The No. 14 USC men’s volleyball team lost a close contest in four sets to No. 7 BYU Saturday.Senior outside hitter Ryan Moss has recorded 247 kills in his time at USC. He ranks second in that statistic for the Trojans. Photo by Alex Zhang | Daily TrojanAfter a strong win over Stanford last Thursday for their fourth win of the season, USC looked to continue their momentum against the visiting Cougars. However, the task would prove to be difficult against a resilient and well-balanced BYU squad. The Cougars boast an impressive resume this year with an 8-4 record, including wins over No. 8 Lewis, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 13 UC Santa Barbara. The dynamic opposite-outside hitting duo of freshman Gabi Garcia Fernandez and senior Brenden Sander led the Cougars in a game with very little room for error, as USC managed to stay within two points in every lost set. Sander recorded career-highs of 23 kills and five service aces while hitting .372. Fernandez clipped .441 with 18 kills, while senior setter Leo Durkin had a season-high 54 assists along with eight digs. Senior libero Erik Sikes contributed nine digs and two assists, and senior middle blocker Price Jarman had four blocks.For USC, the game simply slipped out of their hands. The Trojans had multiple opportunities to seal the deal and win a set, but a few service errors and clutch kills from Sander proved to be the difference. USC posted scorelines of 21-19, 17-12, 23-23 and 25-25 before falling in all but the second set. USC’s trio of junior outside hitters Jack Wyett, Ryan Moss and Gianluca Grasso once again led the team in the narrow defeat. Wyett had a balanced game with 12 kills, one ace and six digs. Moss had a team-high with 16 kills, along with one ace and one assist. Grasso contributed nine kills, three aces and five digs. USC was badly out-hit by BYU, which as a team clipped .372 compared to USC’s .321. USC’s season continues to look murkier by the day, with no apparent end to the constant losing cycles that have defined their season. With their brutal schedule, the Trojans will likely drop out of the AVCA top 15, with all eight of their losses being to ranked schools. Four of their next five games are opposing ranked teams — No. 2 UCLA, No. 11 Pepperdine, No. 10 Grand Canyon and No. 13 UC Santa Barbara. It isn’t a stretch to say that these next few games could make or break the Trojans’ year, and perhaps even head coach Jeff Nygaard’s job. Needless to say, it is imperative that Nygaard keeps morale up and lights a fire under his unit in whatever way possible before it is too late. The team will now travel to Westwood to take on the No. 2 UCLA Bruins in an MPSF match scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Angels and Dodgers are now both confirmed to be set for face-to-face meetings with Shohei Ohtani this week in Southern California, the next step in the pursuit of the Japanese superstar.The Padres, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs round out the final seven, with the other 23 teams eliminated.Ohtani, 23, is expected to meet with representatives of the seven teams this week, likely with visits to their cities coming later in the process. He has to make a decision by Dec. 22.As the baseball world watches the situation unfold, here are answers to some of your most popular questions: HOW MUCH MONEY CAN TEAMS OFFER?Because Ohtani falls under baseball’s international signing limits, his potential bonus is a relatively insignificant sum. The Rangers can offer the most, $3.535 million, followed by the Mariners ($1.55 million) and Angels ($1.315 million). The Dodgers, Padres, Cubs and Giants are all limited to $300,000, a penalty for exceeding their pool in recent years. The up-front cost to whichever team signs Ohtani will be his bonus plus a $20 million posting fee to the Nippon Ham Fighters.WHAT ABOUT OHTANI’S SALARY IN 2018 AND BEYOND?Ohtani has to be signed to a minor league deal. When he’s initially added to the 40-man roster next season, he’ll make the major league minimum of $545,000. He’ll have three years in which he can be optioned, just like any other rookie. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after his third season, at the earliest, and for free agency until after his sixth. If he performs as expected in his first year, it’s likely his team will offer him some sort of multi-year deal long before he’s eligible for free agency. That could be anything from a five-year deal taking him through arbitration to a 10-year, $200-million deal going into free agency. Teams are strictly prohibited from making any sort of promises to him about future payments during the period before he signs, though.IS HE REALLY A GREAT PITCHER AND A GREAT HITTER?The industry seems to value him primarily as a pitcher. He is a right-hander who throws 100 mph. In parts of five seasons in Japan’s major leagues, he has a 2.52 ERA with 624 strikeouts in 543 innings. The 200 walks might be an issue, though.A left-handed hitter, he’s hit .286 with an .859 OPS and 48 homers in 1,170 plate appearances. There is some skepticism that he can hit at an impact level in the majors.HOW DID HE SPLIT THE ROLES IN JAPAN?He didn’t hit on the days that he pitched, or the days immediately before or after. That limited his plate appearances to a maximum of 382 in a season. He averaged a little more than 200 plate appearances per season. He also got all of his at-bats in the past three years as a designated hitter or pinch hitter. He has played only 62 games in the outfield in five years, none since 2014. He has not played any other positions in games in Japan. SO HOW DOES THAT WORK IN THE MAJORS?Obviously, the three American League teams would most likely use Ohtani in the same way, DH-ing him on two or three days a week, when he’s not pitching. In the Angels’ case, General Manager Billy Eppler has said Albert Pujols is expected to be healthy enough to play more first base in 2018, which would open some DH opportunities for Ohtani.In the National League, he’ll obviously get to hit on the days he pitches – again, something he preferred not to do in Japan – but it will be complicated to get him regular at-bats otherwise. Considering how infrequently he played the field in Japan, it would seem to be a lot to ask for him to adjust to that, while adjusting to everything else, in the majors. It would also increase his risk of injury.The advantage for National League teams, however, is he’s guaranteed to get some at-bats when he pitches, whereas an AL team could just give up on him hitting if it doesn’t work out initially.