May 4, 2004
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THIS WEEKEND... San Diego (28-20; 14-10) will host Gonzaga (20-23; 12-9) in a three-game weekend divisional series at USD's Cunningham Stadium beginning Friday at 3pm. Saturday and Sunday games are slated for a 1pm first pitch. USD is coming off an outstanding month of April in which the Toreros compiled a 13-3 overall record and an 11-2 mark within conference play. San Diego also carried a seven-game conference winning streak (and an eight-game streak overall) from April 17-May 1. San Diego shortstop Jose Ortega hit .475 in April and right-handed pitcher Kyle Collins (pictured) posted an ERA of 1.69 en route to winning all four of his starts. San Diego took two-of-three from the Bulldogs in Spokane in early April. Both Wilson and Collins pitched well in that series, earning wins against a Gonzaga team that boasts the league's best hitters in sophomore C Kiel Thibault (.457 BA) and the current WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week RH Eric Dworkis (7-3, 4.76 ERA).
COLLINS WCC/RAWLINGS PITCHER OF MONTH... San Diego's Kyle Collins was named the WCC's Co-Pitcher of the Month (April) as announced by the league office Tuesday. Collins posted a spotless record during the month of April, going 4-0 in four starts for the Toreros. The senior notched a 1.69 earned run average for the month after surrendering just five earned runs in 26.1 innings pitched. The San Jose, CA native struck out 12 batters and held opposing lineups to a .283 batting average. Collins earned WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week honors on April 19 following a six-hit shutout performance against West Division leading Pepperdine to give the Toreros the series victory. All four of Collins' wins during the month came against West Coast Conference opponents, as San Diego surged to a 13-3 overall record in April, and an 11-2 mark in conference play.
LEADING THE WCC... the USD offense leads the conference in team batting average (.317), runs (353), hits (545), RBI's (315), on-base % (.408), total bases (758) and walks (229). The USD pitching staff is limiting opponents to a WCC-best (.283 BA). USD is also the league's best fielding team (.968). OF Tom Caple leads the WCC in walks (49)- the next closest player has drawn 31. RH Aaron Wilson leads all WCC pitchers with eight wins.
PENNANT RACE... San Diego is currently three games behind WCC Coast Division leader Loyola Marymount (27-10-1, 17-7) with six league games left on the 2004 schedule for both teams. Loyola Marymount owns the head-to-head tie breaker with USD, so in reality the Toreros must make-up four games with LMU to win the division. USD will host Gonzaga and St. Mary's to conclude its league schedule, while LMU travels to St. Mary's then Gonzaga.
THE USD PITCHING STAFF... RH starter Aaron Wilson (8-3, 4.52 ERA) is the WCC leader with eight wins. Wilson is one of the most established pitchers in San Diego history, owning a career record of 26-15, good for a share of fourth all-time on the USD career list for wins (26). Wilson is seventh all-time in innings pitched (352.2), third in career starts (58) and ninth in K's (201). Wilson has given USD an average of 7.4 innings per start in seven WCC appearances this season. Torero starter RH Kyle Collins (5-1, 3.98 ERA) was 4-0 in four starts with a 1.69 ERA in the month of April, winning all four weekend appearances within West Coast Conference play. Collins was named the WCC/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week (4/20) for his contribution to a six-hit shutout thrown at the Pepperdine Waves in Malibu, a 2-0 USD victory on April 18th. Collins began the month by striking out a season-high seven batters over seven scoreless innings of work at Gonzaga (4/4). More recently Collins picked up his fourth win of the month against Portland (4/24), allowing just one run over seven complete innings. Sophomore LH Justin Blaine (4-2, 4.80 ERA) is expected to make his 12th start of the season this weekend vs. the Zags. Blaine has totaled 50 K's in 65.2 innings this season. Blaine has also held opponents to 18 extra-base hits, best among any USD starter in '04. Freshman LH Nate Boman (1-1, 1.85 ERA) has emerged as one of the best closers in the WCC. Boman recorded four saves in as many opportunities throughout the month of April. Boman has a team-leading six saves this season, a staff-best 59 K's and 1.85 ERA over 43.2 innings of work.
THE USD OFFENSE... generates an average of 11.6 hits per contest, contributing to a collective team batting average of .317. The Toreros have smacked 11 homeruns in their last ten games (eight wins). During that stretch SS Jose Ortega (.371 BA), who had four hits Sunday, 1B Randy Curtis (.335 BA) and RF Joey Prast (.291 BA) are all hitting over .400. Prast is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak, Curtis has hit safely in nine straight. 3B Freddy Sandoval (.313 BA) hit his team-leading seventh homerun in San Diego's 9-8 win Friday over USF. Sandoval is also the Toreros' leading RBI man with 46 and carries a team-high .500 slugging % into the weekend series with Gonzaga. Freshman 2B Keoni Ruth (.326 BA) stole two bases Friday at USF to bring his season total to 13 in as many attempts. Shortstop Jose Ortega hit .475 in the month of April. Spanning 16 contests throughout the month, the senior from Riverside had 10 multi-hit outings, four times totaling three hits. Ortega hit safely in 15-of-16 games, scored 13 runs and totaled nine RBI's. Ortega began the month by going 8-for-13 in a three-game series against division rival Gonzaga. After helping USD sweep a three-game set with Santa Clara, Ortega was 4-for-11 in a series win over Pepperdine on the road and then went 7-for-11 during a three-game sweep of Portland. San Diego's switch-hitting catcher Jordan Abruzzo (.355) went 6-for-14 with a pair of homeruns to help the Toreros take a three-game weekend series from host San Francisco last week. Abruzzo hit a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning Saturday allowing USD to realize an improbable comeback win and push the Toreros' WCC winning streak to seven games. The freshman from El Cajon drove in six runs in three games vs. USF, raising his season batting average to .355. Abruzzo is ripping West Coast Conference pitching at a rate of .382 in 24 games, has a team-leading 25 RBI's in league play and has struck out just three times in 102 at-bats. Abruzzo has twice hit homeruns from both sides of the plate in a WCC series this season. All-WCC senior outfielder's Josh Hansen (.376 BA) and Tom Caple (.331 BA) continue to post exceptional numbers. Hansen leads the Toreros and ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.376), ranks second on the team in RBI's (39) and has scored 35 runs in 47 games. Caple leads the WCC in walks (49)- the next closest player has drawn 31. Caple has scored a team-high 48 runs and has also slugged 20 extra-base hits.