Impressive Start from Nootbaar Not Enough, as Trojans Fall 5-1 at Fresno State
March 2, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. - Despite a sterling start from right-hander Nigel Nootbaar and his 12 strikeouts, Fresno State was able to capitalize on USC's mistakes, as the Trojans falls 5-1 in game two of the series at Beiden Field on Saturday evening.
Nootbaar (El Segundo, Calif./El Segundo HS) had a career-high 12 strikeouts, marking the most by any Trojan since Andrew Triggs had 13 in 2011. The sophomore struck out evey single one of the Bulldog hitters at least once on the night. However, through six innings of work, Nootbaar allowed five runs, only three earned on five hits and one walk. That walk, a hit-by-pitch, wild pitches and defensive mistakes cost the Trojans early, and had them playing catch-up from the bottom of the first inning on. Although the Trojans outhit the Bulldogs, 7-6, they had a tough time stringing together hits, as Bulldog starter Derick Velazquez turned in a complete game. Shortstop James Roberts (Cupertino, Calif./Archbishop Mitty HS) was the only Trojans to have two hits on the day, going 2-for-4.
Nootbaar was impressive, however, and after hitting the leadoff batter Louie Payetta in the first inning, who came around to score as he got into scoring position on a wild pitch and was doubled in by Trent Garrison, the sophomore settled in, striking out three of the next six until walking Jordan Luplow in the bottom of the third. From there however, Luplow was able to make his way around the bases, stealing second, advancing to third on a ground out and scoring on a wild pitch to make it, 2-0. Nootbaar struck out the next batter to end the inning, struck out the side in bottom of the fourth, and struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the fourth.
Overall he retired 11-straight batters from the third with one out to the bottom of the seventh, where he got himself into some trouble, allowing a leadoff single and the bases were shortly loaded, with no outs. After allowing a RBI single to Chris Mariscal, Nootbar's day as over in favor of freshman righty Shane Gonzales (Temecula, Calif./Great Oak HS), who got an out on a sacrifice fly, but the third run of the inning on a sacrifice groundout to put the Trojans down, 5-0 headed into the eighth.
The Trojans showed fight in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with one out. Freshman center fielder Turner Clouse (Fountain Valley, Calif./Fountain Valley HS) drew a bases loaded walk for the only RBI of the day as USC put a run on the board and took away Bulldog starter Derick Velazquez's shutout. Velasquez settled in, and was able to finish his complete game without allowing the Trojans another run.
The Trojans and Bulldogs will meet for the rubber match of the series tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Beiden Field.