as All-WCC honorable mentions honorees, Austin Bailey, Louie Lechich, Dillon Haupt, AJ Robinson and All-WCC freshman team member Connor Joe.  

BRYANT HAULS IN PRESEASON All-AMERICAN ACCOLADES: Junior third baseman Kris Bryant has been hauling in all the preseason accolades this season.  Bryant has been tabbed a preseason All-American by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, Perfect Game, and by the NCBWA.  Bryant, a 6-5 junior from Las Vegas, Nev., finished the 2012 season with a .366 batting average after recording 78 hits, 17 doubles, three triples and 14 home runs. Bryant also recorded 57 RBI and was slugging at a .671 clip at season's end. Bryant was a first-team All-WCC selection for the second consecutive season and helped lead USD to the third best record in program history at 40-17, and he was a first-team All-America selection by Baseball America last season.

WAGNER A PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Junior right-handed pitcher Michael Wagner has been tabbed a preseason All-America by the NCBWA, and by Louisville Slugger.  Wagner, a 6-4 junior right-handed pitcher from Las Vegas, Nev., had a great season on the mound for the Toreros in 2012, as he recorded a 5-2 record, with a 2.58 ERA and he set both the USD and WCC single-season saves record with 19. In 59.1 innings of work, Wagner struck out 53 batters, while only issuing 20 walks, and opponents only hit .246 off of him. In conference action, Wagner was 2-0 with a 5.03 ERA, and five saves en route to a first-team All-WCC selection. He was a NCBWA second-team All-American selection last season as well.

TOREROS WELCOME BACK A PAIR OF FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICANS: San Diego welcomes back a pair of freshman All-Americans from a year ago in the form of Andrew Daniel and Austin Bailey.  Daniel, a 6-1 sophomore infielder from San Diego, exploded onto the scene as a true freshman, hitting .339 with 78 hits, 18 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 45 RBI. In WCC action, Daniel continued to have a hot stick, as he hit .323 with 32 hits, nine doubles, two home runs and 21 RBI en route to a first-team All-WCC honor. Bailey, a 5-10 sophomore second baseman from Temecula, Calif., had a great rookie campaign for the Toreros, as he hit .273 with 44 hits, seven doubles, two triples and had 20 RBI. In conference action, Bailey hit .264 with 19 hits, three doubles, one triple and seven RBI.

THE POLLS: San Diego opens the season ranked as high as No. 12 in the Collegiate Baseball top-30 preseason poll.  The Toreros also check in at No. 20 in the NCBWA preseason top-25 poll and No. 25 in the Baseball America preseason top-25 poll.  This now marks eight consecutive seasons that the Toreros have been ranked in the top-25. San Diego State is not ranked in any of the top-25 preseason polls.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Toreros will remain at home next weekend, as they welcome Kent State to town for a four-game series.  On Friday the series will begin with a 6 p.m. first pitch, then the two teams will play a double-header on Saturday with a 1 p.m. scheduled first pitch.  The series will then come to an end on Sunday with a 1 p.m. game, all games will be played at Fowler Park and Cunningham Field.

TWO TOREROS NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM: Junior third baseman Kris Bryant and sophomore infielder Andrew Daniel were named to the preseason All-WCC team.  In WCC action last season, Bryant hit .326 with 31 hits, six doubles, two triples, seven home runs and had 25 RBI.  Bryant also slugged at a .653 clip and had an on base percentage of .409.  Daniel on the other hand, was just behind Bryant in WCC games, as he hit .323 with 32 hits, nine doubles, two home runs and 29 RBI.  Daniel had an on base percentage of .387 and was slugging at a .475 clip.

TOREROS TABBED WCC FAVORITES IN WCC PRESEASON POLL: The University of San Diego has been selected to win the 2013 West Coast Conference baseball championship, in a preseason poll of the WCC's nine head coaches. The Toreros earned six of eight possible first-place votes and 62 overall points in the poll. Last year's West Coast Conference champion, Pepperdine University, earned 53 points and picked up two first place votes in the annual survey.  Gonzaga University garnered a first place vote and tallied 49 points to finish third in the poll. Loyola Marymount University captured 47 points to finish fourth. The University of San Francisco was selected fifth with 39 points, while BYU was tabbed sixth with 24 points. The University of Portland (19 points), Santa Clara University (16 points), and Saint Mary's College (15 points) 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 2013 spring season will be Hill's 26th year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and 15th at USD, having enjoyed 22 winning seasons in 25 years. Since taking over at USD in 1999, Hill has been remarkable in leading the Toreros to 14 winning campaigns, rewriting the school record book en route to claiming five West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2010. 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.

2013 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All of San Diego's home games, and select road games can be followed live via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of CBS College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and 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.