Baseball narrowly misses road sweep against Cal

first_imgThe Trojans claimed two road victories in their weekend series against Cal to improve their overall record to 7-11 on the season. Prior to its series against the Golden Bears, USC had lost four of its last five games. The Trojans fell behind 6-1 in the sixth inning, as the Golden Bears scored 4 runs in the frame. While USC followed up in the seventh by scoring 3 runs of its own, the Golden Bears countered by scoring 3 more runs in the bottom of the seventh to make the scoreline 9-4 and seemingly put the game out of reach. This was the first weekend series against a Pac-12 opponent for the Trojans. The Pac-12 is recognized as one of the toughest conferences in college baseball, so it was important for the Trojans to start off Pac-12 play in a positive fashion. The Trojans kicked off the series with a 9-4 victory over the Golden Bears on Friday. “We haven’t started off the way we wanted to, not too hot,” O’Guinn said in an interview on Twitter after the game. “When we’ve been up, we haven’t been able to keep the leads and stuff. So tonight was a good … [way] to show how good our offense really is.” But the Trojans would not allow the Golden Bears anymore runs in the game. In the top of the sixth inning, redshirt junior catcher CJ Stubbs tied the game up at 4 runs apiece with a solo home run to left field. Shortly after, in the eighth inning, sophomore right fielder Jamal O’Guinn hit a 2-run home run, bringing the score up to 6-4. USC went on to pick up 3 more runs in the ninth inning to finish the game 9-4. In its next game, USC will host Long Beach State Tuesday. On paper, this game looks to be one that the Trojans should win; the Dirtbags hold a dismal 3-15 record on the year. In recent years, however, Long Beach State has been a tough opponent for the Trojans. The two teams split their two series last year, with each team winning on the road. Sophomore pitcher Isaac Esqueda pitched six scoreless innings against Cal Saturday, helping USC earn a 1-0 victory. (Michelle Mankoff/Daily Trojan) They were first to put runs on the board, scoring 3 unearned runs in the top of the third inning. However, the Golden Bears retaliated right away with 4 runs in the bottom of the third.center_img The Trojans scored 4 runs in the ninth inning. O’Guinn started the rally by connecting on another home run in the series, and the Trojans batted through the lineup, forcing Cal to change pitchers. However, it proved to be too little, too late for the Trojans, and the Golden Bears took the game on a flyout in O’Guinn’s second at-bat of the inning. The Trojans lost 9-8 in the final game of the series Sunday despite a late comeback in the ninth inning. In his first start of the season, junior pitcher Connor Lunn claimed the victory in Friday’s series opener. Typically, Lunn is used in relief to finish games off, but head coach Dan Hubbs opted to change his role for this game. In his seven innings on the mound, Lunn struck out six batters and allowed 4 runs. USC is now four games below .500 on the year, and the competition will only get tougher as they prepare to face multiple Pac-12 opponents in the coming weeks. “I thought Isaac was really the story of the game,” Hubbs said. “He just pitched with a lot of heart and got them to hit with some poor contact. I thought we made some more plays behind him. I just can’t say enough of what he did.” In the third inning, the Trojans scored their only run of the game after junior left fielder Blake Sabol hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score sophomore third baseman Ben Ramirez. The Trojans were able to win the second game of the series despite only scoring 1 run. Sophomore pitcher Isaac Esqueda emerged as the X-factor in Saturday’s game, pitching six scoreless innings to make up for the gap in the team’s offense. After their game against Long Beach State, the Trojans will prepare for another Pac-12 matchup on the road with a trip to Washington over the weekend looming.last_img

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