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Red Hot Toreros Put Six-Game Winning Streak on the Line This Week

USDTOREROSDOTCOM James Meador.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
James Meador.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

April 26, 2010

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ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team (23-15, 9-0 WCC) will host No. 13/14 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday in a 3 p.m. non-conference game at Cunningham Stadium before embarking on a three-game road swing this weekend against the University of San Francisco. 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 TITANS: Cal State Fullerton enters the game with an overall record of 23-13 after sweeping Cal Poly this past weekend in Big West Conference action. Fullerton leads the all-time series at 51-7-2, including taking the first two meetings this season. The Fullerton offense is led by junior infielder Gary Brown, who is hitting .440 with 70 hits, 12 doubles, eight triples, four home runs and 32 RBI. On the mound, the Toreros will square off against left-hander David Hurlbut, who is 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA. The Titans are under the direction of third-year head coach Dave Serrano. During his time in Fullerton, Serrano has posted an overall record of 111-51.

LAST TIME VS. THE TITANS: A late rally fell short, as the University of San Diego baseball team dropped a 4-2 decision to Cal State Fullerton in a non-conference game at Cunningham Stadium back on March 13. Offensively for the Toreros, Victor Sanchez led the way as he went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. USD starter Kyle Blair was saddled with the loss for the Toreros as he allowed four runs, on six hits in 4.1 innings of work.

SCOUTING THE DONS: San Francisco enters the week with a 22-18 overall record and are 5-3 in the WCC after taking two-of-three from Loyola Marymount this past weekend in WCC action. The Toreros lead the all-time series at 65-49, including winning a non-conference meeting earlier this season in San Diego, 15-7, on March 11. The Dons offense is led by freshman outfielder Jared Denham, who is hitting .345 with 38 hits, 11 doubles, two triples and 15 RBI. On the mound, the Dons' rotation is anchored down by right-hander Doug Murray, who is 6-4 with a 3.21 ERA. USF is under the direction of 12th-year head coach Gino Giarratano. During his tenure on the Hill Top, Giarratano has posted an overall record of 330-335.

LAST TIME VS. THE DONS: Behind a 21-hit performance, the University of San Diego baseball team cruised to a 15-7 win over the University of San Francisco in a non-conference game at USD's Cunningham Stadium on March 11, 2010. Offensively for the Toreros, Steven Chatwood led the way as he went 2-for-4 with one home run and four RBI. Mike Ferraro and Victor Sanchez both had productive days at the plate for the Toreros, as they each went 3-for-4 with a double and Ferraro drove in a pair of runs, while Sanchez drove in one run. Zach Walters nearly hit for the cycle, as he went 3-for-4 with one double, one triple and two RBI.

MEADOR NAMED WCC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior outfielder James Meador of the University of San Diego baseball team has been named the WCC Co-Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday afternoon. This is the second time this season Meador has taken home this honor. Meador helped lead USD to a three-game sweep over Gonzaga, as he went 10-for-17 (.769) with a double, two home runs and 10 RBI. Meador fell just one triple short of hitting for the cycle in Sunday's 17-7 win, as he went 3-for-4 with a double a home run and five RBI. Also after Sunday's 3-for-4 performance, he moved into a tie for 10th all-time on career hits list at USD with 227, and he did it in stylish fashion, a three-run homer over the left field fence on his last at bat of the game. In Saturday's win, Meador went 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI. In Friday's win Meador went 3-for-4 with one RBI. Meador's bat helped lead USD to a 44-run weekend and helped led USD to a perfect 9-0 start in WCC play, the best start in league play in program history for the Toreros. Meador also helped USD set a NCAA record for most runs scored in a third inning (13 against GU on Saturday).

HAUSER NAMED TO STOPPER OF THE YEAR MIDSEASON WATCH LIST: Forty-five players have been named to the midseason watch list for the sixth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, as announced by the association, and the University of San Diego's senior right-hander Matt Hauser is among those listed. Hauser, a 6-2 senior from Newport Beach, Calif., has been a solid rock in the closing role for the Toreros this season, as he currently leads the team with five saves, while posting a 3-1 record and has posted a 2.40 ERA. Hauser was named the WCC Pitcher of the Month for March after recording a pair of saves against No. 10 Coastal Carolina and a win and a save against No. 14 Rice, while recording all five of his save in this month. During March Hauser posted an impressive ERA of 1.17.

ABOUT THE RECORD: San Diego remains unblemished in West Coast Conference play after sweeping Gonzaga this past weekend to improve to 9-0 in league games. This marks the best start to WCC play in program history, surpassing last season's squad which held the record at 6-0.

