Trojans Bust Out Early, Hold On for 8-7 Victory Over Arizona State on Sunday|
April 6, 2014
TEMPE, ARIZ. - USC baseball jumped all over Arizona State early, scoring two runs apiece in each of the first three innings and held on against the surging Sun Devils over the final few frames to take the 8-7 victory on Sunday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
For the second-straight game the Trojans hit total was in double figures, as they tallied their eight runs on 15 hits. Six different Trojans had multi-hit outings, and Dante Flores (Norwalk, Calif./St. John Bosco HS) led the way with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, driving in two of the Trojans runs.
The Trojans got to Sun Devil starter Darin Gillies early, busting out for six runs on nine hits through the first three innings to take an early lead and never looked back.
In the top of the first with one out the Trojans mounted their early rally, as the next four hitters reached base. Catcher Jeremy Martinez (Fountain Valley, Calif./Mater Dei HS) and Flores drove in the Trojans two runs in the inning.
In the bottom half of the first however, the Sun Devils got on wild Trojan starter Nigel Nootbaar (El Segundo, Calif./El Segundo HS), who only recorded one out, walked three and had three wild pitches. Three of his runners came around to score in the inning as the Trojans were down momentarily, 3-2.
The Trojans answered again in the top of the second inning, plating three more runs after Blake Lacey (Clovis, Calif./Clovis HS) led off the inning with a walk and then with one out Omar Cotto Lozada (San Juan, Puerto Rico/The Bonneville School) tripled to center field to even the score, 3-3. Kevin Swick (La Canada, Calif./Loyola HS) doubled to put the Trojans up, 4-2.
Sophomore righty Brooks Kriske (Palm Desert, Calif./Palm Desert HS) entered in relief in the first inning, and after hitting the first batter he faced and then allowing a two-RBI single, Kriske locked in and was impressive, retiring 15 of the next 19 Sun Devils he faced, only allowing one hit through his final five innings of work to earn the win.
The Trojans added two more runs to in the top of the third, taking advantage of Gillies' wild pitches to put runners on second and third with two outs for Garrett Stubbs (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) to come through with a big two RBI single that ended Gillies' day.
The 6-3 lead held until the Trojans added on with two more in the fifth off Sun Devil reliever Seth Martinez. With two outs and one on, Martinez came through with a big double to left center. Flores then added his third RBI of the day on a single through the right side to push the Trojans lead to 8-3.
The Sun Devils came through with some fight in the late innings, scoring three in the seventh inning on a bases clearing double from pinch hitter RJ Ybarra.
The Sun Devils made things even closer in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Dalton DiNatale deposited the first pitch of the inning over the right field wall to pull the Sun Devils within one.
Kyle Davis (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica HS) entered and shut down the Sun Devils for a two-inning save. The game tying run was on first in the bottom of the ninth on a throwing error by the Trojan shortstop, but Davis locked in to record the final two outs and his third save of the year.
The win snaps a 13-game losing streak in Tempe, as the Trojans haven't won at Packard Stadium since 2006. It also snaps a losing streak in the state of Arizona, as they hadn't won a game in the state since 2009.
The Trojans remain on the road on Tuesday, playing at Pepperdine. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Eddy D. Field Stadium.