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Baseball Heads to Pacific Northwest This Weekend

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Connor Joe.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Connor Joe.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

March 20, 2013

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ON DECK: The 25th-ranked University of San Diego baseball team (14-6, 3-0 WCC) will continue West Coast Conference play this week, as they head to the Pacific Northwest to take on second-place Gonzaga University. Both Friday’s and Saturday’s games will begin at 6 p.m., and the series will conclude on Sunday at 12 p.m.     

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Gonzaga enters the series with a 12-6-1 overall record and a 2-1 mark in the WCC.  GU took two of three from San Francisco to open WCC player last weekend, and then picked up a win over Washington State on Tuesday.  The Toreros lead the all-time series at 40-28-1.  Gonzaga is paced by Cory Lebrun, who is hitting .345 with 19 hits, three doubles and 13 RBI.  On the mound, the GU rotation is anchored down by All-American Marco Gonzlaes.  Gonzales, who is on the Golden Spikes Award Watch list, is 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA.

LAST TIME VS. GONZAGA: Behind perhaps his best outing as a Torero, sophomore right-hander Dylan Covey absolutely dominated the Gonzaga University hitters on April 7, 2012 in a West Coast Conference game, as the 19th-ranked University of San Diego baseball team won the rubber game against the Bulldogs, 5-3, at USD’s Cunningham Stadium.  Covey gave up two runs in the top of the first inning, then gave up a single to the first batter in the second, and from that point on, Covey was dominate. He retired 19 of his next 21 batters, only issuing one walk in the fourth, and eighth innings before leaving the game with a 5-2 lead. Michael Wagner then came in and sealed the victory, as he allowed one run on two hits in 1.0 innings of work to pick up his 14th save of the season.  Offensively for the Toreros, Dillon Haupt led the way, as he went 3-for-4, while Bryant led the RBI category, going 1-for-4 with a triple and two big RBI.

BRYANT NAMED WCC LAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior All-American Kris Bryant was named Rawlings WCC Player of the Week for the second week in a row, the conference office announced Monday.  Bryant, a 6-5 third basemen from Las Vegas, Nev., helped the Toreros open up WCC play with a sweep of BYU. Bryant went 5-for-12 (.417) with four home runs and eight RBI. He was slugging at a 1.417 clip and had an on base percentage of .588.  Bryant began the week with a perfect 3-for-3, three home run and six RBI performance on Thursday against BYU. Bryant also hit a walk-off three-run homer to lift USD to the win. Bryant then concluded the week with another walk-off 2-run home run in the 14th inning on Saturday against BYU. In this game, Bryant went 2-for-6 with 2 RBI and he was walked two times.  This marks the third time (out of five) that a Torero has won the award. Chris Woolley was honored on February 25 and Bryant won the award last week.

LEADING THE NATION: Junior All-American Kris Bryant’s impressive four home run performance this past week moved his season total of home runs to 12, which is the best in the nation.  Not only is Bryant leading the nation in home runs, but his season total of 26 walks is second, and he is second in runs scored at 33.  What is also interesting is that not just Bryant leading the nation in home runs, but senior catch Dillon Haupt is also leading the nation in doubles with 13. 

TOREROS ON A ROLL: San Diego has won 11 of their last 13 games, and they have been putting up some impressive numbers while doing this.  As a team, USD is hitting .325, while holding their opponents to a .236 batting average...USD has out scored the opposition 86-41, while recording 45 extra base hits...USD has three players hitting above .400 during this streak, paced by Kris Bryant (.465), while Connor Joe is right behind him at .444, and Dillon Haupt (.440) rounds off the .400 hitters...the Torero pitching staff is getting it done as well, with Max Homick posting a .138 ERA in 13.0 innings of work, and Dylan Covey has 20 strikeouts and a 2.25 ERA.

CHASING HISTORY: Junior All-American Kris Bryant is chasing every home run record in USD history.  The 12 home runs on the season now gives Bryant 35 for his career, which places him tied for fifth all-time in career home runs.  Bryant hit 14 home runs last season, placing him  fifth on the single season home run list at USD.  Bryant needs one more home run to break back into the single-season list at USD, needs six more to tie the single-season record, and seven more to break the record currently held by Dave Rolls of 18 set in 1988.  Bryant is also chasing the career home runs leaders at USD, which is held by Sean Baron (43).  Bryant is just eight shy of this mark and nine shy of breaking it, as he currently sits fifth all-time with 35.

HOMICK K’S EIGHT: Sophomore left-hander Max Homick was nothing short of amazing in  Friday’s win over BYU to clinch the WCC opening series.  Homick came in relief of starter Dylan Covey, and he simply shut down the BYU offense.  Homick allowed no runs, while scattering three hits, and striking out eight in 4.1 innings of work to get the win.  Homick retired eight consecutive batters at one point, including retiring the side via the strikeout in the sixth inning.  Homick is now 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA on the season.     

A LOOK AHEAD: San Diego will return home next week to host UNLV on Monday in a 6 p.m. game, then head up to Northridge to take on the Cal Sate Northridge Matadors on Tuesday at 3 p.m.  The Toreros will then host No. 2 Oregon State next weekend for a three-game series at Fowler Park.  

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.

WAGNER AND BRYANT NAMED TO GOLDEN SPIKES WATCH LIST: A pair of University of San Diego baseball players, junior third baseman Kris Bryant and junior right-handed pitcher Michael Wagner, were both named to the Golden Spikes Preseason Award Watch List.

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.

PICKED TO WIN IT: 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.