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First Place Toreros Prep For WCC Showdown With Pepperdine

April 17, 2006

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WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The 19th-ranked University of San Diego Torero baseball team (24-14, 6-3 WCC) will return to action on Tuesday as they host the Highlanders of UC Riverside in a 3 p.m. non-conference affair at Cunningham Stadium. The Toreros, who are currently tied for first place in the WCC with San Francisco, will then travel to Malibu for a three-game tilt with the Waves of Pepperdine University. Friday' game, which is scheduled to be televised on CSTV, will begin at 3 p.m. and both Saturday and Sunday's games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

HOME SWEET HOME: The University of San Diego Toreros are bolstering a 12-4 record at home this season and as a team they are hitting .336 at Cunningham Stadium while the Toreros pitching staff is holding opponents to a .248 batting average. The Toreros opened the season at home in stylish fashion with a three-game sweep of the defending national champion Texas Longhorns. USD has built on that momentum and not lost a season series while playing on their home turf.

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros opened the week with a 2-1 loss to Cal State Northridge on Tuesday but bounced back posting a 2-1 weekend record against West Coast Conference rival Loyola Marymount University. USD captured a 6-4 series opening win against the Lions on Thursday behind a big four-run seventh inning. In the game Josh Romanski led the offensive charge going 3-for-4 with one double. The Toreros and Lions then had to wait until Saturday to complete the series thanks to heavy rain fall in the San Diego area. The Toreros dropped the first game of the doubleheader 7-3, but bounced back with a huge ninth-inning rally in the second game to claim the win. USD trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Toreros bats became red hot registering six hits in the inning. The Toreros then slowly chipped in run after run until Steve Singleton whipped out his cape and played superhero driving in the winning run on a single over the right fielder's head to give USD the series win and move them into a first place tie in the WCC.

SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside enters the week with a 18-13 overall record after taking this past week off. The Highlanders and Toreros have a long standing history that dates back to the Division II days with UCR holding the all-time series edge at 29-26-1 and the teams have split their Division I meetings. The Highlanders are led offensively by Jamie Pedroza who has a team-leading .371 batting average with 26 hits, two doubles, two home runs and 14 RBI. On the mound, UCR is led by James Simmons who has a team-best 2.77 ERA and a record of 6-3. The Highlanders are under the direction of second-year head coach Doug Smith who has posted a 46-40 record during his tenure in Riverside.

SCOUTING THE WAVES: Pepperdine University enters the week with a 24-15 overall record and a 5-4 record in the WCC after posting a three-game sweep over Santa Clara University this past week. Pepperdine holds a 102-48 all-time series lead against the Toreros. Pepperdine is led offensively by Nick Kliebert who has a team-leading .371 batting average with 39 hits, five doubles and 22 RBI. On the mound, the Waves are led by Paul Coleman who has a 2.70 ERA and a record of 5-3. The Waves are under the direction of third-year head coach Steve Rodriguez who has posted a 95-70 record during his tenure in Malibu.

ROMANSKI NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Freshman Josh Romanski was named the West Coast Conference Player of the week. Romanski led the Toreros' offense this past week going 6-for-11 (.545) with one double and one RBI. Romanski also saw time as a relief pitcher throwing 2.2 innings allowing one unearned run on five hits while picking up the win for the Toreros in the second game of the doubleheader with Loyola Marymount University. Romanski is now hitting .292 overall with 31 hits, three doubles, one triple, one home run and 12 RBI. On the mound, Romanski is 1-4 with an ERA of 3.99.

TOREROS IN NATIONAL RANKINGS: After the Toreros posted 2-2 record this past week, USD moved down two spots in the latest Rosenblatt Report top-25 poll to No. 19 and dropped two spots to No. 25 in the latest Baseball America top-25. The Toreros also made their return to the Collegiate Baseball rankings checking in at No. 28 in the latest top-30 poll. USD has now spent seven of the 11 weeks in the 2006 season ranked among the nations's elite reaching as high as No. 8 back on Feb. 20 in the Collegiate Baseball top-30 poll.

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 2006 spring season will be Hill's 19th year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and eighth at USD, having enjoyed 15 winning seasons in 18 years. Since taking over at USD in 1999, Hill has been remarkable in leading the Toreros to seven 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. Hill became one of the youngest coaches in collegiate history to reach 500 career victories in 2003, taking USD into postseason play for a second consecutive season.

TOREROS ON THE AIR: Friday's, Saturday's and Saturday's games against Pepperdine University can all be heard live via the internet at www.usdtoreros.com by the voice of the Toreros Jack Murray. There will also be select games throughout the remainder of the 2006 season that can be heard on usdtoreros.com, simply check the web site's baseball schedule page and look for the listen links that will appear in the right column of the page next to the particular game/series.

