May 23, 1997
Trojans Stave Off Elimination
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - In what could be the last start ever for USC's all-time winningest pitcher, senior lefthander Randy Flores threw one of his finest games of the season and the Trojans staved off elimination, defeating Troy State, 5-2, on Friday at the NCAA South II Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Trojans, who lost on Thursday to Virginia Tech, advanced one game through the losers' bracket and will now play on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT. The opponent will depend on the rest of today's results.
Flores threw a complete game to improve to 9-5 this year and earned his 42nd career win. He allowed just seven hits and one walk while striking out eight. He improved to 7-0 lifetime in NCAA playoff competition.
USC scored three unearned runs in the top of the second inning to take an early lead. Jason Brown reached base on an error and stole second base. Jeremy Freitas hit an RBI double and Robb Gorr followed with an RBI single. After Brad Ticehurst got on base on an error, Wes Rachels' single scored Gorr.
In the top of the fourth, USC made it 4-0 when Rachels grounded out, scoring Morgan Ensberg.
Troy State -- also the Trojans -- finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on a solo home run by Fred Case.
In the top of the eighth, Morgan Ensberg led off for USC with a double and Freitas sacrificed him to third. Robb Gorr then hit a fly ball to right field that was caught, and Ensberg tagged up and narrowly scored on a play at the plate.
Troy State scored its second run in the bottom of the eighth on Kenny Krey's RBI double.
Gorr and Ensberg each had two hits for USC.
USC Coach Mike Gillespie: "For us, this game was very similar to yesterday. It was a well-pitched game by both guys. We're used to seeing this from Randy Flores. This is his fourth year with us, and he's particularly stellar in big games. What you saw from him today is what he is. He is very polished and doesn't get rattled. "I thought their pitcher was very good. He was very tough. But he got into some trouble from some defensive lapses. We were very pleased to have a guy step it up. For us it was a great win. If we didn't get that win, we would be scrambling for plane tickets. We're glad to still be fighting the battle."
USC outfielder Robb Gorr: "I'd like to compliment Dean Cordova for pitching a great game. I'm happy we put enough runs on the board to help Randy win the game. "There's always a lot of pressure in a double-elimination game when we already have one loss. We knew a little about their pitcher. We knew he would throw a lot of sliders. I think there will be more pressure tomorrow and the next day, if we make it that far."
USC pitcher Randy Flores: "I'd like to thank God for the help and the ability to play today. Our guys came through and made some great defensive plays and swung the bat when they needed to. "I felt comfortable in the pen. They are a good hitting team. After getting out of the first inning untouched, I got a little more confidence. They are a really good team. They scratched and clawed the whole time."
Score by innings: R H E ------------------------------------ USC 030 100 010 - 5 8 0 Troy State 000 010 010 - 2 7 4 ------------------------------------ Flores and Brown. Cordova and Gregoio. WP - Flores (9-5). LP - Cordova (8-6). HR - Case (2). Notables - Gorr (USC) 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored.