Katie Chin | Daily TrojanSwinging for the top · Redshirt junior Frankie Rios takes a swing at a pitch. Rios and the team take to the road to face Arizona on Friday.After capturing its first two Pac-12 series of the season against Washington State and Arizona State, USC heads to Tucson this weekend for a three-game showdown with No. 13 Arizona.“To win two in a row separates your record a bit,” head coach Dan Hubbs said. “Now we’ve got to go to Arizona and find a way to hopefully continue the streak and win another one.” Like USC, Arizona is also off to a hot start to the season. The team now stands at 17-7 after beginning this year’s campaign with a 10-game winning streak. Hitting has been the Wildcats’ greatest strength so far, as they possess a conference high .332 team batting average. The Wildcats also lead the Pac-12 in runs, RBIs, hits, slugging percentage and walks. The key to the Wildcats’ early statistical prowess has been an experienced and deep batting order. Six players are currently batting over .320, with sophomore Alfonso Rivas III leading the way with an eye-popping .395 average. The Wildcats may have lost five starters from last year’s team, but the College World Series runner-ups remain a top national contender. While they may lack the same offensive efficiency, USC has also been hitting well to start the season. Sophomore Lars Nootbaar has been the team’s clutch performer so far, with a team-leading four home runs and 21 RBIs. Fellow sophomore Brandon Perez has been a pleasant surprise this year; after seeing limited at-bats last season, he is hitting .338. Senior Corey Dempster is currently on a 11-game hitting streak after solidifying the Trojans’ victory against San Diego State on Wednesday with an eighth inning RBI single. “I’m just attacking the fastball and being aggressive,” Dempster said. “I think the biggest thing is not being afraid to let ball speed go early in the count or being afraid to get behind either.”As opposed to hitting, pitching has been more of an adventure for the Trojans. The young bullpen has had its bright spots — freshman closer Austin Manning has three saves and fellow freshman Chris Clarke has provided key innings when called upon. However, inconsistency has been an issue for regular starters such as sophomore Marrick Crouse and junior Brad Wegman. Overall, USC is eighth in Pac-12 team ERA, which could be problematic against Arizona’s stacked batting order. One storyline to watch this weekend will be who Hubbs decides to start behind the plate at the catcher position. Senior transfer Cris Perez and freshmen Kaleb Murphy and Blake Sabol have all seen significant time behind the plate so far this season. As the Trojans head deeper into the heart of conference play, it will be interesting to see if the position becomes more solidified. After wrapping up the series against Arizona, USC has a quick detour against Long Beach State on Tuesday before returning to Dedeaux Field for a three-game series with Stanford starting on Thursday. “It’s a grind week in and week out, day in day out,” Hubbs said. “The guys just have to be prepared for it.”
By Stephen DienerMillions have been waiting to hear the answer to this question, when will the Disney parks be open again?!Well, we finally got our answer today.Disney announced that they are planning to open Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks on Saturday July 11th, while waiting a few more days until Wednesday July 15th, to open up EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.But once the doors open, it will be a much different experience than what you are used to.All guests will have their temperatures checked and will not be allowed in with a temperature over 100.4, all guests over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask, and you will need a reservation ahead of time just to get into the parks.Once you are inside, you will notice some major changes as well.The rides will be limited as well as various experiences throughout the parks, such as the total elimination of character meet and greets, parades, and firework shows. All fan favorites of course.Attraction lines will be subject to social distancing as well.All parks and resorts have been closed since March 16th. No word yet on when the major resort areas will be opening.Also of note, SeaWorld announced that they will be opening with similar restrictions on Thursday, June 11th.Will you be going to the parks with these restrictions in place?
England’s Josh Hill has created a new world record as the youngest ever winner of an Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) tournament.Current boys’ squad player Hill – aged just 15 – claimed a remarkable two-shot victory at today’s Al Ain Open in the United Arab Emirates.The MENA (Middle-East North Africa) Tour event was largely populated by professionals, but Hill carded an eight-under par final round 62 to put his name up in lights.Hill replaces Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa as the youngest ever player to win an official OWGR event.Ishikawa was aged 15 years and eight months when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup in 2007.Dubai-based Hill was only 15 years, six months and 27 days old when he completed his stunning feat having started the final round three shots adrift of another Englishman, Harry Ellis.Understandably, Hill was shell-shocked at his victory. However, he also expressed a little regret at not marking the record-breaking occasion by posting a final round in the 50s.“I am actually a little disappointed with my finish because I missed so many opportunities coming in. I honestly could have broken 60 today,” said Hill who will be a key member of the boys’ squad for Home Internationals and European Championships in 2020.“I knew I needed a good start, and once I got it, I just kept hitting one good shot after the other.“I really don’t know what to say right now. I am shocked. If you had told me during the summer that I will be winning a MENA Tour title against professionals and become the youngest ever winner of an OWGR event, I would have laughed at the notion.“I guess hard work pays.”Hill’s victory comes just a few weeks after an another graduate of the England Golf set-up – Robin Williams – won on the MENA Tour as a professional.“I was struggling in the summer and then something changed in the last MENA Tour event at Yas Links,” added Hill who drained a birdie on the first hole of his round and never looked back.“That top-10 finish gave me a lot of confidence and I knew it in my heart that I would do well here in Al Ain because I have such a good history here. I just love this track.Ellis was magnanimous in defeat and praised his fellow Englishman for rewriting the record books.“All credit to Josh. He played an unbelievable round today.”Hill finished on 17-under par for his three rounds with a total of 193 at a course he clearly loves.The rising star has won the Al Ain Men’s Open for the last two years and also claimed victory in a Faldo Series event at the Al Ain Golf, Equestrian and Shooting Club.Photography credit: MENA Tour 23 Oct 2019 Hill’s historic MENA Tour win rewrites the record books