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Toreros Travek to SDSU, Then Host Santa Clara in Big WCC Weekend

May 1, 2006

WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The University of San Diego Torero baseball team (26-20, 8-7 WCC) will return to action on Tuesday as they travel to cross-town rival San Diego State University for a 6 p.m. game at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Toreros will then host Santa Clara University in a pivotal West Coast Conference series at Cunningham Stadium. Friday's game will begin at 3 p.m. and both Saturday and Sunday's game will start at 1 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros posted a 1-3 record this past week. On Tuesday, USD was the victim of a no-hitter by UC Irvine's Glenn Swanson in a 7-0 loss. On Friday, the Toreros dropped a 4-0 decision to the University of San Francisco, and on Saturday the Toreros suffered their third consecutive shutout, a 5-0 loss to USF. On Sunday, the Toreros bats exploded for 17 hits as USD avoided a three-game sweep by the Dons with a 9-3 win. Keoni Ruth led the way offensively going 4-for-5 with one double and Jordan Abruzzo did most of the scoring damage as he went 3-for-5 with four RBI and a two-run homer. Matt Couch picked up the win for USD allowing three runs on seven hits, while fanning five batters in 6.0 innings of work.

SCOUTING THE AZTECS: San Diego State University enters the week with a 17-30 overall record and a 10-5 record in the Mountain West Conference after winning two-of-three this past weekend against Texas Christian University. The Aztecs are led offensively by Paul Smyth who has a team-leading .365 batting average, 65 hits, 15 doubles, five triples, eight home runs and 41 RBI. On the mound, Justin Mastersin leads the way with his 3.69 ERA and 5-5 record. San Diego State is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Tony Gwynn, who has posted a 107-126 overall record during his tenure at his alma mater.

SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Santa Clara University enters the week with a 26-19 overall record and a 7-8 record in the West Coast Conference, one game behind the Toreros in the WCC Standings. This past weekend the Broncos assisted the Toreros in the standings by defeating Saint Mary's College 2-of-3 to allow USD to pull within one game of SMC for second place in conference. SCU is led offensively by Daniel Nava, who is hitting .361 with 57 hits, eight doubles, a team-best four triples, has three home runs and 28 RBI. On the mound for the Broncos, Matt Wickswatt leads the way with his 3.01 ERA and a record of 8-2. Wickswatt also leads the team in strikeouts with 54. The Broncos are under the direction of Mark O'Brien who has posted a 137-132 overall record during his tenure in Santa Clara.

THE WCC STANDINGS LOGJAM: Six games remain to decide the 2006 West Coast Conference regular-season crown and after the first 15 games, four teams are within two games of first place. Pepperdine is the current WCC leader with an 10-5 record following a weekend sweep against Portland. San Diego is settled in a mix of four teams within two games of the top spot as they are tied with LMU for third in conference with a 8-7 record. San Francisco and Saint Mary's are tied for second place, one game ahead of the Toreros and one game back of Pepperdine. San Diego has one advantage going over the remaining six conference games, and that is that they play all six games in the friendly confines of Cunningham Stadium as they host Santa Clara this weekend then host Gonzaga in their final weekend of WCC play. Gonzaga and Santa Clara are tied for fourth with 7-8 records, three games out of first place.

HOME SWEET HOME: The University of San Diego Toreros are bolstering a 12-5 record while playing in the friendly confines of Cunningham Stadium this season, and as a team they are hitting .326 at home, while the Toreros pitching staff is holding opponents to a .261 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 in their home yard. Coming into the final two weeks of play, this home filed advantage could serve USD well as they are in the midst of the West Coast Conference race, only two games behind first place Pepperdine and one game behind both San Francisco and Saint Mary's.

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.

MATUSZ FINISHES SOLID MONTH: Freshman left-hander Brian Matusz had a solid performance this past month on the mound for the Toreros as he posted a 3.03 ERA and a 2-2 record. Matusz only allowed 12 runs, while registering 33 strikeouts. Matusz allowed no runs on four hits while striking out seven in a 2-0 win against Portland (4/7/06), and also had another solid win in the 6-1 decision against Pepperdine (4/21/06). In that win, Matusz allowed one run on five hits while striking out six in 8.0 innings of work. Matusz now has an ERA of 3.47 overall, which is second best on the team, and leads the team with 78 strikeouts.

