Baseball heads to No. 3 Vanderbilt


Sophomore Bryson Brigman has gained notoriety as one of the best players in the nation. Photo Courtesy of USD Athletics

The University of San Diego baseball season is finally starting after many months of training, practice, and anticipation for such a promising 2016 season. Last year, the Toreros finished with a record of 33-22, and went 19-8 in West Coast Conference play. While these numbers are definitely above average, the team was unable to make the NCAA postseason.

This year’s roster is loaded with talent and brings valuable experience from previous seasons; this team has the tools to accomplish a lot in the next few months. The Toreros open their 2016 campaign at No. 3 Vanderbilt University, home to one of college baseball’s premiere programs. The Commodores lost in the final game of the 2015 National Championship series against the University of Virginia Cavaliers, and are looking to avenge the traumatic loss from last year. They were, however, the 2014 National Champions and have been heavily favored to make it to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska over the past five years. This opening matchup will be a true test as to whether the Toreros can play with top-notch competition.

Several Torero players will give them the chance to win on any given night, and the first star that should be highlighted is sophomore middle infielder, Bryson Brigman. He held a .339 batting average last season with 74 hits, 28 runs batted in, and 39 runs scored in just his freshman season. These statistics earned him a spot on the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team and the title of West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year. Brigman is well-respected among the world of college baseball and has been listed as one of the top 50 players in the nation coming into this season. The Golden Spikes Award released a list of 50 players to watch who have the potential to win the award, and Brigman’s name was on that list.

Freshman pitcher Nick Sprengel and sophomore catcher Riley Adams are two young guns on the roster with a lot of talent. Sprengel can consistently throw low 90s and as a lefthander, opposing hitters could have a lot of trouble against him this season. Adams looks to be a strong bat in the order after driving in 26 runs on 43 hits during his freshman season.

The Toreros have a very strong non-conference schedule that should help them later in the season. USD is favored to win the WCC championship, which would give them a spot in the Super Regional during the postseason. A team can still make the postseason without winning their conference championship, but doing so requires a strong record against their non conference opponents. USD has a tough non-conference schedule that includes games against the University of Arizona Wildcats, Oregon State University Beavers, San Diego State Aztecs, Arizona State University Sun Devils, and UC Irvine Anteaters.

Fowler Park will be hosting the Tony Gwynn Memorial Classic from Feb. 26 to Feb. 28. This is a tournament that features several elite baseball programs from around the nation. The University of Arizona Wildcats, University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, and Tulane University Green Wave. Fowler Park is one of the most beautiful college baseball stadiums in the nation and fellow Toreros should take advantage of the atmosphere that comes with it. Let the games begin.