Feb. 19, 2014
ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team (2-1) will return to action on Friday, as they begin a four game series with Northern Kentucky University. Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, the two teams will play a double header beginning at 1 p.m., and the second game at approximately 5 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday with a 1 p.m. game.
LAST TIME OUT: USD posted a 2-1 record in the opening weekend of play, taking the three-game series over the University of New Mexico. USD began the season in a strange way, with the first game in full swing on Friday evening, a heavy fog rolled into Fowler Park, causing the game to be halted in the bottom of the third. Play resumed on Saturday, and USD went on to claim a 6-4 victory. Offensively for the Toreros, Austin Bailey, Louie Lechich and Grant Melker all recorded two hits apiece, while Josh Goossen-Brown had a home run and two RBI. Then in the night cap, USD dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to the Lobos in 11 innings. Offensively for the Toreros, Daniel and Lechich led the way, as they each went 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Daniel had one home run. USD then took the series with a 17-2 win on Sunday behind 19 total Torero hits. Offensively for the Toreros, Daniel led the way, as he went 4-for-5 with four RBI, while Conyers was also impressive going 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI. Lechich (1-0) picked up the win on the mound for the Toreros, as he allowed one run on seven hits in 5.2 innings of work.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW MEXICO SERIES:
SCOUTING THE NORSE: Northern Kentucky University enters the series with a 2-2 overall record after spliting a four-game series with Troy this past weekend. This will be the first meeting between the two programs. The Norse offense is paced by Logan Spurlin, who is hitting .575 with six hits, three doubles, one home run and four RBI. NKU's pitching rotation is anchored down by left-hander Cody Cooper, who is 0-1 with a 2.51 ERA in one outing this season. The Norse are under the direction of 14th-year head coach Todd Asalon. During his tenure with the program, Asalon has amassed an overall record of 444-323-1.
LECHICH LOOKS GOOD IN OPENING SERIES: Senior center fielder/LHP Louie Lechich helped lead USD to a series win over New Mexico this past weekend. Lechich went 6-for-14 (.429) with one home run and five RBI, including going 3-for-6 with a home run and three RBI in the rubber game on Sunday. And that is just his offensive numbers. He was also USD's Sunday starter, as he went 5.2 innings, allowing one run on seven hits, holding the normally potent New Mexico hitters at bay in picking up the win. Just of note, his home run he hit matches his total from all of last season.
DANIEL SWINGING IT WELL EARLY: A lot of questions have been on the minds of a lot of people and wondering how USD would do without 2013 Golden Spikes award winner Kris Bryant. Well so far through one weekend, the Toreros are just fine. A big reason for that is the play of Andrew Daniel. Daniel, a freshman All-American, found himself starting at third base in two of the three games, and he committed no errors, and more impressive then that, he swung the bat really well. He went 6-for-14 (.462) with one home run and six RBI. Not too shabby of a start to the season for the San Diego native.
FIRST BASE AND THE HOME RUN: An interesting trend happed over the first weekend of play. Just about every time USD put someone new at first base, they hit a home run. In the first game, Connor Joe was moved from catcher to first, and he unleashed his first home run of the season. Then in game three, Troy Conyers was playing first base, and he unleashed is first home run of the season as well. Also Josh Goossen-Brown hit his first home run as a Torero, only difference is he did while playing in the outfield. However, Goossen-Brown did start at first base on Saturday in the night cap. The only other Toreros to hit home runs were Andrew Daniel, and Louie Lechich, but neither played first base at all this past weekend.
THE LONG BALL IS STILL HERE: Last season was a special one for all USD fans, as Kris Bryant hit a NCAA record 31 home runs in the bbcore bat era, and that was more then some 200 Division I schools in the country. But USD's long ball didn't stop there, as Dillon Haupt had 11 himself, and Austin Green chipped in with five and Connor Joe had seven. As a team, USD hit a total of 64 home runs. But after four games this year, the Toreros have hit five long balls, which is five ahead of last season's team. It may be a small sample size, but it is a fact.
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.
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.
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.
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.