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Toreros Prep For Regionals

May 29, 2007

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PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATIONS

Fri.: FSU Clayton Allison (10-4, 4.24 ERA)

USD Josh Romanski (9-1, 3.16 ERA)

 

IN A NUTSHELL: After claiming the West Coast Conference Championship this past weekend, the fourth-ranked University of San Diego baseball team (43-16) is set to begin play in the NCAA Regionals at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the campus of San Diego State University this weekend. The Toreros will open play on Friday in a 8 p.m. game against the No. 4 seeded Fresno State Bulldogs. If USD wins, they will play the winner of game two between second seeded Cal State Fullerton and third-seeded Minnesota on Saturday at 8 p.m., and if they lose they will play the loser of the first game on Saturday at 4 p.m.

THE POLLS: After winning the West Coast Conference Championship Series this past weekend, the Toreros have moved up one notch to a new program-best No. 4 national ranking in the latest Baseball America top-25 poll. The Toreros remain at No. 6 in the latest Collegiate Baseball top-30- poll and move up to No. 5 in the latest Rivals.com top-25 poll. Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State and Mnnesota are not ranked in any of the polls.

USD TO HOST REGIONALS: For the first time in the history of college baseball, the NCAA postseason comes to San Diego. The Toreros have been selected as a host institution and will host the four-team Regional at SDSU's Tony Gwynn Stadium from June 1-4.

LAST TIME OUT: San Diego went 2-1 against Gonzaga University to claim the WCC Championship at USD's Cunningham Stadium. On Friday, the Bulldogs were able to overcome a four-run deficit to claim a 6-4 win and force USD's backs against the wall. The Toreros then responded on Saturday with a 13-5 win behind an offensive explosion and the arm of Josh Romanski. The team pounded out 21 hits with Jordan Abruzzo leading the team with his 4-for-6, three RBI performance. Justin Snyder and Logan Gelbrich both went 3-for-5 with two RBI to help lead the offense. Every starting position player that was sent to the plate recorded at least one hit and one RBI. Romanski picked up the win in stylish fashion, as the Team USA honoree tossed another gem. Romanski allowed five runs, two earned, on six hits, while striking out eight in 7.0 innings of work. On Sunday, the Toreros then cruised to a 13-1 win to claim the championship. In the game, again the Toreros got a solid offensive output with 15 hits and Matt Couch delivered on the mound as well. Couch tossed a gem for the Toreros, as he allowed one run on five hits in 6.0 innings of work. Freshman ace closer AJ Griffin picked up his 11th save of the season allowing no runs on one hit, while striking out four in 3.0 innings of work. Senior first baseman Daniel Magness' 4-for-4 and three RBI performance led the offense. Justin Snyder was also dominate at the plate as he went 3-for-5 with one RBI.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Fresno State enters the Regional as the winners of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament and own a 36-27 overall record. This WAC Tournament Championship is the first back-to-back for Fresno State in Bulldog history. The Bulldogs are led offensively by Erik Wetzel, who has a team-leading .350 batting average, a team-best 86 hits, has 10 doubles, four triples, one home run and 34 RBI. Justin Wilson anchors down the Fresno pitching rotation as he owns a 8-5 record with an ERA of 3.19. Fresno State took two-of-three from USD earlier this season.

SCOUTING THE TITANS: Cal State Fullerton enters the Regional with an overall record of 33-23 and are making their 16th consecutive trip to the NCAA Postseason. USD and CSF squared off earlier this season in a mid-week showdown with the Toreros coming out on top 5-1. The Titans are led offensively by Clark Hardman, who has a team-leading .378 batting average, 90 hits, 14 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 41 RBI. The Titans pitching rotation in led by Wes Romer, who has an overall record of 9-6 and an ERA of 3.51.

SCOUTING THE GOLDEN GOPHERS: Minnesota enters the Regional with an overall record of 40-16 after falling in the Big-10 championship game to Ohio State this past weekend. The Golden Gophers are led offensively by Mike Mee, who has a team-leading .397 batting average with 81 hits, 12 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 46 RBI. On the mound, Minnesota looks to Dustin Brabender to anchor things down. Brabender owns a 5-1 overall record with an ERA of 4.65.

STARS AND STRIPES: Sophomore's Josh Romanski and Brian Matusz have been named two of the first 11 members of the 2007 USA Baseball National Team. Matusz, a native of Cave Creek, Ariz., just became the new single-season leader in strikeouts with 156 after posting 11 strikeouts in picking up his 10th win of the season against Santa Clara University. On the season, Matusz is 10-3 with a 2.73 ERA. Romanski, a native of Corona, Calif., has been a valuable two-way star for the Toreros this season. Romanski owns a 9-1 record on the mound with a 3.16 ERA. Romanski is also the team's third-leading hitter with a .335 batting average, has 73 hits, nine doubles, two triples, three home runs and 30 RBI while rotating between the pitcher, designated hitter and centerfield positions.

