Links and notes from a busy day in the land of Troy:
USC baseball swept its two-game series against New Mexico State with a 5-3 win Wednesday. The Trojans needed just two pitchers — right-hander Brandon Garcia and left-hander Brad Douthit — to limit the visiting Aggies to just three runs, while outfielder Matt Foat had a key RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to give USC the lead. The Trojans are now 25-28 on the season but still 5-16 in the Pac-10 conference, four games behind the ninth-place team, Washington. USC is already on its way to Pullman, Wash. for a three-game state with Washington State that begins Wednesday.
Running back/defensive back De'Anthony Thomas (Los Angeles, Calif./Crenshaw) has orally committed to USC, according to USCFootball.com and Thomas' Facebook page. Thomas, still a junior in high school, led Crenshaw to the CIF Open Division Championship Game in 2009 while totaling 81 carries for 902 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense and 52 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions on defense. Out of Crenshaw, his commitment follows that of fellow Cougars linebacker Hayes Pullard, who is set to enroll at USC in June in the class of 2010. Thomas joins recent commit Victor Blackwell (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) in the class of 2011, giving five commits from the ESPNU 150.
In more football news, two USC players earned Phil Steele Preseason All-American honors Wednesday. Senior center Kristofer O'Dowd was named to the first team and junior defensive tackle Jurrell Casey was named to the second team. At the conference level, right guard Butch Lewis and receiver Ronald Johnson joined O'Dowd and Casey on the first team. Linebackers Chris Galippo and Michael Morgan earned second-team conference honors, as did right tackle Tyron Smith. Third-team award-winners were quarterback Matt Barkley, running back Allen Bradford, defensive end Nick Perry, linebacker Malcolm Smith and cornerback T.J. Bryant, and linebacker Devon Kennard and fullback Stanley Havili made the fourth team, along with Johnson as a kick returner. Curiously, Bryant, currently in a competition with Torin Harris and Brian Baucham to start alongside senior cornerback Shareece Wright, earned honors from Steele while Wright did not. USC also had four linebackers honored while only three can play at one time in the fall.
The salary confusion regarding USC football coach Lane Kiffin continues. HBO's Real Sports reported Tuesday that Kiffin makes just under $4 million, but our Bruce Feldman reports that figure to be erroneous and characterizes Kiffin's salary as "nowhere near" $4 million.
Switching gears to golf, the USC women currently lead the nation at the NCAA Championships being held in Wilmington, N.C. Led by sophomore wunderkind Jennifer Song, the Women of Troy sit seven strokes ahead of second-place Alabama. Song's just one stroke behind Arizona State freshman Jennifer Johnson in the individual competition. ""We are very focused," Song told USC's official site. "We are basically thinking about the present, what is in front of us. There is no doubt that each one of us is giving 150% out there."
And, lastly, here's an informative piece from our Andy Katz on USC basketball coach Kevin O'Neill's expectations for the 2010 season.