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Are you ready for some post-season baseball? And I don’t mean waiting for the Padres in October.
The University of San Diego’s baseball team has climbed to a program record No. 6 national ranking in Monday’s latest Baseball America poll after sweeping San Francisco over the weekend to improve to 38-12 overall and 16-2 in the West Coast Conference.
With one win in a three-game series Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Santa Clara or one loss by Gonzaga in a three-game series at Pepperdine, the Toreros will host the WCC Tournament as the No. 1 seed against the No. 2 seed May 25-27 at USD’s Cunningham Stadium.
Then, there is the possibility USD will be seeded in the NCAA tournament and could even host an NCAA regional at San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn Stadium.
USD’s stadium would be a beautiful venue for such a tournament, but the plans to expand the seating at the stadium and fill in hillsides down the first and third base lines are still on the drawing board. USD head coach Rich Hill has the program running ahead of the fund-raising efforts.
The Toreros are winning with mix of recruited players who turned down the draft and some of San Diego’s best high school talent.
Sophomore left-handed pitchers Brian Matusz and Josh Romanski, who will be high draft picks after the junior seasons, are 9-2 and 8-1, respectively.
Catcher Jordan Abruzzo, an El Capitan High alumnus, returned for his senior year when he didn’t like his draft position in the 39th round by the Boston Red Sox. He’s established USD career records for hits and RBIs.
Freshman closer A.J. Griffin, the CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year last as a senior last season at Grossmont High, has eight saves after pitching the final three innings of a win over Pepperdine last week to complete a sweep of the series of a team that was then ranked No. 13 in the nation.
Today’s non-conference game at 3 p.m. against UC Irvine is listed as the Toreros’ final regular-season home game, but USD has set itself up for more home games and a run at the College World Series.
— TOM SHANAHAN