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Toreros Set to Roll the Dice in Las Vegas

March 20, 2007

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IN A NUTSHELL: The 21st-ranked University of San Diego baseball team (19-9) will take their five game winning streak on the road this week with a three-game series in Las Vegas, Nev. to take on the Rebels of UNLV. Friday's game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., Saturday's first pitch is slated for 2 p.m. and Sunday's contest will begin at 1 p.m.

THE POLLS: After USD posted a 4-0 record this past week, the Torero baseball team moves up in the latest national rankings. The Toreros are up one spot in the latest Baseball America top-25 poll to No. 21, moves up three spots in the latest Rivals.com top-25 poll to No. 22 and have reentered the Collegiate Baseball top-30 poll at No. 24. This marks the seventh consecutive week the Toreros have been ranked among the nation's elite. UNLV is not ranked in any of the top-25 polls.

LAST TIME OUT: San Diego posted a perfect 4-0 record this past week. The Toreros began the week in stylish fashion, downing No. 13 Cal State Fullerton 5-1. In the game, Josh Romanski was dominating as he took a no-hitter into six innings, retiring his first 15 batters. He allowed three hits, one run and struck out six in picking up the win. On Friday, USD then overpowered Houston in a 8-1 win. Brian Matusz was again dominating on the mound as he rung up 11 strikeouts, scattered five hits and allowed one run. Offensively for the Toreros, Romanski and Justin Snyder led the way as they both went 3-for-5. On Saturday, Kevin Hansen lifted USD to a 5-4 win over Houston as he hit a bases-loaded walk-off RBI single to through the left side to give USD the win. On Sunday, the Toreros completed the sweep as they downed the Cougars 8-3. Offensively for the Toreros, Jordan Abruzzo, Shane Buschini and Sean Nicol led the way going 2-for-4 and Hansen was also a solid force at the plate as he went 2-for-3.

SCOUTING THE REBELS: UNLV enters the week with a 10-17 overall record after losing 2-of-3 to BYU this past week. The Toreros swept the Rebels this past season in San Diego. The Rebels are led offensively by Efran Navarro Jr., who has a team-leading .356 bating average, has 31 hits, five doubles one home run and 18 RBI. On the mound, the Rebels look to Craig Heyer to anchor down the rotation. In eight starts this season, he has a 3-2 record with an ERA of 5.84.

ROMANSKI NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore outfielder/pitcher Josh Romanski has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week after helping lead the 21st-ranked University of San Diego baseball team to a 4-0 record this past week. Romanski began the week in stylish fashion as he took the mound against No. 13 Cal State Fullerton and turned in his second dominating performance in as many weeks. Romanski took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, before surrendering three hits and one run. He retired his first 15 batters in the contest and rung up six strikeouts to but the normally potent Fullerton bats on ice in 8.0 innings of work. On the season, Romanski is 3-1 with a 3.79 ERA. Romanski wasn't just solid on the mound, as he also found success at the plate. For the week, Romanski went 7-for-15 (.467) with one triple and three RBI. On the season, Romanski is leading the team in batting average with a .354 average, has 35 hits, five doubles, two triples, one home run and eight RBI.

MASTERFUL MATUSZ DOES IT AGAIN: Sophomore left-hander Brian Matusz continues to show why he is among the nation's best collegiate pitchers. In Friday's win against Houston, Matusz was again dominating as he allowed one run on five hits, while recording 11 strikeouts in 8.0 innings of work. After surrendering a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning, Matusz then retired 11 of his next 12 batters, including striking out seven of the next eight batters after the home run. According to Boydsworld.com, Matusz is leading the nation in strikeouts with 83. He is now averaging 1.7 strikeouts per inning and 10.4 strikeouts per outing. Matusz is 4-1 on the season with an ERA of 2.66.

TOREROS IN THE RPI: San Diego's RPI, according to Boydsworld.com, is now up to No. 10 after posting a 4-0 record this past week. USD, who plays one the of toughest non-conference schedules in the nation, reached as high as No. 6 heading into Sunday's game. Prior to this past week, USD's RPI was No. 15, then after they defeated Cal State Fullerton, it jumped to No. 9.

