Torero baseball ready for 2015 season
Several players receive recognition as the nation’s best
The University of San Diego baseball team is ranked No. 34 in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason poll and look to build on their success from last season. After finishing 34-20 in 2014, the Toreros had a very respectable record but unfortunately did not make the NCAA Regionals due to losses in the West Coast Conference Tournament. With several key contributors returning, expectations are high for 2015 and the Toreros hope to succeed in the WCC and earn a postseason berth. Head coach Rich Hill is excited about the team that he has and is ready for this upcoming season to get underway.
“Last year is in the past,” Hill said. “We have a saying, ‘The past is but a prelude and the best is yet to come,’ so with that in mind, it is a completely different offense from last year. The pitching staff has been revamped. The defense has been revamped.”
Despite losing now USD alumnae, outfielder Louie Lechich, infielder Andrew Daniel and catcher Connor Joe to professional baseball, the Toreros still have many players coming back who were recognized prior to the start of this season. Perfect Game Baseball recognized five Toreros as being in the Top 100 players in the nation in their respective classes.
For the freshmen class, catcher Riley Adams, infielder Bryson Brigman and pitcher Jonathan Teaney all made the Top 100 list. All three players came to USD from areas inside Calif. and were highly touted recruits from some of the other top programs in the country such as Vanderbilt University and Stanford University.
Junior shortstop Kyle Holder and transfer pitcher David Hill both made the Top 100 list for their class. Holder started 52 games last year at shortstop for the Toreros and had a strong year both offensively and defensively. In the field, Holder only made four errors in 163 attempts, which put him among the best shortstops in the nation from a defensive perspective. He finished the season with a .298 batting average, three home runs and 29 runs batted in.
Hill is a transfer from Orange Coast College and has attained very impressive statistics during his sophomore season. He went 11-1 on the mound last year while maintaining a 1.67 earned run average and striking out 109 batters.
Coach Hill knows that there is a lot of young talent on the roster, and by getting the No.4 recruiting class for 2015, the future could be very bright.
“We recruited these kids because we believe in them,” Hill said. “When you get a uniform at USD, the only expectation we have is that they are going to perform like madmen, especially playing against the highest competition.”
The 2015 schedule is filled with some of the toughest competition in the nation from a variety of conferences. The Toreros’ first big test will be against their cross-town rival, San Diego State Aztecs from the Mountain West Conference. Their toughest road games include competitors include at the University of Texas Longhorns, Mississippi State Bulldogs, and Stanford Cardinal. Fowler Park will also host several of the top programs in the nation. The UC Irvine Anteaters and Cal State Fullerton Titans will both travel to USD to face off against the Toreros.
Aside from all of the non-conference challenges, the WCC also poses serious contenders. The Pepperdine University Waves and Loyola Marymount University Lions both received votes in the Fab 40 list.
When asked about this years’ schedule, Hill was confident in in their game plan and that there is a reason to schedule such strong opponents.
“The only way to host a regional or super regional is to have an RPI under 20,” Hill said. “I’m excited about the chemistry of the team and the sense of urgency and accountability that they all have towards each other.”
The Toreros open up their 2015 campaign at Fowler Park on Feb. 13 against the Morehead State University Eagles. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.