BLAIR K'S 12: Junior right-hander Kyle Blair turned in one of the most dominating pitching performances of the season, as he picked up the win this past Friday. After a rocky start to his outing, surrendering three unearned runs in the first two innings, Blair settled down and held the Gonzaga bats at bay. After surrendering a lead-off double in the top of the third inning, Blair settled down and proceeded to retire his next 15 batters, eight via the strikeout, over the next four innings before Mark Castellitto broke that streak with a single in the top of the eighth inning. Blair (5-3) picked up the win on the mound as he allowed four runs, one earned, while scattering six hits over 7.2 innings of work. He posted a 1.17 ERA for the week. On the season, Blair is now 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts with 74.

GRIFFIN HAS DOMINATE OUTING: Senior right-hander AJ Griffin picked up the win on the mound for the Toreros this past Sunday after turning in his most dominating performance of the season. Griffin allowed a pair of runs in the first inning, then settled down and mowed down the Bulldog hitters, as he retired 11 of his next 12 batters, seven via the strikeout. For the game, Griffin allowed four runs on five hits, while striking out 11, and on the season, Griffin is now 4-3, with a 5.57 ERA and he is second on the team in strikeouts with 72.

GOING STREAKING: The Toreros are currently riding a season-high six-game winning streak. During this streak, USD as a team is hitting .405, while the Torero pitching staff is hold its opponents to a .252 batting average. James Meador is leading the USD offense in these games with a .630 average, while recording 17 hits, four doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI, while also slugging at a 1.000 clip. The Toreros will look to continue the winning streak this week as they host No. 13/14 Cal State Fullerton, then head to San Francisco this weekend for three games.

TOREROS SET NCAA RECORD: With the 13 runs scored in the third inning of Saturday's 18-5 victory over Gonzaga, the Toreros officially set the NCAA record for most runs scored in a third inning. The previous record was 12 runs, which happened on three different occasions. In fact, the Toreros sent 18 batters to the plate in this inning, which is a 2010 record for most batters sent to the plate in one inning. The previous record was 16 batters in an inning for Western Kentucky in a game against Kentucky this past Tuesday.

MORE MEADOR: Senior outfielder James Meador had a huge week not only at the plate, but also in the USD record book this past week. With his 10-for-17 performance, Meador has now moved into a tie in three all-time categories; tied for 10th in career hits (227), tied for 10th in doubles (47), and is 10th now in RBI with 154.

CHASING HISTORY: Several Toreros are currently looking to etch their name in the USD career record books. 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 53 for his career, placing him ninth. Kyle Blair currently has 235 strikeouts to his credit for his career, which places him sixth all-time.

THE RANKINGS: San Diego has broken back into the nation's elite, as they check in as high as No. 24 in the latest Baseball America top-25 poll, and they are ranked No. 25 in the latest Rivals.com top-25 poll. Cal State Fullerton checks in as high as No. 12 in the latest Collegiate Baseball top-30 poll. The Titans are also ranked No. 13 in the latest Baseball America top-25 poll, No. 14 in the Rivals.com top-25 poll, No. 16 in the NCBWA top-25 poll and No. 18 in the latest USAToday/ESPN top-25 poll. San Francisco is not ranked in any of the major polls.

ENGELL CONTINUES TO PLAY WELL: San Diego senior infielder Chris Engell continues to have a great start to WCC action, as this past week he went 9-for-16 (.563) with three RBI. Engell is now hitting .447 in WCC games with two triples and eight RBI. On the season, Engell is hitting .364 with 40 hits, one double, four triples and 19 RBI. With the four triples, he is just three away from breaking into the single-season top-10 list for triples at USD.

TOREROS ON THE AIR: As usual, Tuesday's game will be broadcast live with a video stream on usdtoreros.com. But this weekend's West Coast Conference games against San Francisco will also have a live audio broadcast available on usdtoreros.com, with Sports Information Director for baseball Chris Loucks bringing fans all the live play-by-play 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.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Junior right-hander Kyle Blair of the University of San Diego baseball team was named to Baseball America's preseason third-team All-America team as a starting pitcher. Blair, a 6-3 junior from Monte Serento, Calif., is coming off an injury shortened sophomore campaign in which he went 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA and racked up 62 strikeouts in 54.2 innings of work. Blair made eight starts and 10 total appearances last season, while also picking up a pair of saves. As a freshman, Blair had a solid campaign posting an 8-4 record with a 3.86 ERA and he racked up 99 strikeouts.

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.