The USC baseball brand name is historically associated with excellence. No college baseball program is anywhere close to the Trojans’ 12 national championships. The Trojans are to college baseball what the UCLA Bruins are to college hoops. They’re the only program with double-digit national championships. However, whereas UCLA basketball has been legitimately good in recent years, USC baseball had struggled. The Trojans had not made the NCAA Tournament since 2015.
One would have thought that USC baseball’s brand name would have been enough to get this team into the NCAA Tournament, in much the same way that UCLA basketball has gotten into the field when it had a bubble-licious resume in recent seasons (2021, 2015).
It did not happen.
USC — not viewed as one of the last four teams in the field, and projected to be well inside the cut line for the NCAA Tournament as recently as Saturday morning — was snubbed for the 2023 field of 64. The Trojans weren’t even one of the first four teams out. Arizona State, Kansas State, Kent State, and UC Irvine were all rated higher.
It’s a stunning turn of events and a crushing disappointment for a program which overachieved this season and brought back a winning identity to USC baseball.
Andy Stankiewicz, the first-year head coach hired by former USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn, did great work in his debut season, dramatically improving the Trojans relative to where they were one year ago, when they finished 25-28 and just 8-22 in the Pac-12. This year’s USC team finished 34-23-1, 17-13 in the Pac-12.
USC has come a long way, but Stankiewicz and his players were not rewarded for what they did this year. It’s a real shame.