USC baseball opens its season February 16 with three preseason All-Pac-12 honorees

USC baseball opens its season next week at the MLB Desert Invitational against Brigham Young University, Grand Canyon and Ohio State.  Last year the Trojans were 34-22-1 in Andy Stankiewicz’s first season as the skipper at Troy.  The Pac-12 poll for the 2023 season had USC picked to finish 10th, just ahead of last-place Utah (Colorado discontinued baseball in 1980). This year, the media voted the Trojans No. 5 behind (1) Oregon State, (2) Stanford, (3) UCLA, and (4) Oregon.

The Trojans are led by three All-Pac-12 selections: Caden Aoki, Austin Overn, and Josh Blum.

Aoki is a junior right-handed pitcher from Huntington Beach, California.  He was an all-conference selection in 2023, when he had a Pac-12 leading ERA of 2.98 and an impressive career 1.25 WHIP. Caden signed with Notre Dame out of high school and transfered to USC for his sophomore year.

Blum is a junior right-handed hurler from Bellaire, Texas. He posted a 3.34 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched and 30 appearances out of the bullpen. He had a dominant stretch in which he held opponents scoreless over seven appearances that combined for 11 innings.

Overn is an electric outfielder from Tustin, California. In 2023 he was a Freshman All-American and an All-Pac-12 selection in his first year at USC.  He set the USC single season triples record with 14 and finished seventh in the league with 16 stolen bases. When he wasn’t ripping up the base paths, his speed and athleticism allowed him to rob many hitters of extra-base hits, leading to Pac-12 All-Defensive Team recognition.

Aoki, Blum, Overn, and the 2024 squad would like to get off to a faster start than they did last year. USC stumbled out of the gate in 2023, going 5-7-1 in its first 13 games. A five-game losing streak in the middle of the season allowed the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee to snub a Trojan team that won 17 games in the conference. The 2024 season starts next Friday, Feb. 16, against BYU at 4 p.m. Pacific time on MLB.TV.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire