USC had a decent weekend on the diamond, winning two of its three games and dropping its Sunday game against crosstown rivals UCLA.
However, the Trojans got their revenge on Saturday with their 13-8 win over Tulane, who beat USC in football in the Cotton Bowl Classic earlier this year. In a flurry of hits, walks and runs, a crammed crowd watched as the USC baseball team defeated the Green Wave.
The Trojans recorded 13 hits in an offensive shootout that gave USC a winning record for the first time since February 25. Senior designated hitter Nick Lopez and senior catcher Connor Clift led the team with 3 hits each.
Head coach Andy Stankiewicz attributed the team’s success behind the plate to their ability to hit the ball in the middle of the field.
“Then we’re best if we stay in midfield,” said Stankiewicz. “The guys did a good job just booking them over the rhombus so we put together a couple of good swings.”
It was Clift who got the first run for the Trojans by hitting a single in the bottom of the 2nd inning that allowed senior infielder Johnny Olmstead to put the Trojans on the board.
This came after a disastrous 2nd inning spike in which junior starting pitcher Jaden Agassi took a walk, scored 4 hits and committed a field error while trying to knock out a Tulane player who was trying to close a base steal.
“[Agassi] is an important part of our program. We’re just trying to help him get through those tough innings,” Stankiewicz said. “We need him to go deeper, we need all of our starters to go into the 6th inning. So we’re just trying to encourage him to … just stay in the moment, pitch more than anything else.”
Agassi dropped a home run at the top of 3rd but quickly pulled back the three following batters and set up an explosive inning for the Trojan offensive. USC hit 7 runs from 4 hits, with midfield freshman Austin Overn and redshirt infield freshman Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek stealing bases.
Overn showed his stamina when he was hit by a ball that hit his bat in the 8th inning. He stepped back from the plate and a sports trainer came over to look at him. Overn made it clear he was fine, hitting a three on the next pitch to bring home the final run of the Trojan’s 13-8 win.
“He’s a tough kid. He’s got a certain mentality, he’s got some skills and he can certainly run as well as anyone,” said Stankiewicz. “If he gets to the base, that’s a threat for sure.”
USC’s luck ran out on Sunday, however, and they lost 5-3 to UCLA. After a slow first 8 innings for the Trojans, whose offensive efforts resulted in a single run despite some on-base successes, a 2-run homer from junior pitcher/infielder Nate Clow brought life back to the USC dugout at the top of the 9th. place inning.
Senior outfielder Cole Gabrielson and junior infielder Ryan Jackson both had base hits after Clow’s homer, but Lopez hit a pop fly that killed the Trojans’ chance of a comeback.
Redshirt freshman pitcher Eric Hammond got the start and was credited with the loss after giving up 4 hits and 3 earned runs.
The Trojans meet the University of Nevada at Dedeaux Field on Wednesday. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m