LIGHTS, CAMERAS, ACTION: Friday's game will not only be on the radio, but Torero fans can watch the game on the television. CSTV will be out to film the first game of a pivotal West Coast Conference Series between the Waves and Toreros. This will be USD's lone appearance on television in the 2006 season unless they make it into the NCAA regionals and advance on past that.

NOTES ON POSITION PLAYERS

Daniel Magness, JR, 1B: Daniel Magness had a solid week for the Toreros at the plate going 5-for-12 (.417) with one double. Magness has moved his batting average back above .300 to .301 with 41 hits, five doubles, two home runs and 14 RBI.

Keoni Ruth, JR, 2B: Keoni Ruth had a huge week for USD going 8-for-16 (.500) with two doubles and three RBI. Ruth is now hitting .321 with 51 hits, nine doubles and 25 RBI. Ruth is also leading the team in stolen bases going 14-for-14 in that category.

Steve Singleton, JR, SS: Steve Singleton continues to lead the team in hitting with his .364 batting average, team-leading 59 hits, is second on the team in doubles with 10, is tied for the team-lead in home runs with four and has 25 RBI.

Ryan Lilly, SR, 3B: Ryan Lilly is now hitting .258 with 34 hits, four doubles, one home run and 19 RBI. Lilly played a key role for USD in the ninth-inning comeback win against LMU by leading off the inning reaching first base to keep USD's hopes alive.

Kevin Hansen, SO, LF: Kevin Hansen is hitting .290 with 36 hits, four doubles and 16 RBI.

Justin Snyder, SO, CF: Justin Snyder has been quietly creeping his batting average up and is now hitting .292 with 40 hits, five doubles, one triple, two home runs and an 21 RBI.

Shane Buschini, JR, RF: Shane Buschini has moved his batting average to .290 with 45 hits, is third on the team in doubles with nine, is tied for the team-lead in home runs with four and has 25 RBI.

Jordan Abruzzo, JR, C: Jordan Abruzzo had a productive week at the plate for USD going 7-for-17 with one double and two RBI. On the season, Abruzzo is second on the team in hitting with a .329 batting average and leads the team in both doubles (13) and RBI (34).

Josh Romanski, FR, DH: Josh Romanski has very quietly brought his batting average up to .292 after a solid performance at the plate this past weekend going 6-for-11 (.545) with one double and one RBI. Romanski also sees time as a closer for the Toreros posting a 3.99 ERA and a 1-4 record with a team-leading four saves.

SINGLETON SNAPS HITTING SLUMP: Junior shortstop Steve Singleton snapped his hitting slump this past weekend. Before Singleton's 2-for-4 performance this past Thursday, he was on a 0-for-19 hitting slump. Singleton has led the Toreros offensively the entire season of which he spent most of the time hitting above .400. Singleton has appeared to gotten his swagger back after going 4-for-11 (.364) with one double, one home run and three RBI against Loyola Marymount this past weekend, including driving in the winning run in the second game against LMU on Saturday.

GOING STREAKING: Sophomore center fielder Justin Snyder is currently riding a eight-game hit streak. Snyder has earned the respect of opposing pitchers as he leads the team with 30 walks to help increase his on base percentage to a team-best .434.

2006 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All San Diego baseball home 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. Selected San Diego road games are also available via Gametracker. To see if Gametracker is available for a game go to San Diego Events at the top-right of the home page. If Gametracker is available there will be a Gametracker link.

TOREROS TABBED SECOND IN WCC: The Toreros were tabbed to finish second in the West Coast Conference according to the preseason WCC coaches poll. USD received two first place votes and 42 points, with the Waves of Pepperdine University coming in at 48 points and 6 first place votes. Following USD was San Francisco (34 points), LMU (32 points), Gonzaga (26 points), Santa Clara (18 points), Saint Mary's (16 points) and Portland (8 points). Last season the Toreros finished 30-27-1 overall (16-14 in WCC; 2nd place in Coast Division), marking the seventh straight season with 30 or more victories .

WCC FORMAT CHANGE FOR 2006: The West Coast Conference will change its league baseball format and schedule beginning in 2006. A one-division format will once again be implemented and the eight institutions will compete in a 21-game conference season. This new format is a departure from a two-division format, West and Coast, with a 30-game conference schedule that has been used in the WCC since the beginning of the 1999 season. Under the one-division, 21-game format, each school will play the other seven opponents one time over the course of an eight-week conference season. Each team will play seven three-game series, with one week serving as the bye week. The top two finishing teams will play in the WCC Championship Series with the regular-season champ serving as series' host.