May 8, 2008
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Sophomore All-American closer AJ Griffin of the University of San Diego baseball team is one of 12 players in the nation who has accepted an invitation for the 2008 National Team Trials to be held June 11-23 throughout the northeast and southeast United States. This marks the second consecutive season that the Toreros have sent someone to Team USA with both Brian Matusz and Josh Romanski playing for the National Team last summer.
Griffin, a 6-5 sophomore from El Cajon, Calif., has become the all-time leader in career-saves at USD with 23, 12 of which have come during this season. Griffin has been named the WCC Pitcher of the Week twice this season and has a 1-1 record with a 2.08 ERA in 39.0 innings of work this season.
The list is comprised of eight sophomores and four freshmen. In all, 32 players will be invited to the National Team Trials,with 22 of those players being selected for the National Team roster.
Sophomores on the list are Josh Fellhauer (OF, Cal State Fullerton), Kyle Gibson (RHP, Missouri), A.J. Griffin (RHP, San Diego), Mike Leake (RHP/UTL, Arizona State), Mike Minor (LHP, Vanderbilt) Andrew Oliver (LHP, Oklahoma State), Aaron Senne (OF, Missouri) and Jason Stoffel (RHP, Arizona).
The four freshmen invitees are Christian Colon (INF, Cal State Fullerton), Kentrail Davis (OF, Tennessee), Bryan Morgado (LHP, Tennessee) and Hunter Morris (1B, Auburn). Morgado is a redshirt freshman.
Leake, Minor, Morgado and Oliver are all members of the 2008 Roger Clemens Award Watch List, and Griffin is a member of the 2008 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List. Morgado ranks 10th nationally this season with 89 strikeouts, while Leake ranks 29th with 78. Griffin ranks fourth in the nation with 12 saves.
"USA Baseball is excited about the return of the trials period," National Team General Manager Eric Campbell said. "Last year, we had to select the National Team by June 11 and without the aid of a trials period for the first time ever. This is a strong initial group of invitees, and we will continue to work with collegiate coaches to get the best 32 players available into this year's National Team Trials."
USA Baseball's 2008 National Team schedule includes a six-game friendship series against Chinese Taipei and a month-long trip to Europe where the team will compete in Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands and in the IV FISU World Collegiate Baseball Championship in the Czech Republic.
The 2008 USA Baseball National Team will be led by Oral Roberts University head coach Rob Walton, who served as an assistant coach for the 2005 National Team. Walton is joined on the 2008 staff by pitching coach Jerry Meyers (head coach, Old Dominion University), assistant coach Nino Giarratano (head coach, University of San Francisco), and assistant coach Ritch Price (head coach, University of Kansas). In addition, current Baylor University baseball media relations contact Larry Little will serve as the 2008 National Team press officer -- Little held the same position with the 2005 National Team.
Griffin and the Toreros will return to action on Friday as they head to San Francisco for a three-game series with the University of San Francisco. USD just need's one more win to clinch a share of the WCC Championship and lock up home field advantage in the WCC Championship series on May 23-25.