A look at the increasing success of the USF Baseball Program!
Over his 18 years on the Hilltop, Nino Giarratano has guided the Dons’ baseball program to unprecedented success since taking over prior to the 1999 season.
The three-time West Coast Conference Coach of the Year has led USF to two WCC championships (2006, 2011), three postseason appearances (2006, 2011, 2013) and has compiled the most wins in program history. Giarratano has had 44 players named to the All-WCC first team, including two WCC Player of the Year awards (Taggert Bozied, 1999; Scott Cousins, 2006), three WCC Defensive Players of the Year (Joey Railey, 2008; Stephen Yarrow, 2011; Nico Giarratano, 2016) and one WCC Pitcher of the Year selection (Patrick McGuigan, 2006).
Giarratano’s player development success is highlighted by the 45 Dons that have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams during his tenure; most recently, Dominic Miroglio (16th round; Rays) and Ryan Matranga (36th; Giants) in the 2016 draft. Following the 2012 season, right-handed pitcher Kyle Zimmer was selected fifth overall by the Kansas City Royals, making Zimmer the highest draft pick in USF baseball history. In 2014, Kyle’s brother, Bradley, became the fourth first-round pick under Giarratano when he was selected 21st overall by the Cleveland Indians. The other two first-rounders under Giarratano’s watch were Evan Frederickson (2008, White Sox) and Aaron Poreda (2007, White Sox).
Giarratano became the winningest coach in USF baseball history when he surpassed Hilltop legend Dante Benedetti with his 374th victory in 2009. On May 12, 2016, Giarratano earned his 500th career win as the Dons defeated BYU 6-5 in walk-off fashion at home. With that victory, Giarratano became just the third coach in WCC history (along with Rich Hill and John Cunningham) to amass at least 500 career wins at the Division I level.
Associate Head Coach / Recruiting Coordinator
Troy Nakamura is no stranger to the Hilltop and enters his 22nd season associated with USF baseball. He was promoted in the summer of 2013 to associate head coach after spending the previous 15 years as one of head coach Nino Giarratano’s assistants. Nakamura has played a critical role in the recruitment and development of student-athletes.
During his coaching career at USF, Nakamura has coached 13 All-West Coast Conference outfielders including All-Americans Taggert Bozied, Scott Cousins and Bradley Zimmer, along with Pete Lavin.
Cousins made his Major League debut in 2010 with the Florida Marlins and enjoyed a four-year MLB career with the Marlins and Los Angeles Angels. Zimmer was selected 21st overall by the Cleveland Indians in the 2014 MLB Draft. Lavin was picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 20th round after finishing in the top six in the WCC in 12 offensive categories en route to being named a 2011 ABCA Rawlings Gold Glove winner and All-West Region Second Team.
Matt Hiserman, a pitcher for the Dons from 2009-11, was named USF’s pitching coach on July 28, 2015.
He returns to the Hilltop after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Cal State-Northridge under former longtime USF assistant coach Greg Moore. In addition to his on-field responsibilities, he also assisted in recruiting and daily operations, including team travel, fundraising and community service.
Prior to his appointment at CS Northridge, Hiserman spent the 2012 season as USF’s director of baseball operations while completing his master’s degree in sports management. He also served as the pitching coach for the Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods Leaque in 2012. He spent the summer of 2011 as he associate head coach of the Fontanetti Athletics in the Far West Collegiate Baseball League, where he served as pitching and third base coach.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Aritz Garcia joined the USF baseball staff in the fall of 2015. He was a standout infielder for the Dons from 2011-2012, earning All-WCC honorable mention recognition in 2011 and taking home WCC Player of the Week honors on May 2, 2011. Garcia compiled a .280 career batting average and a .941 fielding percentage in his two seasons on the Hilltop where he earned his degree in sociology.
Prior to USF, Garcia was an all-conference performer at Colby Community College, where he hit .363 with 36 RBI and 30 stolen bases as a sophomore.
Following his collegiate career, Garcia played professionally in his native Spain and logged two years in independent ball with the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League and the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association.
Director of Operations
Elliott Waterman joined the USF baseball staff prior to the 2015 season following a three-year career on the Hilltop from 2010-2012 and professional baseball stint in the Washington Nationals’ organization.
Waterman posted an 11-5 career record with the Dons and a 2.96 ERA in 58 appearances almost exclusively out of the bullpen. In 2012, Waterman notched seven saves, tied for third-most in a single season in USF history. He also took home WCC All-Academic honors in 2012 and was named WCC Pitcher of the Week on Apr. 23, 2012 after recording saves in three consecutive games against then-No. 30 Gonzaga. His standout season earned him a 13th-round selection in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Nationals.
After two seasons in the Nationals’ organization, Waterman played independent ball with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League and the San Rafael Pacifics of the Pacific Association.A native of Walnut Creek, Calif., Waterman was a three-year letterwinner at Alhambra High School where he was also an all-league performer in water polo.