USC Completes Series Sweep In 12-7 Decision At Florida International
Feb. 24, 2008
MIAMI -- Junior center fielder Nick Buss (Clinton Township, Mich./San Diego Mesa CC) hit a three-run homer as part of a six-run eighth inning as the USC Trojans rallied from a four-run deficit to earn the series sweep against the Florida International Golden Panthers with the 12-7 win on Sunday. USC completed its first three-game sweep since last season's sweep at Georgia (March 2-4).
Freshman right-hander Chris McCaffery (Hillsborough/St. Ignatius HS) came out of the bullpen and threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings in his collegiate debut to earn the win for the Trojans.
Buss finished with a 2-for-6 day with four RBI and an 8-for-15 performance (.533) on the weekend with two home runs and seven RBI. Senior designated hitter Mike Roskopf (Prescott, Ariz./North Carolina State) went 3-for-5 with a two-run single and two doubles while senior first baseman Derek Perren (Chatsworth/L.A. Pierce College) was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
FIU (0-3) took the lead in the series for the first time with a four-run third inning. After Perren's error on a sacrifice attempt put runners at the corners, USC starter Tommy Milone loaded the bases after hitting Jordan Karcher with a 1-1 pitch. Raimy Fuentes and Tyler Townsend then hit back-to-back two-run doubles for the lead. FIU starter Steven Stewart, who did not play after being sidelined with an injury last year, kept the Trojans off the scoreboard with five innings of one-hit ball until the sixth.
Perren scored the Trojans' first run with an RBI single, followed by Roskopf's single to right on a 2-2 count with two outs. FIU answered with three in the bottom half of the sixth after the Golden Panthers knocked out Milone with two singles and a double from Townsend. McCaffery entered the game and balked home a run, but induced a double play from Jorge Castillo that scored the final run of the inning.
The Trojans made it a one-run deficit again in the seventh. Rabago led off by being hit by the pitch, moving to second on a walk to freshman second baseman Joe De Pinto. Buss singled home Rabago and back-to-back RBI groundouts from Mike O'Neill and Perren made it a 7-6 advantage.
After McCaffery added two more strikeouts in the seventh (four total), the Trojans took the lead for good. Roskopf led off with a double with Anthony Vasquez and Rabago scoring the go-ahead runs with back-to-back RBI doubles. De Pinto reached safely on an error by third baseman Corey Lozano before Buss blasted his second homer of the season.
USC completes its season-opening five-game road trip this week with nonconference games at San Diego State on Tuesday (Feb. 26) and UC Irvine on Wednesday (Feb. 27). Both games will start at 6 p.m. with live audio broadcasts on usctrojans.com.
Notes: USC is 8-0 all-time against FIU...this was the first time that the Trojans faced the Golden Panthers in Miami...USC opened the 1981 season at the University of Miami as the Trojans were swept by the Hurricanes, the second time in program history that the season started in the state of Florida...USC recorded eight home runs this weekend after the Trojans recorded only 25 all of last season...Trojan shortstop Grant Green did not play today and is still listed as day-to-day...freshmen pitchers Chris McCaffery, Danny Beck and Ryan Cabral made their collegiate debuts today...this is the fifth time since 1998 that USC has opened the season with at least three wins (the previous four times have all been during years that the team made the NCAA Tournament: 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2005 with three of those teams reaching the College World Series)...Hector Rabago, who made his first two collegiate starts at shortstop, batted .636 this weekend (7-for-11) with seven runs scored, two doubles, a triple, two home runs and four RBI...USC scored double-digit runs twice this weekend after only scoring double digits five times last season...the Trojans batted .342 for the weekend with 10 doubles, eight home runs and eight stolen bases.
USC 000-003-360---12-11-1 FIU 004-003-000---7-8-1