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Toreros take on #8 CS Fullerton at Lake Elsinore Tuesday evening
April 17, 2017

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RANKINGS UPDATE: After going a perfect 4-0 last week, the Toreros are ranked as high as No. 19 (Collegiate Baseball) in the nation. They rose to No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, remained at No. 25 in the D1Baseball.com Top 25 and are receiving votes in the Perfect Game Top 25. USD enters the week with the best RPI in the WCC, coming in at No. 43.

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros went 4-0 last week and have now won their last five games in a row. USD had their most complete game of the year last Tuesday, knocking off UC Riverside on the road 14-1. The Toreros then earned their fourth sweep of the year against the Pacific Tigers with wins of 9-5, 1-0 and 10-4.

ON DECK: The Toreros will play No. 8 Cal State Fullerton for the third time this season on Tuesday, taking on the Titans at the Diamond at Lake Elsinore, home to the Lake Elsinore Storm... The Toreros lost their first two meeting against the nationally-ranked Titans... Senior RHP CJ Burdick gets the start for USD. He threw five innings of one-hit shutout ball last Tuesday at UC Riverside... Fullerton will go with RHP Joe Wills, who will be making his third start against the Toreros this season. On Thursday, USD hosts the BYU Cougars, who are 9-3 in the WCC, for a three-game series.

SCOUTING THE TITANS: Cal State Fullerton sits at No. 8 in both major national polls... They are 23-11 on the year and just took two of three from USC... They have won eight of their last nine games... Their pitching has been stellar all year. They are third in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.69), fourth in WHIP (1.13), and 14th in ERA (3.08)... Tuesday's starter Joe Wills will be making his third start of the year against USD. In the first two games, he went 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA striking out 10 Toreros and walking none in 10.2 combined innings... Fullerton has made the NCAA Tournament 25 straight years and has won the national championship four times, most recently in 2004... Head Coach Rick Vanderhook (6th season) entered the season with a 196-103 record at Fullerton... The Toreros are 12-65-3 all-time against the Titans.

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Tuesday's game against No. 8 Cal State Fullerton will have an audio-only broadcast with Jack Murray, the voice of the Toreros, on the call. A link to the broadcast will be available on the schedule page on www.USDToreros.com. All three games of the BYU series will be streamed live on TheW.tv.

A GRAND WEEK: Riley Adams earned his second Rawlings WCC Player of the Week award after hitting .500 with three home runs and 10 RBI last week. Adams' week was highlighted by Saturday's performance when he hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and racked up six RBI. Adams finished the week with a robust 1.417 slugging percentage and a .667 on-base percentage. He now leads the team in home runs (10) and RBI (33) and is hitting .393 in conference games, also a team-high.

WE'RE GOING STREAKING: The Toreros have won their past five games, matching their season-long win streak. In that span, the Toreros outscored their opponents 38-11, have a team batting average of .303 and posted a team ERA of 1.20.

ACES IN THE HOLE: The Torero weekend rotation of Nick Sprengel, Chris Murphy and Paul Richan has been dominant, helping the Toreros go 19-6 in weekend games. Richan leads the WCC in ERA (1.79) and Murphy is right behind him with a 1.85 ERA. Murphy has been even more dominant in conference where he has a 0.59 ERA in five starts. Friday starter Nick Sprengel is tied for 16th in the nation with six wins and is striking out 10.4 batters per nine innings.

THE HIT HUNTER: Hunter Mercado-Hood extended his hitting streak to 17 games over the weekend. In that span, he has a slash line of .471/.549/1.000 with eight home runs, 10 doubles, 24 runs scored and 25 RBI, all team-highs. This hot streak has shot him up the national rankings. Mercado-Hood enters the week with the 17th most doubles (15) in the nation, the 22nd best slugging percentage (.699), 22nd most total bases (93), and has the 16th best strikeout rate (one every 16.6 at-bats).

POWER UP: The Toreros lead the WCC with 34 home runs. Riley Adams is first in the conference with ten long balls, Hunter Mercado-Hood is second with nine and Roman Garcia is third with eight.

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM: Paul Kunst ranks second in the nation in sacrifice bunts with 11. The redshirt freshman 2B has accounted for half of the Toreros' 22 sacrifice bunts.

STRIKE THREE!: Torero pitchers enter the week striking out 9.8 batters per nine innings, the 10th best rate in the nation. Troy Conyers leads the team with 12.36 punchouts per nine, Sean Barry is a close second at 11.66 and Chris Murphy strikes out 10.54 batters per nine.

CLOSING TIME: Troy Conyers enters the week ranking 13th in the nation in saves with nine. Because of Conyers and the rest of the USD bullpen, the Toreros are 24-1 when tied or leading after six innings.

FIRST TO SCORE: The Toreros are 19-3 when they are the first to score, and just 6-6 when their opponent scores first.

THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: The Toreros' pitching staff hasn't needed much run support so far this season; USD is an impressive 23-1 when they score at least three runs.

NO FREE BAGS: Torero pitchers and junior catcher Riley Adams have only allowed eight stolen bases so far in 2017; that comes on 17 attempts by opponents. USD baserunners have swiped 38 bases with Colton Waltner leading the way (8-for-8).


 

 

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