Louie Lechich gets the nod on the mound for Tuesday.
April 8, 2013
ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team (19-12, 5-4 WCC) will return to the friendly confines of Fowler Park this week to play four games. The Toreros will open the week with a Tuesday showdown against UC Irvine at 6 p.m. The Toreros will then welcome the defending WCC Champion Pepperdine University to town for a three-game WCC series this weekend. Both Friday’s and Saturday’s games will begin at 6 p.m., while Sunday’s game will have a 1 p.m. first pitch.
SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS: UC Irvine enters the game with an overall record of 20-8 after posting a 4-0 record this past week, recording wins over USC and sweeping the University of Hawaii in Big West Conference action. The Anteaters lead the all-time series at 50-41-1, dating back to the Division II days. The Toreros did win both meetings last season, one in San Diego and the other in Irvine. UCI’s offense is paced by Connor Spencer, who is hitting .408 with 42 hits, nine doubles, three triples and nine RBI. On the mound, USD will square off against right-hander Mitch Merten, who is 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA in 8.1 innings of work.
LAST TIME VS. UCI: The 20th-ranked University of San Diego baseball team picked up a 4-3 win over UC Irvine on May 15, 2012 in a non-conference game at Anteater Ballpark. UCI continued to chip away at the lead, as they scored one run in the seventh inning when Spencer grounded into a double play to score Tommy Reyes, who had singled, to move the score to 4-3. Offensively for the Toreros, Daniel led the way as he went 3-for-5 with a single, a double, a triple and fell just a home run short of the cycle, while recording one RBI and two runs scored. Both Joe and Bailey went 2-for-4 as the only other Toreros to record multiple hits. Michael Wagner (4-1) picked up the win for the Toreros, as he allowed no runs on four hits in 4.0 innings of work. James Pazos picked up the save, as he allowed one run on two hits in 3.1 innings of work. UCI’s Crosby Slaught (6-6) was saddled with the loss for the Anteaters, as he allowed one run on one hit in 2.0 innings of work.
SCOUTING THE WAVES: Pepperdine enters the week with an overall record of 18-12 after taking two of three from Washington this past weekend. The Waves also sit on top of the WCC standings at 6-3. Pepperdine leads the all-time series at 117-66, including taking two of three from the Toreros at the end of the season to claim the 2012 WCC title. The Pepperdine offense is pace by sophomore Austin Davidson, who is hitting .331 with 40 hits, 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 15 RBI. On the mound, the Waves pitching rotation is anchored down by junior right-hander Corey Miller, who is 4-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 56.1 innings of work.
LAST TIME VS. THE WAVES: The 20th-ranked University of San Diego baseball team dropped a 5-1 decision to Pepperdine University in the West Coast Conference championship game on May 27, 2012 in the final regular-season game of the season at Eddy D. Field Stadium. Offensively for the Toreros, Andrew Daniel led the way, as he went 2-for-3, as the only Torero to record multiple hits on the day. Calvin Drummond (8-6) was saddled with the loss for the Toreros on the mound, as he allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits in 4.1 innings of work. Pepperdine’s Corey Miller (8-4) picked up the win on the mound for the Waves, as he allowed no runs on three hits in 7.0 innings of work.
LEADING THE NATION: Kris Bryant continues to lead the nation in home runs hit with 14, after taking Oregon State yard twice two weeks ago. In fact, the two home runs hit against OSU, are half the amount of home runs the Beavers have surrendered this season. Bryant also happens to be third nationally in runs scored with 41, is third nationally in walks with 36, and third nationally in slugging percentage at .847.
REACHING BASE: Kris Bryant has many great numbers to speak of this season, and here is one more impressive stat to throw at you. He has successfully reached base in 30 of the 31 games USD has played this season. Bryant was on base for the first 24 games of the season, and then didn’t reach base against Cal State Northridge, and since then he is currently on a 6-game streak of reaching base.
TOREROS VS. THE BIG WEST: San Diego has now played in two games this season against teams from the Big West Conference. How did the Toreros fare in these games, pretty good. USD split these games. The Toreros downed, then No. 10 and currently No. 4, Cal State Fullerton, 7-4, behind a perfect 2-for-2, two home run and four RBI performance from junior All-American Kris Bryant. USD then dropped a 8-4 decision to Cal State Northridge on March 26. USD will look to improve upon its record against the Big West with a Tuesday showdown against UC Irvine.
BRYANT EARNS WCC MONTHLY HONORS: Junior All-American Kris Bryant of the 23rd-ranked University of San Diego baseball team has been named the Rawlings West Coast Conference Player of the Month for March, the conference office announced Thursday morning. Bryant, a 6-5 third baseman from Las Vegas, Nev., helped pace the Toreros to a 14-6 record in March, as he went 30-for-73 (.411) with six doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 30 RBI and was slugging at a 1.055 clip, while bolstering an on base percentage of .561. He also drew 24 walks, and was named WCC Player of the Week twice during March.
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 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.