Trojans Unable to Hold Off Runners, Drop 9-4 Contest at CSU Bakersfield
Feb. 16, 2013
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - USC got off to a strong start, getting a 3-0 lead in the top of the third, but the Trojans were unable to hold off the plate-disciplined Runners, falling victim to inconsistent pitching, 9-4 at Hardt Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Redshirt senior outfielder Greg Zebrack (Northridge, Calif./Campbell Hall/UPenn) led the Trojans at the plate, blasting a two-run home run to deep center field and adding an RBI double. First baseman Dante Flores (Norwalk, Calif./St. John Bosco HS) also drove in a run with an RBI single in the game. On the mound, Trojan starter Wyatt Strahan (Villa Park, Calif./Villa Park HS) had a strong outing in his first career start, going 5.0 innings, allowing only three runs (two earned) on four hits. The sophomore also tallied four strikeouts in his no-decision.
Freshman Shane Gonzales (Temecula, Calif./Great Oak HS) saw his first collegiate action, and despite looking strong in 1.2 innings of work, he took the loss, with two earned runs and one hit allowed.
The Trojans got on the board first in the top of the third, with Adam Landecker (Calabasas, Calif./Calabasas HS) doubling down the left field line to start off the inning. Shortstop James Roberts (Cupertino ,Calif./Archbishop Mitty) laid down a nice sacrifice bunt to advance Landecker to third. Flores delivered the RBI single to left center to give the Trojans the 1-0 lead. With two outs, Zebrack came to the plate and pummeled the pitch from Runner starter Scott Brattvet to deep center field, scoring Flores and putting the Trojans up, 3-0.
However, the Runners countered with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, taking a advantage of an RBI double from Omar Sanay, a Trojan error and a fielder's choice as they tied things up, 3-3.
With two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the seventh, Gonzales' outing was done for Troy, as freshman Kyle Davis (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica HS), making his collegiate debut. Davis quickly got into trouble, however, having trouble finding the strike zone, walking two and in the process walking in a run. Senior righthander Matt Munson (Irvine, Calif./Northwood HS/Saddleback College) entered in relief of Davis, but he too had trouble finding the zone, and walked in the second run of the inning, before striking out Garrett Pierce to end the inning.
The Trojans cut into the lead in the top of the eighth with an RBI double from Zebrack that scored Flores off Runners' reliever Taylor Aikenhead that put the score at 5-4, CSU Bakersfield.
In the bottom of the eighth, however, the Runners put the game away by stringing together a couple hits and taking advantage of a hit-by-pitch, they were able to have the bases loaded for their start, Cael Brockmeyer. Brockmeyer delivered a bases clearing triple to left field to put CSU Bakersfield up, 8-4. They tacked one more run to put the score at 9-4, before freshman lefty Sean Adler (Chatsworth, Calif./Sierra Canyon) entered to finish off the inning in his collegiate debut.
A couple more young Trojans saw their first collegiate action in the top of the ninth, as true freshmen Blake Lacey (Clovis, Calif./Clovis HS) and AJ Ramirez (Bakersfield, Calif./Bakersfield Christian HS) and redshirt freshman Bobby Stahel (Needles, Calif./Palos Verdes HS) got at-bats. Ramirez collected his first collegiate hit, a single up the right side, but the Trojans were unable to tack any more runs on.
With the loss, USC falls to 0-2, while CSU Bakersfield advances to 2-0.
The Trojans head home to Dedeaux Field, where they will host Nebraska in their home opener on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT.