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Toreros host BYU with first place on the line
April 19, 2017

USD Baseball Notes (PDF Format)

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 Top 25, moved up to No. 26 in the NCBWA Top 30 and are receiving votes in the Perfect Game Top 25. USD enters the weekend with the best RPI in the WCC, coming in at No. 39.

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros went 4-0 last week and have now won a season-high six games in a row. The Toreros earned their fourth sweep of the year last weekend against the Pacific Tigers with wins of 9-5, 1-0 and 10-4. On Tuesday, the Toreros knocked off the 8th-ranked Cal State Fullerton Titans 11-6 at the Lake Elsinore Diamond.

ON DECK: Beginning Thursday at 6:00 p.m., USD hosts the BYU Cougars, who are second in the WCC with a record of 9-3, for a three-game series.

SCOUTING THE COUGARS: BYU comes to San Diego in second place in the WCC... They are 9-3 in conference and 20-13 overall... They have won six of their past seven games... They lead the conference in most offensive statistics: runs per game (7.3), batting average (.303), home runs (35) and slugging percentage (.468)... Brock Hale leads the WCC with a .398 average and Bronson Larsen is first with 38 RBI... Their weekend starters Maverik Buffo, Brady Corless and Hayden Rodgers are a combined 13-5 with a 3.78 ERA... Head Coach Mike Littlewood (5th season) previously coached at Dixie State for 16 seasons where he won eight league titles... The Toreros are 18-3 all-time against the Cougars, who took two of three from USD last year... Before that, the Toreros had won 15 straight.

HOW TO WATCH: All three games of the BYU series will be streamed live on with Jack Murray handling the play-by-play duties and USD baseball coaching legend John "JC" Cunningham providing the color commentary.



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 (34) and is hitting .393 in conference games, also a team-high.

WE'RE GOING STREAKING: The Toreros are riding a season-high six game winning streak. In that span, the Toreros have outscored their opponents 47-14, have a team batting average of .319 and posted a team ERA of 2.00.

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 1.81 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 18 games on Tuesday. In that span, he has a slash line of .472/.552/.986 with eight home runs, 11 doubles, 27 runs scored and 25 RBI, all team-highs. This hot streak has shot him up the national rankings. Mercado-Hood enters the weekend with the 14th most doubles (16) in the nation, the 19th best slugging percentage (.701), 20th most total bases (96) and he has the 14th best strikeout rate (one every 17.1 at-bats).

ON BASE MACHINE: Sophomore Jay Schuyler has reached base in 20 straight games, the longest streak of the season for any Torero. In that span, Schuyler is hitting .383.

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. During the Toreros' current six game win streak, Kunst is hitting a team-best .550 (11-for-20).

STRIKE THREE!: Torero pitchers enter the weekend striking out 10.0 batters per nine innings, the 8th best rate in the nation. Troy Conyers leads the team with 12.58 punchouts per nine, Sean Barry is a close second at 12.19 and Chris Murphy strikes out 10.69 batters per nine.

CLOSING TIME: Troy Conyers enters the weekend ranking 13th in the nation in saves with nine. Because of Conyers and the rest of the USD bullpen, the Toreros are 25-1 when tied or leading after six innings.

FIRST TO SCORE: The Toreros are 20-3 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 24-1 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 39 bases with Colton Waltner leading the way (8-for-8).

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