Dec. 20, 2013
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The University of San Diego baseball team has been ranked No. 33 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason top-40 poll, the publication announced Friday morning. This now marks nine consecutive seasons that the Toreros have been ranked in the national polls.
The Toreros are coming off another successful season in which they reached the NCAA Regionals for a second consecutive season, and eighth overall appearance at the Division I level. Last season, USD posted an overall record of 37-25, including winning the West Coast Conference tournament championship in Stockton, Calif. earning the league's automatic bid into the postseason. USD then reached the championship game of the UCLA regional, before falling to eventual national champion Bruins.
A pair of All-WCC first-team selections from last season in left-handed sophomore pitcher PJ Conlon, and junior first baseman Connor Joe highlight San Diego's roster this season. Conlon, a 6-0 sophomore from Placentia, Calif., had quite an impressive rookie campaign, posting a 9-1 record, while bolstering an ERA of 2.16. Conlon became the first freshman in USD history to begin a season at 9-0. Conlon made 25 total appearances with 10 starts, and moved himself into the Friday starter in the Torero rotation. In WCC play, Conlon posted a perfect 6-0 record with a 1.28 ERA in 49.1 innings of work, including one complete game.
Joe, a 6-0 junior from Poway, Calif. took home his first All-WCC first-team accolade last season, after hitting .319 with 74 hits, 14 doubles, seven home runs and 43 RBI. In WCC action, Joe hit .301 with 28 hits, six doubles, three home runs and had 19 RBI. Joe continued his hot play this past summer, as he was a Cape Cod All-Star, and started at catcher in the All-Star game. While playing with the Chatham Anglers, Joe hit .308 with 45 hits, nine doubles, one triple, three home runs and had 22 RBI.
San Diego also can look to likes of sophomore lefty Troy Conyers, who came on strong at the end of last season. In the WCC championship game, Conyers, who was making his first collegiate start, completely dominated the Dons, as he allowed no runs, on just two hits, while striking out a career-high nine batters. Conyers was only the second USD pitcher last season to toss a complete game shutout. This past summer, Conyers continued his dominance, as he posted a 5-1 record, with a 1.53 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 41.0 innings of work for the Danville Dans of the Prospect League. After his impressive summer, Baseball America tabbed Conyers as the Prospect League's top prospect.
Head coach Rich Hill is excited about this bunch of returners, as well as the addition of several key newcomers, and feels the mixture of this team can help propel USD to another WCC championship, and back into the NCAA Regionals for a third consecutive season.
San Diego opens the regular-season on Feb. 14, with a 6 p.m. game against New Mexico inside the friendly confines of Fowler Park and Cunningham Field.