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Toreros Look to Keep Things Rolling

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Kevin Muno.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Kevin Muno.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

April 19, 2010

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ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team (20-15, 6-0 WCC) will travel to UC Riverside on Tuesday for a non-conference game at 6 p.m., then will return home to host defending WCC champion Gonzaga for a three-game series at Cunningham Stadium this weekend. Friday's game will begin at 3 p.m., while both Saturday's and Sunday's games will begin at 1 p.m.

SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside enters the game with an overall record of 17-13 after taking two-of-three from Long Beach State this past weekend. Riverside leads the all-time series at 54-49-2, but the Toreros won the first meeting of the season 15-8 back on Mar. 23 in San Diego. The Highlanders offense is led by Justin Shults, who is batting .371 with 33 hits, nine doubles, five home runs, and 21 RBI. On the mound, the Toreros will square off against right-hander Eddie Orozco, who is 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA. UCR is under the direction of sixth-year head coach Doug Smith. During his time as head skipper, Smith has posted an overall record of 166-139.

LAST TIME VS. THE HIGHLANDERS: Behind a 5-for-6 performance from Chris Engell, the University of San Diego baseball team had an offensive explosion in a 15-8 win over UC Riverside on March 23 in a non-conference game at USD's Cunningham Stadium. Engell led the way as he went 5-for-6 with three RBI. Mike Ferraro and Steven Chatwood each went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Kevin Muno also had a good day at the plate as he went 3-for-6 with two RBI and a triple. Mike Dedrick (1-0) was credited with the win on the mound for the Toreros, as he allowed three runs on three hits in 1.1 innings of work.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Gonzaga enters the week with an overall record of 13-22 and are 2-3 in the WCC after dropping two-of-three to Pepperdine this past weekend. USD leads the all-time series at 36-23-1. Offensively for the Zags, Drew Heid leads the charge as he is hitting .391 with 63 hits, nine doubles, two triples, six home runs and 17 RBI. On the mound, the Zags rotations is anchored down by Cody Martin, who is 4-3 with a 4.34 ERA. GU is under the direction of seventh-year head coach Mark Mactolf. During his time in Spokane, Mactolf has posted an overall record of 193-171.

LAST TIME VS. THE BULLDOGS: The 21st-ranked University of San Diego baseball team dropped the rubber game, 4-2, to Gonzaga University on April 11, 2009 in a West Coast Conference game at Washington Trust Field at Patterson Complex. Offensively for the Toreros, Strazzara led the way as he went 2-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI. Jon Hotta was the second USD player to record multiple hits as he went 2-for-4. Matt Thomson (5-1) was saddled with the loss for the Toreros, as he allowed four runs on seven hits, while striking out eight batters in 8.0 innings of work.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Junior outfielder Kevin Muno recorded five stolen bases this past week to move his season-total to 16. Muno has now stolen 51 bases for his career, which places him 10th all-time in Toreros history in the category.

BOMBS AWAY: San Diego recorded six home runs this past week, which is more than any other week this season. Victor Sanchez accounted for three of the long balls, while Zach Walters went yard twice. Zack Kometani accounted for the final Torero home run of the week.

HILL REACHES 400: With the 15-2 victory over Santa Clara this past Friday, head coach Rich Hill won his 400th game as the Torero skipper. Hill now has a record at USD of 402-276-3. For his entire career, Hill has amassed an overall record of 735-496-3.

ABOUT THE RECORD: San Diego remains unblemished in West Coast Conference play after sweeping Santa Clara this past weekend to improve to 6-0 in league games. This matches the best start to WCC play in program history, as the Toreros also opened up last season with a 6-0 record, sweeping Pepperdine University and Santa Clara University to begin the conference portion of its schedule.

ZACH ATTACK IS BACK: Junior shortstop Zach Walters returned to the Torero line-up this past weekend against Santa Clara after sitting out the past few weeks with an injury, and he picked-up right where he left off. Walters led the Torero offense as he went 6-for-14 (.429) with one double, two home runs and six RBI in the three-game set against the Broncos. In Saturday's game Walters went 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, and in Sunday's game Walters again led the offense for the Toreros as he went 3-for-5 with one home run and three RBI. On the season, Walters is hitting .326 with two doubles, one triple, three home runs and 13 RBI.

BLAIR DOMINATES...AGAIN: Junior right-hander Kyle Blair turned in yet another dominating performance on the mound for the Toreros in Friday's win over Santa Clara. After working out of a jam in the first inning, only allowing one run, Blair reeled off seven powerful innings never allowing more than one runner to reach base in any inning until the eighth. Growing stronger as the game moved on, he looked as good as he has all year, throwing eight complete innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, while striking out seven in picking up his fourth win of the season. Blair is now 4-3 with an ERA of 3.73.

JENSEN COMING ON STRONG: Sophomore right-hander Chris Jensen turned in one of his most impressive performances of his young career in Tuesday's loss to No. 23 UC Irvine. Jensen came in relief of USD starter Darrin Campbell in the first inning with the bases-loaded. He then got the Toreros out of the jam and went on to pitch four more scoreless innings, scattering four hits, while striking out a pair.

CHASING HISTORY: Several Toreros are currently chasing the all-time record books at USD. Senior outfielder James Meador is looking to etch his name into the all-time hits list, as he currently has 217 career hits, which is just 10 hits shy of breaking into the top-10 all-time at USD. Meador also has 46 doubles to his credit, just one shy of breaking in to the top-10 list for doubles, and he is just seven RBI shy of cracking the top-10 all-time list as well, as he currently stands with 144 RBI. Victor Sanchez is now just two home runs shy of cracking into the top-10 list in this category, as he currently has 23 for his career. Kevin Muno just broke into the top-10 in career stolen bases with 51 for his career.

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.

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.

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.