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Baseball Preps for Showdown with Santa Clara

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Paul Paez.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Paul Paez.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

May 16, 2011

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ON DECK: The University of San Diego baseball team (19-27, 8-7 WCC) will resume West Coast Conference play this weekend as they travel to the Bay Area to take on the Broncos of Santa Clara University. Friday's series opener will begin at 6 p.m. and both Saturday's and Sunday's games will begin at 1 p.m.

SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Santa Clara enters the week with an overall record of 17-28 after dropping a 5-0 mid-week contest to UC Davis this past week. SCU will play Cal Poly on Tuesday before the Toreros come to town this weekend. The Broncos lead the all-time series between the two at 52-50, but the Toreros have won the last six meetings between the two. SCU's offense is paced by Kyle DeMerritt, who is hitting .303 with 50 hits, eight doubles and 26 RBI. On the mound, the Broncos rotation is led by senior right-hander Cory Hall, who is 4-6 with a 3.07 ERA. SCU is under the direction of 10th-year head coach Mark O'Brien.

LAST TIME VS. THE BRONCOS: USD completed a three-game sweep of the Broncos on April 18 in a West Coast Conference game behind the strength of three home runs to claim a 9-4 win. Zach Walters led the offense for the Toreros as he went 3-for-5 with one home run and three RBI. James Meador also had a good day at the plate as he went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. AJ Griffin was credited with the win on the mound for the Toreros as he allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits in 6.1 innings of work. Senior right-hander Matt Hauser picked up his sixth save of the season as he allowed no runs on one hit in 2.2 innings of work.

GOING STREAKING: The Toreros are in the midst of a four-game winning streak after picking up a 4-1 win over UC Riverside and a 11-3 win over San Diego Christian this past week. USD will look to extend that winning streak this week as they head to the Bay Area for a three-game WCC series with Santa Clara.

LAST TIME OUT: The University of San Diego baseball team wrapped up its 2011 home schedule with an 11-3 win over San Diego Christian College on Wednesday afternoon from Cunningham Stadium. The Toreros (19-27, 8-7 WCC) put up all 11 runs in just three separate innings to hand the Hawks (8-40) the loss. Right-hander Trevor Bayless (1-0) picked up his first win of the year after working 3.0 innings of two-hit relief, while striking out one and walking two. Bando (1-4) took the loss for San Diego Christian with his 1.1 innings of work where he allowed seven runs on five hits, while walking two. Bryan Haar, Kris Bryant and Corey LeVier each had three hits apiece in the contest, while Jon Hotta went 2-for-4 with a game-best three RBI.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Toreros will travel to No. 9 Cal State Fullerton on May 24 for a 6 p.m. game against the Titans, before concluding the season with a three-game WCC road series at Loyola Marymount from May 27-29. Friday's game will begin at 3 p.m. and both Saturday and Sunday's game will have a 1 p.m. first pitch.

BRYANT GOES YARD AGAIN: After hitting his ninth home run of the season in Wednesday's 11-3 win over San Diego Christian, freshman third baseman Kris Bryant has now pulled to within three home runs of tying the USD freshman record of 12 set by Victor Sanchez, set in 2008. Bryant is currently tied for the lead in the WCC with his nine home runs, and he is hitting .355 with 19 double, one triple and 32 RBI.

HOTTA SHOWS HIS POWER: Junior utility player Jon Hotta showed off his power skills against San Diego Christian as well, as the Oceanside, Calif. native recorded his first collegiate home run, a three-run blast off the first offering he saw from Hawk right-hander Nick Bando over the right field fence to give USD the lead for good at 4-2. For the game, Hotta went 2-for-4 with three RBI.

THE LAST 10 GAMES: USD has been red hot as of late, having now posted a 9-1 record over their past 10 games, with the lone loss coming to San Francisco on May 7. During these 10 games, USD is hitting .359 as a team, while the Torero pitching staff is holding opponents to a .233 batting average. Corey LeVier has been red hot during these games offensively, as he is hitting .553 (21-for-38) with two doubles, one home run and 11 RBI, while Zack Kometani (21-for-42) is hitting .500 with five doubles, one triple, one home run and 14 RBI.

FRESHMAN KNOWS HIS WAY AROUND: Freshman left-hander Paul Paez (6-4) has proven to be one of USD's most dependable arms primarily out the bullpen this season, leading the team in wins (6) and total appearances (23), while also being second on the team in ERA (3.48). Paez received a loss in relief against San Francisco on May 7 before coming back on Sunday, May 8, to earn the win, also out of the bullpen.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Senior center fielder Kevin Muno has recorded 20 stolen bases on the season thus far. With these 20, he now brings his career-total to 80, which ties him for second-best all-time at USD with Dave Jacas (1983-86). The all-time leader is Andre Jacas (1981-84) who has 96.

TORERO BATS HEATING UP: After a slow offensive start to the season, USD is currently leading the WCC in team batting average (.286), on base percentage at .360 and stolen bases at 72. The Toreros are also second in the WCC in a variety of offensive categories, such as hits (456), runs batted in (214) and total bases (562).

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: After the first six weeks of WCC action, USD has a few players on the top of the conference in some key statistics. Freshman third baseman Kris Bryant is tied for the lead in home runs with nine, leads the WCC in on-base percentage at .474, he is second in slugging percentage at .605, and leads the WCC in runs scored with 49. Bryant is also second in walks (30) and third in total bases (101)....junior catcher/outfielder Zack Kometani leads the conference in RBI with 48, and he is second in hits with 68 and batting average at .366, while also being third in doubles with 19 and is fourth in the WCC with 98 total bases... junior first baseman/outfielder Corey LeVier is second in batting average (.367)... senior outfielder Kevin Muno is tied for fourth in the WCC in runs scored with 33 and leads the conference in stolen bases with 20... right-hander Chris Jensen is fourth in the WCC in strikeouts with 68... freshman left-hander Paul Paez is tied for second in the WCC in appearances (23).

TOREROS MAKE NCAA HISTORY: In the 22-inning loss to No. 9 Fresno State on March 26, has now been recorded as the longest game in NCAA history in terms of time, 7 hours and 12 minutes. The 22 innings, is the third longest game in history in terms of innings, with the record being held at 25 innings between Texas and Boston College. The Toreros pitching staff also recorded 28 strikeouts, which ranks second all-time behind the record of 31 in a game between North Carolina State vs. Akron on March, 4, 2009. Fresno State and USD had 44 combined strikeouts, which is also second all-time behind 51 in that same game between North Carolina State vs. Akron on March, 4, 2009.

2011 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All of San Diego's home games, and select road games can be followed live via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of CBS College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and 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.

TOREROS TABBED FAVORITES IN WCC PRESEASON POLL: The University of San Diego is a unanimous selection to repeat as the West Coast Conference champions, garnering all seven possible first place votes and 49 points in a preseason poll of the eight WCC head coaches. Last season was memorable for USD. Led by 2010 WCC Player of the Year James Meador and Pitcher of the Year Kyle Blair, the Toreros posted a 19-2 WCC record en route to an NCAA berth and a 37-win season. Despite having ten players drafted, Coach Rich Hill and his staff have reloaded once again. This year's team is paced by senior outfielder Kevin Muno. A preseason All-WCC selection, Muno led the WCC in both runs scored and stolen bases a season ago. The coaches selected Pepperdine to finish second in the WCC with 39 points, while San Francisco rounds off the top-three. Portland was selected to finish fourth, while Loyola Marymount was picked fifth, and Gonzaga was selected to finish seventh. Santa Clara and Saint Mary's were picked to finish seventh and eighth respectfully.