Jan. 23, 2007
IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego baseball team will open its 2007 season on Friday as they host Cal Poly for a three-game series this weekend. Friday's game is set for a 2 p.m. start and both Saturday's and Sunday's games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. All of the games will be held at USD's Cunningham Stadium.
MATUSZ GARNERS PRESEASON ACCOLADES: San Diego sophomore left-hander Brian Matusz was named a third-team All-American by Baseball America and has been named to both the Wallace Award watch list and the Roger Clemens Award watch list. Matusz helped lead the Toreros to the NCAA Tournament this past season as he finished his first season in a San Diego uniform by fanning 93 batters, walking 39, posting a 4.25 ERA and a record of 4-3. In 2006, Matusz was selected as a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball, named to Baseball America's All-Freshman team, was a West Coast Conference honorable mention and an All-WCC Freshman team selection.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: This will also be Cal Poly's season opening game. The Mustangs are coming off a 29-27 2006 season and a fourth place finish in the Big West Conference. They are returning 21 letter winners, including five position player starters. Cal Poly took two-of-three from the Toreros this past season in San Luis Obispo. Junior outfielder Grant Desme is their top returning hitter for the Mustangs. As a sophomore, he hit .287 with 12 doubles, eight home runs and 33 RBI. Cal Poly lost all of their weekend starting pitchers from a year ago, and will look to the returning eight pitchers from the bull pen as well as several new comers to get the job done. Cal Poly is under the direction of fifth-year head coach Larry Lee. During his tenure in San Luis Obispo, Lee has recorded a 130-98-2 overall record.
TOREROS TABBED TIED FOR SECOND IN THE WCC: San Diego was tabbed to finish tied for second in the West Coast Conference, according to a preseason coaches poll. Pepperdine was picked to win the conference crown, while San Francisco ties USD for second. Loyola Marymount was picked to finish fourth, Gonzaga fifth, Santa Clara sixth, Saint Mary's seventh and Portland eighth.
TOREROS RANKED NO. 46 IN PRESEASON POLL: After making their return to the NCAA postseason in 2006, the Toreros have been ranked No. 46 in the Baseball America preseason top-50 poll. This marks the second consecutive season the Toreros have been ranked in a preseason top-50 poll. San Diego plays no fewer than nine teams ranked in the preseason top-50, headlined by a three game stint against No. 4 Texas. USD will head to Round Rock, Texas to take on the Longhorns in the second week of the season on Feb.2-4. The Toreros will then play the University of Southern California in a three game series immediately following their Texas series on Feb. 9-11. San Diego will then play UC Irvine on two separate mid-week games one on Mar. 6 in Irvine, Calif. and the other on May 8 at Cunningham Stadium. USD will then get to face both Michigan and cross-tow rival San Diego State at the SDSU Tournament on Mar. 9-11, then will go to battle with No. 14 Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton on Mar. 14. The Toreros then get to face the UC Riverside Highlanders in San Diego on Apr. 10. Two conference foes also made the list. USD will host No. 19 Pepperdine at Cunningham Stadium on April 27-30, and will take on No. 32 San Francisco the following weekend at home.
RECRUITING CLASS RANKED NO. 6: StudentSportsBaseball.com released their list of the Top 20 college baseball recruiting classes in the country and the University of San Diego checks in at No. 6. San Diego's recruiting class includes two AFLAC All-Americans - outfielder Sequoyah Stonecipher (Mission Bay HS) and right-handed pitcher Kyle Blair (Los Gatos HS). The recruiting class also includes one Team USA member in Victor Sanchez (Gahr HS), four players have earned All-CIF honors and all 10 student-athletes have earned all-league first- or second-team honors on their respective high school teams. This group will report to USD in the fall of 2007.
SAN DIEGO RETURNS FIVE ALL-WCC PLAYERS: The Toreros return five of it's seven All-Conference players from a year ago. Jordan Abruzzo, Josh Romanski return after earning second-team honors, and Romanski was also named the WCC Freshman of the Year in 2006. All-WCC honorable mention honoree's, Justin Snyder, Matt Couch and Brian Matusz also make their return for USD.
-Romanski was a two-way player for the Toreros serving as USD's primary closer during the conference portion of the season, while also seeing time in the Toreros' outfield and at the designated hitter spot. Romanski posted a conference batting average of .308 and a conference ERA of 3.66 while posting a 3-0 record and registering one save. Overall, Romanski hit .287 with 45 hits, six doubles, one triple, three home runs and 20 RBI. On the mound, Romanski posted a 4.50 ERA with a record of 5-4 and led the team in saves with five.
-Abruzzo finished the season with a conference batting average of .329 and overall he hit .314. Abruzzo, for the second consecutive season, led the team in doubles with 18, RBI with 46 and in home runs with eight.
-During conference play Couch was the Toreros Sunday starter and was tied for the team-lead in ERA at .333 while posting a 3-3 record in conference play. Overall Couch posted a 4.00 ERA with a record of 7-5 and was second on the team in innings pitched with 108.0.
-Matusz was the Toreros' Friday starter and during conference play he tied for the team-lead in ERA at 3.33 and had a 2-2 record against WCC foe. Overall, Matusz had the team's third best ERA of 4.25 and posted a record of 4-3 while having the second most strikeouts among all USD pitchers with 93
-In 2006, Snyder served as the USD lead-off hitter and he responded with a .301 batting average, 66 hits, 14 doubles, three home runs and 33 RBI. In conference, he hit .316 with five doubles and nine RBI.
THREE WCC TEAMS EARN NCAA BID IN 2006: San Diego, Pepperdine and San Francisco earned bids to the NCAA Baseball Championship. The three teams selected ties a conference record, as three conference squads also participated in NCAA regionals in 1988. It also marks the first time since 2003 that the WCC has received an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament. San Diego received an at large bid after posting a 32-23 record and recording several important non-conference wins during the 2006 season.
TOREROS DOWN CETYS: The Toreros downed the Cetys team from Mexico, 21-1, in their final preseason tune-up Sunday afternoon at Cunningham Stadium. The Toreros struck out 18 different batters, with USD's left-handed starter Josh Romanski going four scoreless innings only giving up five hits and striking out five batters. Anthony Slama also looked impressive on the mound for the Toreros as he threw two scoreless innings striking out six of the seven batters he faced, giving up only one hit. Justin Snyder had a solid day at the plate for USD as he went 3-for-3 with one double, one home run and two RBI. Jordan Abruzzo went 2-for-3 with one double and one RBI and Sean Nicol went 3-for-5 with one double, one triple and had three RBI.
TORERO SKIPPER Rich Hill: San Diego's Rich Hill has built the USD Toreros into one of the most successful Division I baseball programs on the West Coast. The 2007 spring season will be Hill's 20th year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and ninth at USD, having enjoyed 16 winning seasons in 19 years. Since taking over at USD in 1999, Hill has been remarkable in leading the Toreros to eight consecutive winning campaigns, rewriting the school record book en route to claiming back-to-back West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002 and 2003. Under his leadership San Diego has averaged 33 wins per season, including winning a school record 39 games in 2002, a year in which Hill was honored by his peers as the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. In 2006, Hill led USD to its highest national ranking in program history at No. 8, as well as USD's first-ever at-large berth into the NCAA Regionals.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: 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. Once on the home page, click the LIVE button on the top right of the page. This is a subscription service that will give you access to live video events of USD athletic teams, coaching interviews and much more. The cost for this service will be $6.95 per month or a yearly subscription can be purchased for $49.95.
2007 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All of San Diego's home games, as well as select road games, can be followed via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of Online College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and is a real time update of the action.