Lions Top Trojans 8-5
April 11, 2012
The USC baseball team lost 8-5 to Loyola Marymount in a 12 inning, four-hour, forty-one minute marathon of a game that saw a combined 17 pitchers take the mound. The Trojans fall to 19-11 on the season while the Lions improve to 14-14.
After throwing three hitless innings in his first start as a Trojan, Nigel Nootbaar returned for the fourth and struck out the first two batters before Cullen Mahoney singled to right to break up the perfect game. Scott Harkin then doubled through the left side to give the Lions two runners in scoring position as James Guillen came on in relief for Nootbaar. Guillen's first and only hitter, Colton Plaia cleared the bases with a single to left to tie the game 2-2.
Stephen Tarpley came on to finish the inning and then proceeded to strike out the side in the fifth.
LMU took the lead in the seventh when Tanner Donnels singled past a diving Adam Landecker at short to score Kyle Raubinger. Hernandez then attempted to throw out Donnels at second on a double steal by LMU but clipped his hand on the bat of Guthrie and the ball skipped into center allowing another run to score. Brandon Garcia struck out Shon Roe to get out of the jam and limit the damage to 4-2.
USC loaded the bases in the seventh and Kevin Roundtree pinch-hit for Hernandez to take advantage of the righty-lefty matchup, but softly lined to first and the side was retired.
The Trojans rallied in the ninth when Omar Cotto Lozada and Alex Sherrod reached to start the inning. Foat then grounded back to the mound for what looked to be a routine double play, but Aaron Griffin's throw sailed into center field allowing Cotto to score and Sherrod to advance to third. Trailing 4-3, Garrett Stubbs came to the plate and dropped a perfectly placed squeeze bunt between the mound and first base to score Sherrod for the tying run. USC would load the bases but strand all three runners again as the inning ended with a strike out by Garcia.
USC had a chance to end the game again in the 11th as with the bases loaded, but left the bags full for the third time on the night. The Trojans left 15 runners on base in the loss.
Wyatt Strahan (3-2), who came on in the ninth and had thrown three innings of scoreless relief, was tagged with the loss after things unraveled in the ninth and LMU put up 4 unearned runs. The inning got off to a rocky start as David Edwards reached on a throwing error by Dante Flores at second base. After advancing to second on a sac-bunt, Edwards scored on a single to right-center by Mitchell Esser to take a 5-4 lead. With two out, Matt Lowenstein walked to give the Lions two runners on the base paths. Roe grounded to second for what appeared to be the final out but Flores made another errant throw to first and Esser came around to score the insurance run making it a 6-4 game. To add insult to injury, Chad Mahony followed with a two-run bases clearing single to center to stretch the lead to 8-4.
With the odds stacked against them, the Trojans were able to score one run in the 12th on an RBI single from J.R. Aguirre to make it 8-5, but they would get no closer.
USC returns to action this weekend with a three-game series at Arizona State.