Four Homers Propel USC To 9-3 Victory At FIU
MIAMI - Sophomore Hector Rabago (Riverside/Poly HS), filling in for injured shortstop Grant Green, went 3-for-4 with two home runs and a triple Saturday as the USC Trojans defeated the Florida International Golden Panthers, 9-3. USC improved to 2-0 on the season after hitting four solo home runs in the game for a total of seven in two games after the Trojans hit just 25 home runs all of last season.
Green's streak of 57 games as the Trojans' starting shortstop was snapped after a strained back muscle knocked him out of last night's game and is day-to-day.
Junior right-hander Ryan Cook (Clovis/Clovis HS) threw six solid innings, allowing only three runs (two earned) on eight hits in his first start of the season. Anthony Vasquez, Kevin Couture and Robert Stock combined with three scoreless innings to close out the game.
USC scored in each of the first four innings to take a 5-0 lead. Junior center fielder Nick Buss, who had three hits for the second straight night, led off the game with a single and later scored on freshman Joe De Pinto's RBI double. Rabago and Will Rice hit solo homers in the second. Roberto Lopez scored on a wild pitch by Corey Polizzano in the third and Buss' RBI single plated Vasquez in the fourth.
Tyler Townsend put the Golden Panthers on the board in the fourth with a two-run homer to right as FIU trailed 5-2. In the FIU sixth, Townsend walked and errors by Rabago and De Pinto on a double-play ball put runners at first and second with no outs. Jorge Castillo then hit a laser shot to USC first baseman Mike Roskopf, who fired a strike to second for the double play. Javier Sujo scored Corey Lozano with an RBI single, followed by another single from Kevin Mirabal before Cook retired pinch hitter Anthony Boza on a fly out.
FIU would knock Cook out in the seventh on Lozano's single. Vasquez came in from right field to pitch to Ryan Mollican and hit him on the first pitch for runners again at first and second with no outs. Raimy Fuentes then hit a line drive off Vasquez's glove that bounced right to Rabago, who then turned a key 6-4-3 double play. Vasquez then got Townsend to fly out, ending the threat.
USC promptly added two runs in the top of the eighth on solo shots by Stock and Rabago. Stock later entered the game as a pitcher, retiring the side in order with back-to-back strikeouts.
The series concludes tomorrow at 1 p.m. Eastern (10 a.m. Pacific). The game will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with live stats and video webcast at fiusports.com.
Notes: USC is 7-0 all-time against FIU...Hector Rabago's two home runs equals his entire season total from last year...Hector Rabago and Nick Buss have six hits each so far this weekend...
USC 121-100-022---9-13-3 FIU 000-201-000---3-9-2