RUTH HAS SOLID MONTH AS WELL: Junior second baseman Keoni Ruth has been on fire for the Toreros since the start of West Coast Conference play, and through the month of April. Ruth has gone 29-for-70 (.414) with four doubles and eight RBI. Ruth had a stellar close-out to the month as he went 4-for-5 with one double in this past Sunday's 9-3 win against the University of San Francisco Dons. Ruth is now second on the team in hitting with a .342 overall average, has 10 doubles, one triple, one home run and 26 RBI. In conference play, Ruth leads the team with his stellar .448 batting average, team-leading 30 hits, four doubles and has nine RBI.

COUCH HAS SOLID PERFORMANCE: San Diego sophomore right-hander Matt Couch had a solid outing this past Sunday as he was the only Torero pitcher to register a win this past week. In Sunday's 9-2 pounding over the University of San Francisco, Couch allowed three runs on seven hits, while striking out five through six complete innings of work. Couch now has an ERA of 3.50 and a record of 6-2.

TOPS IN THE FIELD: San Diego remains one of the top defensive teams in the nation as they are second in the West Coast Conference with a .977 fielding percentage trailing only Gonzaga University who has a .978 fielding percentage. The Toreros have only committed 40 errors all season in 46 games. Only three times this season have the Toreros committed three errors in a game.

MATUSZ AND BUTLER NAMED TO CLEMENS AWARD WATCH LIST: The Greater Houston Baseball Association announced that the University of San Diego starting pitchers Josh Butler and Brian Matusz, have been named to the 2006 Roger Clemens Award Watch List. Butler and Matusz join 76 other pitchers vying for the award honoring the nation's top collegiate pitcher.

S Butler, a junior from Danville, Calif., is currently leading the team with is 2.37 ERA and 8-5 record. Butler's ERA is also the second highest among all West Coast Conference pitchers. The junior opened the season in stylish fashion leading the Toreros to a 4-2 win against the defending national champion Texas Longhorns as he threw five complete innings not allowing a single run while giving up only two hits and striking out five batters. Butler did not allow a single earned run to cross the plate for his first month of action to post a perfect 0.00 ERA en route to earning him the WCC Pitcher of the Month award for February.

S Matusz, a freshman from Cave Creek Ariz., currently has the second best ERA on the team at 3.47, has a 4-3 record and leads the team in strikeouts with 78. Matusz was a fourth round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2005 draft, but chose to turn down a lucrative contract to come play baseball at USD.

MR. SHUTDOWN: San Diego freshman relief pitcher Josh Romanski has become the Toreros go-to guy out of the pen. This past Sunday, Romanski picked up his team-leading fifth save of the season as he allowed no runs on no hits in 3.0 innings of relief work. Romanski, a 15th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2005, has now lowered his ERA to 3.46 and he has a record of 1-4. Romanski is also solid eith the bat as he serves as a designated hitter on occasion for USD. On the season, Romanski has a .270 batting average with 31 hits, three doubles, one triple, one home run and 12 RBI.

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 ON THE AIR: Tuesday's games against SDSU and Friday's game against Santa Clara can be heard live via the internet at www.usdtoreros.com by the voice of the Toreros Jack Murray and color commentary by Hall of Fame coach John Cunningham. 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.

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.

TOREROS SCHEDULE RANKED 10TH TOUGHEST: The San Diego baseball team has the 10th toughest non-conference schedule in the nation, as stated by BoydsWorld.com. The Toreros, who open their 2006 slate with a three-game home stand against the defending national champions, Texas Longhorns, will play eight games against teams that rank in the top-10 for strength of schedule for all games - No. 4 USC (one game), No. 7 Cal State Northridge (two games), No. 8 UC Riverside (two games) and No. 9 Georgia (three games). Besides Texas, USD will face one other team in non-conference play that appear in Baseball America's Top-20, No. 7 Rice (Mar. 14). Other non-conference opponents include UC Davis (three games, Feb. 10-12), Vanderbilt (one game, Feb. 17), Kansas (one game, Feb. 18), UC Irvine (two games, Feb. 21 & Apr. 25), Cal Poly (three games, Mar. 3-5), Washington (two games, Mar. 7-8), San Diego State (four games, Mar. 10-12; May 2nd), Texas Southern (one game, Mar. 15), Houston (three games, Mar. 17-19), and UNLV (three games, Mar. 24-26).

BASEBALL NOW A TICKETED SPORT: All USD baseball home games are now a tickets event, effective at the start of the 2006 season. General Admission tickets will available to the general public on the day of each game. USD faculty, staff, and student tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Faculty and staff will be allowed a maximum of two tickets, and students will be allowed one ticket per person. Additional tickets are $5 per person. Only cash will be accepted, no credit cards, please. All three baseball games against Texas are expected to sell out. Seating will be limited and fans are encouraged to show up early. Tickets will go on sale and be available for pick up 90 minutes prior to each game. Reserved seating is not available.