Trojans Down Dirtbags On The Road 4-2|
Feb. 22, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Senior co-captain Brandon Garcia continued to fuel the Trojans winning ways as he allowed only two runs on 5 hits in 5.2 innings on the way to USC's 4-2 victory over Long Beach State Tuesday night at Blair Field.
After hitting .427 (3-for-7) with two home runs and four RBI in last weekend's sweep of Jacksonville, Garcia (1-0) transitioned to the mound seamlessly to give the Trojans a solid mid-week start against a tough Dirtbags (2-2) squad. With only one earned run and one walk as blemishes on the scorecard, he was effective in spotting pitches and showed impressive control in his first start of the season.
"When he's on, he has some of the best stuff on the team," said head coach Frank Cruz. "We are really pleased with the 4-0 start and Brandon has a lot to do with it."
USC moves to 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 2005 when they reached the NCAA Super Regional's falling one win shy of the College World Series.
On offense, freshman Garrett Stubbs picked up another multi-hit game to raise his average to a team-leading .438 (7-for-16) while getting the start in left field. Senior co-captain Garret Houts, senior Matt Foat and sophomore Jake Hernandez also added multi-hit performances for the Trojans.
In the second inning senior Alex Sherrod reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a throwing error by Dirtbag's shortstop Matt Duffy. He scored as Hernandez followed with a sharp single to right to get the Trojans on the board.
Long Beach rebounded with two runs in the bottom of the frame on a balk and an RBI single by Royce Murai to take a 2-1 lead.
Senior Kevin Roundtree delivered an RBI single off Long Beach starter Nick Sabo (0-1) in the third to plate Houts and tie the game at 2-2.
USC took a 3-2 lead in the fourth as Sherrod scored on a grounder from sophomore James Roberts.
With a runner on third in the fifth, Garcia worked his way out of a jam as he caught Michael Hill swinging on an off-speed pitch to end the inning and preserve the lead.
The Trojans would add an insurance run in the seventh when Foat crushed a ground rule double to center and scored after back-to-back wild pitches from reliever Jake Stassi to extend the lead to 4-2.
The Dirtbags threatened in the bottom of the inning with a runner on second only to be denied as a hard liner by Jeff McNeil was snatched by a leaping Roberts at shortstop.
Freshman Wyatt Strahan picked up the save (1) throwing two inning of scoreless relief and struck out pinch hitter Scott Mitchell to end the game.
USC returns to action Friday at 6 p.m. as they begin a three-game home series with Akron at Dedeaux Field.