Stephen Tarpley had nine strikeouts in his USC debut.
Feb. 19, 2012
Freshman lefty Stephen Tarpley was impressive allowing only two runs on five hits and striking out nine batters as the USC baseball team completed the series sweep against Jacksonville with a 4-3 win at Dedeaux Field Sunday afternoon. The Trojans start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2008.
"Getting the sweep to start the season is nice and we'll sure take it," said head coach Frank Cruz. "We got a really strong outing from Tarpley and some big hits from Brandon Garcia and Kevin Swick today. We need to build on this momentum going forward and carry it into the week's ahead."
The spirit of Troy was in the air from the beginning as 103 year-old Herbert V. Nootbaar, a long-time USC supporter, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his great-grandson Nigel Nootbaar, a freshman pitcher for the Trojans.
Head coach Frank Cruz, Herbert V. Nootbaar and Nigel Nootbaar (20).
Garrett Stubbs got the start behind the plate playing his fourth position (LF, CF, 3B, C) of the series and forming an unusual all-freshman battery with Tarpley on the mound. Stubbs went 2-for-3 with a walk to pick up his second multi-hit game of the series.
Tarpley wasted no time getting down to business as he fanned JU's Taylor Ratliff and highly touted slugger Adam Brett Walker in the first inning. He struck out Walker again in the sixth before departing with the game tied 1-1 and taking the no-decision.
Freshman Wyatt Strahan (1-0) picked up the win after striking out two in 1.1 scoreless innings of work. Senior Martin Viramontes then struck out two in the ninth to notch the save in his first appearance as a Trojan.
The Dolphins took a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh on a sac-fly RBI from left fielder Jonathan Murphy but the Trojans rebounded quickly.
USC once again received clutch hitting from co-captain and designated hitter Brandon Garcia who belted his second home run of the season on a first pitch offering from Jacksonville starter Alex McRae to tie the game at 3-3.
Facing reliever Jeff Tanner (0-1), sophomore Kevin Swick delivered the game-winning RBI in the eighth inning with a drive off the right field wall to score Garcia from third.
The Trojans return to action Tuesday as they travel to Long Beach State for a 6:30 p.m. contest at Blair Field. Garcia heads to the mound to face Dirtbags lefty Nick Sabo. USC returns to Dedeaux Field Friday as they host Akron for a three-game series.