HANSEN'S HEROICS: Junior third baseman Kevin Hansen was nothing short of amazing this past week. In particular, in Saturday's thrilling 5-4 win, Hansen was huge in helping lead USD to victory. After Houston rallied in the top of the ninth inning, scoring two runs to tie the game at 4-4, the Cougars placed runners at second and third with only one out. Felix Fanaselle stepped to the plate and hit a hard line drive down the third baseline that had the appearance of being too high for the 5-10 Hansen, but Hansen displayed his leaping ability and snagged the ball out of the air and then touched third base, as the runner who was on third broke for the plate, to end the Cougars threat. Then in the bottom of the ninth inning, USD loaded the bases and Hansen stepped to the plate and rocketed the ball through the left side to push across the winning run and give USD the win.

NICOL STILL SWINGING IT WELL: Sophomore shortstop Sean Nicol continues to have a solid bat for the Toreros offense. This past week, Nicol went 4-for-12 with one double, one home run and one RBI. On the season, Nicol is hitting .324 with 34 hits, six doubles, one triple, three home runs and 10 RBI.

ABRUZZO BREAKS OUT OF SLUMP: Senior Jordan Abruzzo had an interesting week for the Toreros. Against Fullerton, he enjoyed a solid day at the plate as he went 2-for-5 with one home run and two RBI. Then against Houston, he began the series 0-for-11, then broke out of that in Sunday's game as he went 2-for-4 with two RBI. On the season, Abruzzo is hitting .284 with 33 hits, six doubles, four home runs and a team-best 28 RBI.

GOING STREAKING: San Diego is in the midst of a season-high five game win streak. In fact, USD has won seven of their last eight games. The Toreros will look to improve upon this streak this weekend with a three-game road swing to Las Vegas, Nev. to take on the Rebels of UNLV.

NOTES ON POSITION PLAYERS

Daniel Magness, SR, 1B - Magness went 4-for-14 (.286) with two RBI this past week. On the season, he his hitting .293 with 27 hits, two doubles and 17 RBI.

Justin Snyder, JR, 2B - Snyder went 4-for-16 (.250) with two doubles, four RBI and four runs scored this past week. On the season, Snyder is hitting .339 with a team-leading 40 hits, is tied for the team-lead in doubles with eight, has two home runs and 15 RBI.

Sean Nicol, SO, SS - This past week, Nicol went 4-for-12 with one double, one home run and one RBI. On the season, Nicol is hitting .324 with 34 hits, six doubles, one triple, three home runs and 10 RBI.

Kevin Hansen, JR, 3B - Hansen went 5-for-15 with one double and one RBI. On the season, Hansen is hitting .297 with 30 hits, five doubles, two triples and 16 RBI.

Mike Metzger, JR, LF - On the season, Metzger is hitting .271 with 16 hits, three doubles and three RBI, while splitting time in the outfield with Kevin Muno and James Meador.

Josh Romanski, SO, CF - Romanski went 7-for-15 (.467) with one triple and three RBI this past week en route to earning the WCC Player of the Week honor. On the season, Romanski is leading the team in batting average with a .354 average, has 35 hits, five doubles, two triples, one home run and eight RBI.

Shane Buschini, SR, RF - This past week, Buschini went 4-for-14 (.286) with one double, one triple and three RBI. On the season, Buschini is hitting .296 with 32 hits, eight doubles, one triple, a team-leading six home runs and 21 RBI.

Logan Gelbrich, JR, C - On the season, Gelbrich is hitting .310 with 31 hits, five doubles, one home run and 15 RBI, while rotating between the catcher, designated hitter and left field positions.

Jordan Abruzzo, SR, DH - Abruzzo is hitting .284 with 33 hits, six doubles, one triple four home runs and a team-leading 28 RBI, while rotating between the catcher and designated hitter positions.

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.

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.

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.