USD third baseman Victor Sanchez reinjured his shoulder in Tuesday's game at UC Riverside, putting his season in doubt.
The injury forced Sanchez off the 25-man roster for this weekend's West Coast Conference series at Santa Clara, meaning the Toreros would be without their biggest bat.
Somehow, they made do.
USD scored 22 runs in Saturday's 22-10 victory over the Broncos and repeated the feat today in a 22-7 win that completed a three-game sweep (the Toreros won Friday's opener 9-4). First-place USD should expect to be back in the Baseball America Top 25 when new rankings are released on Monday.
Shortstop Sean Nicol homered twice and Nick McCoy and Mike Lugo also homered for the Toreros, who had 23 hits in the game.
USD is now 22-11 on the season and 6-0 in the WCC, putting the Toreros in complete control of their destiny the remainder of the season. The next five weeks of conference play look like this: at Gonzaga, at Saint Mary's, host Portland, at Loyola Marymount, host USF. Nicol went 3-for-7 with 5 RBI. Lugo and Jon Hotta each had 4 RBI. Zach Walters led the way with five of USD's 23 hits.
The Toreros collected 22 hits in Saturday's win. Right fielder James Meador led the team with four hits in that one. Hotta, McCoy and Chris Engell each had three RBI.
Steven Chatwood and Tony Strazzara replaced Sanchez at third base during the season, going a combined 6-for-18 with 5 RBI and 5 runs scored.
The Toreros are batting .322 as a team, led by Meador (.392) and Walters (.391).
A.J. Griffin (5-1) picked up Sunday's win, allowing one run on three hits over five innings. Matt Thomson (5-0) was Saturday's winner, remaining unbeaten on the season. Thomson has been outstanding this season, but it didn't look like it was his day. He allowed eight runs on six hits in the second inning (10 runs in seven innings overall) as the Toreros fell behind 8-5 before going all '27 Yankees on Santa Clare.
It remains to be seen how badly Sanchez's shoulder is injuted. It is the second straight season the sophomore from Norwalk has been so bothered. Sanchez was having a monster freshman season last year when he injured his shoulder on a swing at the plate midway through the season. Sanchez was never the same when he returned from a week of rest. He had 11 homers when he was hurt. He finished the season with 12 (which still led the team).
USD will remain in Northern California for a game Tuesday at Stanford before heading to Spokane, Wash., for the series against Gonzaga. The Bulldogs (20-8, 4-2 WCC) took two of three this weekend from Pepperdine (17-13, 1-5), which has seen its season unravel the past two weeks. The Waves, preseason favorites to win the WCC, were swept by USD in the opening weekend of conference play.
LMU (19-14, 5-1) is in second place after taking two of three from Portland.