Wright and The Boys Are Gearing Up For Their Shot At The CCAA Crowncsudhbulletin February 8, 2023 0 COMMENTS
Scott Ogrin celebrates with his teammates after hitting a home run in the CCAA tournament Credit: Jason Halley, Chico State
By Raymond Castillo Sports Editor
It is often cliche to say a team has improved from one year to the next and is ready to compete every day. Of course they are, that is why they practice so hard every day. But in the case of head coach Tyler Wright and the California State University, Dominguez Hills baseball team; this is different.
The Toros are coming off a trip to the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament championship game that saw them fall short of the title. That is something Wright focused on during the offseason. “We brought in a lot of guys,” Wright said. “They have come in, competed, and have been good additions to the culture. We’re excited about them.”
A lot of the players brought in have been to address the issues of the bullpen, which struggled at times last year for the Toros. Wright and his staff have poured their resources into finding a solution.
“We have a lot of depth,” Wright said. “We’re hoping those guys step up in the first two, three weeks to prove that they can fill the holes at the front end of a rotation.”
The Toros will carry a stacked roster of 35 active players (18 pitchers) for game day plus seven players listed as redshirts.
Players to look out for:
- Scott Ogrin- The shortstop for last year’s team will serve in more of a utility role for the Toros as he looks to build off his record-setting 2022 campaign. The “quiet leader” slugged his way to a .324 average, 24 home runs (CSUDH single-season record), and 63 RBI. It will be tough to repeat last year winning seven awards (ABCA Second-Team All-American, NCBWA All-America Honorable Mention, First-Team All-CCAA, CCAA Championship Co-MVP, CCAA Championship All-Tournament Team, CSUDH Male Athlete of the Year, and NCBWA West Region Player of the Week) but if Ogrin can produce something similar, then the Toros will be in good shape.
- Eric Smelko- The centerfielder of the team and leadoff hitter does way more than just hit and play the field. Smelko’s infectious positivity for life and love for the game rubs off on his teammates and coaching staff. Not to mention his ridiculous .357 batting average and insanely low strikeout percentage of less than 8% (18 strikeouts in 230 at-bats). The 2022 First-Team All-CCAA member and CCAA Newcomer of the year and has a year in Carson under his belt and looks to improve his numbers as an individual but more importantly as a team in wins.
- Anthony Accordino- The now full-time first baseman for the Toros is taking over for Pierson Loska in which he split time with last year. Accordino batted .287 and surprised some with his power as he mashed eight home runs. A good offseason for Accordino has some expecting a breakout year for the senior.
Overall, the Toros are poised to make some noise this season. They have significantly improved season after season since the arrival of coach Wright, and this season is no different. According to the 2023 CCAA coaches poll, CSUDH is expected to finish fourth. That would mean exactly what Coach Wright expects of the team, competing day in and day out, while also giving themselves a chance to make an impact.
The Toros officially began their preseason schedule as they faced Azusa Pacific University yesterday, in Azusa. They will be home Feb. 9, to open their home schedule against Concordia University Irvine, and Friday, Mar. 3, to open their conference schedule against California State University, Los Angeles.