BUSCHINI NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Senior right fielder Shane Buschini was tabbed as the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. Buschini, an All-WCC first-team selection for the second time in his career, becomes just the third Torero to earn the WCC Player of the Year distinction and the first since the WCC/Rawlings 40th Anniversary Team honoree Kevin Herde took home the award in the 1993 season. The San Ramon, Calif. native turned in a dominate senior campaign, leading the conference with 13 home runs and collecting 55 RBI to rank second in the WCC. Buschini was even more dominate against WCC opponents, pacing the circuit in batting (.418), RBI (25), total bases (55), on base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.696) during league play.

10 TOREROS NAMED TO ALL-WCC TEAMS: The University of San Diego baseball team had eight players earn first-team All-West Coast Conference honors and two more took home All-WCC honorable mention accolades. Senior right fielder Shane Buschini was tabbed as the WCC Player of the Year and head coach Rich Hill was named the WCC Coach of the Year. Joining Buschini on the All-WCC first-team list are Jordan Abruzzo, Matt Couch, Logan Gelbrich, AJ Griffin, Brian Matusz, Justin Snyder and Josh Romanski. The two All-WCC honorable mention accolades for the Toreros are Kevin Hansen and Daniel Magness. Griffin was also named to the All-WCC freshman team.

HILL NAMED WCC COACH OF THE YEAR: Head Coach Rich Hill was tabbed for Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career, previously earning the distinction in 2002. Hill guided the Toreros to a record-setting campaign, as USD set a program mark with 41 wins and captured the WCC regular-season title for the first time in program history. The San Diego squad also garnered a USD record No. 5 national ranking, reeled off 17 consecutive WCC wins, the second longest single-season winning streak in the history of the WCC.

NEW PROGRAM RECORD: With the 2-1 record this past weekend, the Toreros set a new program record for single-season wins. This is the first 40-win season in program history as the Toreros wrap the regular-season with a 43-16 record.

CLOSING TIME: Freshman closer AJ Griffin picked up his 11th save of the season in Sunday's championship clinching game as the youngster threw three solid innings, allowing no runs on one hit while picking up four strikeouts. Griffin's 11 saves is the second most single-season saves in program history, only trailing Tony Perez's 13 set during the 2003 season. On the season, Griffin is 6-1 with a team-leading 2.63 ERA.

COUCH TAKES HOME HONOR: USD junior right-hander Matt Couch was named the WCC Pitcher of the Series for his performance in the championship game. The Sacramento, Calif. native was rock solid for the Toreros as he allowed just one run on five hits in 6.0 innings of work. At one point, Couch had retired seven consecutive batters, as he improves his record to 9-2 and lowers his ERA to 3.60. The nine wins is a single-season best for Couch.

ESPNU TO TELEVISE SAN DIEGO REGIONAL: All of the possible seven games in the San Diego Regional will be televised live nationally by ESPNU, and will be one of just two Regionals broadcast by the ESPN. The sports network is sending broadcasters Dave Cohen (play-by-play), Robin Ventura (color for the day games) and Barry Larkin (color for the night games), respectively live from Tony Gwynn Stadium.

MATUSZ A SEMIFINALIST FOR TWO AWARDS: USD sophomore left-hander Brian Matusz has been named as a semifinalist for both the Roger Clemens and Golden Spikes award. The Roger Clemens award is given out annually to the Nation's best collegiate pitcher and is named after future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. This is the 30th consecutive year that the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award has been presented to the nation's premier amateur baseball player. The winner's name will be announced on June 29, 2007, during the 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Show presented by Major League Baseball.

2007 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All of the Regional games this weekend 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.

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 nine consecutive winning campaigns, rewriting the school record book en route to claiming back-to-back West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002 and 2003 and taking the title in 2007. Under his leadership San Diego has averaged 34 wins per season, including winning a school record 43 games in 2007, a year in which Hill was honored by his peers as the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. In 2007, Hill led USD to its highest national ranking in program history at No. 4, as well as USD's first-ever national seed in the NCAA Regionals.

MR. ALL-TIME: San Diego senior catcher Jordan Abruzzo has etched his name into the USD career record books. Earlier this season, Abruzzo became the all-time hits leader (303) and RBI leader (208). Abruzzo is also third all-time in doubles with 61 and fourth all-time in home runs with 35. On the season, Abruzzo is hitting .333 with 83 hits, 15 doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 59 RBI.

SNYDER TAKES HOME AWARD: San Diego junior second baseman Justin Snyder was named the WCC Championship Series Player of the Series after helping lead USD to victory. The El Cajon, Calif. native posted a .462 batting average (6-for-13) with two doubles and three RBI. On the season, Snyder is hitting .354 with 86 hits, 20 doubles, four home runs and 36 RBI.

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.