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Toreros Prep for Busy Week

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Tony Strazzara.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Tony Strazzara.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

April 4, 2010

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ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team (14-12) will travel to Tempe Ariz. on Monday and Tuesday to take on No. 1 Arizona State Sun Devils in a pair of non-conference games. Monday's game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., and Tuesday's game will begin at 5 p.m. The Toreros will then open West Coast Conference play this over the weekend as they host Loyola Marymount University. Friday's game will begin at 3 p.m. and both Saturday and Sunday's game will begin at 1 p.m. inside the friendly confines of Cunningham Stadium.

SCOUTING THE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State enters the week with an overall record of 25-1 after taking two of three this past weekend against Oregon, suffering its first loss of the season. ASU leads the all-time series at 16-2, including taking the two games in Tempe last season. The Sun Devils are led offensively by sophomore infielder Zack MacPhee who is hitting .420 with 37 hits, three doubles, nine triples, three home runs and 30 RBI. On the mound, the ASU rotation is anchored down by sophomore right-hander Jake Borup, who is 6-0 with an ERA of 2.43 in 40.2 innings of work. Arizona State is under the direction of first-year head coach Tim Esmay.

LAST TIME VS. THE SUN DEVILS: The University of San Diego baseball team dropped a 7-6 decision to No. 4 Arizona State University on May 6, 2009 in a non-conference game at Packard Stadium. Offensively for the Toreros, Chris Engell led the way as he went 4-for-5 with one home run and one RBI.

SCOUTING THE LIONS: Loyola Marymount enters the week with an overall record of 14-12 after dropping a 9-7 decision to USC last Tuesday and bouncing back with a 7-5 win over Cal Poly last Wednesday. LMU leads the all-time series at 81-66-1, including sweeping USD last season. The Lions offense is led by sophomore outfielder Ryan Hawthorne who is hitting .356 with 31 hits, eight doubles, one home run and 14 RBI. On the mound, the LMU rotation is anchored down by right-handed sophomore Martin Viramontes, who is 2-3 with an ERA of 4.78. LMU is under the direction of second-year head coach Jason Gill.

LAST TIME VS. THE LIONS: An Ollie Enos walk-off RBI single lifted the Loyola Marymount University Lions to a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the University of San Diego baseball team on May 3, 2009 at Paige Stadium. Austin Green led the USD offense as he went 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Scott Denault (3-4) was saddled with the loss for the Toreros, as he allowed two runs on one hit in 1.2 innings of work.

THE RANKINGS: Arizona State is ranked as high as No. 1 in the NCBWA top-25 poll, the USAToday/ESPN top-25 poll and the Collegiate Baseball top-30 poll. The Sun Devils are also ranked No. 2 in both the Baseball America and rivals.com top-25 polls. Neither San Diego or Loyola Marymount are ranked in any of the top-25 polls.

ANOTHER RANKED OPPONENT: San Diego will play a ranked opponent for the fourth consecutive week as they travel to Tempe, Ariz to take on No. 1 Arizona State. The last two weeks, USD has been successful against ranked opponents as they took two of three games from both Rice, who was ranked 14th at the time, and Coastal Carolina, who was ranked No. 10 at the time. In those games, James Meador has been red hot at the plate, as he is hitting .440 with 11 hits, two doubles and seven RBI. Austin Green has also been effective in theses games as he is hitting .368 with seven hits, three doubles, two triples and five RBI. On the mound, USD closer Matt Hauser has been lights outs, making four appearances in the six games, posting a 0.00 ERA, a 1-0 record and picking up three saves in 6.1 innings of work. Hauser has allowed no runs to cross the plate and only issued a pair of walks. USD will look to continue this impressive play this week as they head to the desert to take on the Sun Devils of Arizona State.

FERRARO GOING STREAKING: Junior outfielder Mike Ferraro is currently riding a six-game hit streak. The hit streak began back on Mar. 21 in the final game of a three-game series against Rice and has carried on through this week. During this hit streak, Ferraro is hitting .500 with nine hits, one double, has one RBI and four runs scored. On the season, Ferraro tops the Torero batting charts with his .413 batting average. Ferraro has 26 hits, five doubles, one home run, nine RBI and is bolstering a .457 on-base percentage.

APPROACHING 400: Head coach Rich Hill is rapidly approaching his 400th career win as the Torero skipper. Hill currently has an overall record at USD of 396-273. Hill could reach this milestone as early as this weekend against Loyola Marymount University.

CLOSING TIME: Senior right-hander Matt Hauser picked up a pair of saves two weeks ago in wins over, then No. 10, Coastal Carolina. In Saturday's win, Hauser was inserted in the seventh inning after CCU cut the Toreros lead in half and were down two runs with one runner on base and two outs. Hauser then got the second batter he faced to fly out, ending the scoring threat. Hauser was lights out for the remainder of his outing and helped lead USD to the win, evening the three-game series. In Sunday's win, Hauser was inserted with one out and the tying run 90 feet away, and a runner at first. He threw one pitch and got the batter to ground into a double play to end the game and give USD the victory. On the season, Hauser is 2-0 with a team-best five saves and has an ERA of 1.61.

TOREROS ON THE AIR: Both of the games this week against Arizona State University will be broadcast live on usdtoreros.com with the voice of the Toreros Jack Murray providing all the play-by-play action from Packard Stadium. Providing color commentary will be Hall of Fame coach John "JC" Cunningham. This weekends games against Loyola Marymount will be video streamed live on usdtoreros.com.

A LOOK AHEAD: San Diego will remain home next week as they host UC Irvine in a 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon game before welcoming Santa Clara University to Cunningham Stadium for a three-game series over the weekend. Friday's game will begin at 3 p.m. and both Saturday's and Sunday's games will begin at 1 p.m.

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.

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.

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.