Hitting the home stretch USD baseball set to play final WCC series of the season
By Alex Bullock
The Toreros will play their final West Coast Conference series of the season against the University of Portland Pilots this weekend as they fight to maintain their position in the WCC Baseball Championships to be held in Stockton, Calif. May 23-25.
The Toreros won just their third conference series out of seven played last weekend when they traveled to Moraga, Calif. to face the St. Mary’s College Gaels. Even though the Toreros were unable to complete the sweep of the Gaels, their two wins were crucial in creating space in the standings between them and the other teams fighting for a spot in the conference tournament.
Their work is not over, however, as they must defeat the Pilots in order to ensure they move on to postseason play. The good news for the Toreros is that they are in control of their own destiny. If they win at least two of the three games, they will clinch a berth in the WCC tournament.
With difficult non-conference match ups scheduled during the week between WCC series on the weekends, the Toreros have been unable to create momentum throughout the course of this season.
This week was no different. Following the series victory against the Gaels, the Toreros traveled to Las Vegas to face the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. Despite two homeruns from junior all-American third baseman Kris Bryant, the Toreros lost a high-scoring affair to the Rebels 12-10. Senior catcher Dillon Haupt and sophomore first baseman Connor Joe each added homeruns for the Toreros in the game.
Despite the loss to the Rebels, the Toreros are surely looking forward to their pivotal series against the Pilots. The Pilots are coming off of a sweep of the Loyola Marymount University Lions and a victory against a Pac-12 foe in the Washington State University Cougars. The Pilots will play a tough game against the tough in-state rival No. 6 Oregon State University Beavers, a team the Toreros defeated twice in March, before heading south to San Diego for a series in Fowler Park.
Luckily for the Toreros, the Pilots have not fared well away from the Pacific Northwest this season, as they are 6-17 in away games so far. The Pilots are lead by senior infielder Jeff Melby who is batting .360 on the season.
Regardless of the Pilots record so far, the Toreros will do well to play their best, win three games and leave no doubt about their hopes to make the postseason.