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Baseball Looks to Return to Winning Ways This Week

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Kalei Hanawahine.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Kalei Hanawahine.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

March 1, 2010

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ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team (4-4) will travel to play No. 18 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday at Goodwin Field with a 6 p.m. first pitch. On Friday, San Diego will host No. 23 Kentucky on Friday in a 2 p.m. game, and the Toreros will conclude the week with a 1 p.m. game against Monmouth.

SCOUTING THE TITANS: Cal State Fullerton enters the game with an overall record of 2-4 after dropping two-of-three to Texas Christian this past weekend. The Titans lead the all-time series at 61-16-3. CSUF is led offensively by junior infielder Gary Brown, who has a .370 batting average with 10 hits, three doubles, a triple and two RBI. On the mound, the Toreros will face junior lefty Kevin Rath, who is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three appearances this season. Fullerton is under the direction of third-year head coach Dave Serrano. During his time in Orange County, Serrano has posted an overall record of 90-42.

SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Kentucky enters the week unbeaten on the season with a 6-0 record and are ranked as high as No. 23 in the latest Baseball America top-25 poll. The Wildcats have been led offensively by its preseason All-American second baseman, junior Chris Bisson, who leads UK with a .385 (10-for-26) average, adding two doubles, one triple, two homers and 10 RBI, drawing four walks. On the mound, the Toreros will face left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell, who enters the week with an overall record of 0-0 and a 4.50 ERA. Kentucky is under the direction of second-year head coach Gary Henderson. During his time in Lexington, Henderson has posted an overall record of 34-26.

SCOUTING THE HAWKS: Monmouth has yet to play a game this season due to inclement weather over the first two weeks of the season. The Hawks were selected second in the 2010 NEC Baseball Preseason Poll after winning their fourth league title in 2009. The Hawks tallied league highs in runs (445) runs and hits (636) last season, but loses the right side of an infield that featured second team All-NEC first baseman Paul Bottigliero (17 HR, 58 RBI) and NEC Tournament MVP Chris Collazo (.376, 46 RBI, 57 R). Junior Nick Pulsonetti, the Hawks second-leading hitter last season (.355, 11 HR, 53 RBI) returns as do a pair of .320 hitters in junior Ryan Terry and sophomore outfielder David Jacob. Senior southpaws Kyle Breese and Nick Vallillo, who combined for an 8-5 record last season, are the team's two most-experienced starting pitchers. The Hawks are under the direction of 17th-year head coach Dean Ehehalt. During his tenure at Monmouth, Ehehault has posted an overall record of 428-387-2.

THE POLLS: Cal State Fullerton enters the week ranked as high as No. 18 in the Baseball America Poll, while Kentucky checks in at No. 23 in the same poll. USD dropped out of all the top-25 polls, and Monmouth is not ranked in any of the top-25 polls.

A LOOK AHEAD: Next week, USD will again have a busy week as they play five games in six days. USD will begin the week on Tuesday when they travel to play UC Irvine on Tuesday in a 6 p.m. game, before returning home to host San Francisco on Thursday at 2 p.m., UAB on Friday at 2 p.m., Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Fresno State on Sunday at 12 p.m.

WCC CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore lefty Sammy Solis of the University of San Diego baseball team was named the West Coast Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced Monday afternoon. This is Solis' first WCC Player of the Week award of his career. Solis tossed a gem in Friday's win 2-0 over cross-town rival San Diego State University. Solis turned in his most impressive performance this season, as he allowed no runs on four hits, while striking out six batters in 6.0 innings of work. Solis struck out four of the first eight batters he faced to really set the tone for the game. Solis has now moved his season ERA to 0.82 and has recorded 10 strikeouts on the season, good for third best on the team.

MEADOR SWINGING IT WELL: Senior outfielder James Meador has picked up right where he left off from last season, red hot at the plate. So far this season, Meador has led USD in batting in the first two weeks, hitting a combined .483 with 14 hits, three doubles, two home runs and a team-leading 11 RBI. This past week, Meador went 6-for-15 (.400) with one double, one home run and five RBI. This past week, Meador also posted a .667 slugging percentage and had an on base percentage of .500.

BLAIR K'S 11: Junior right-hander Kyle Blair recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts in Sunday's loss to San Diego State. While Blair received a no-decision after allowing three runs on three hits in 6.1 innings of work, he had a great performance on the mound for the Toreros. With his 11 strikeouts, Blair moved into the team-lead in strikeouts with 19.

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. This Tuesday's game against No. 18 Cal State Fullerton will have a live audio broadcast with Murray providing all the play-by-play and providing color commentary will be USD Hall of Fame head coach John "JC" Cunningham.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANKED NO 3: According to Boyd's World, the University of San Diego baseball schedule has been rated the third toughest schedule in the nation. The Toreros' schedule features yet another strong caliber of opponents, much like the 2009 season. San Diego will face nine NCAA Tournament participants including the Rice, Coastal Carolina, Gonzaga, Indiana, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, Arizona State, San Diego State, and Fresno State to highlight USD's schedule. The Toreros will compete in 26 games against this top competition.

BLAIR NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Junior right-hander Kyle Blair of the University of San Diego baseball team was named to Baseball America's preseason third-team All-America team as a starting pitcher. Blair, a 6-3 junior from Monte Serento, Calif., is coming off an injury shortened sophomore campaign in which he went 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA and racked up 62 strikeouts in 54.2 innings of work. Blair made eight starts and 10 total appearances last season, while also picking up a pair of saves. As a freshman, Blair had a solid campaign posting an 8-4 record with a 3.86 ERA and he racked up 99 strikeouts.

2010 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.

TOREROS TABBED FAVORITES IN WCC PRESEASON POLL: San Diego was picked as the favorite to win this year's WCC regular season title in the 2010 preseason baseball poll, as voted on by the head coaches in the conference. The Toreros received six first place votes for a total of 48 points. Pepperdine was picked second with 38 points, while San Francisco totaled 33 points for third. The 2009 WCC Champion Gonzaga got one first place vote for 29 points to finish fourth, just edging out 2009 runner-up Loyola Marymount, which received 28 points for fifth. Rounding out this year's preseason poll are Santa Clara, which received the last first place vote with 20 points, Saint Mary's with 17 points, and Portland with 11 points. San Diego is coming off a fifth place finish last year and return a number of key players, including 2009 WCC Player of the Year James Meador (SR, OF), and 2009 All-WCC first team members Zach Walters (JR, SS) and AJ Griffin (SR, RHP), who also made the preseason all-conference team. In addition, Head Coach Rich Hill, who is the league's all-time leader in WCC victories (246), will bring back Kevin Muno (JR, OF) and Kyle Blair (JR, RHP), who were both named to the preseason all-conference team. In all, San Diego, which led the league in batting average (.319), brings back eight starting position players and four pitchers.