Cotto Lozada Delivers Game-Winner as Trojans Defeat Wildcats in Walk-Off Fashion 5-4
April 18, 2014
LOS ANGELES -For the second time this season redshirt junior Omar Cotto Lozada comes through in clutch fashion, this time with an RBI walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th inning to give USC baseball the 5-4 victory and the series over visiting Arizona on Friday evening at Dedeaux Field.
The Trojans were anchored by a strong start from sophomore right-hander Brent Wheatley (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS), who went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits.
Wheatley was followed by a shutdown performance out of the pen from sophomore lefty Kyle Twomey (Placentia, Calif./El Dorado HS), who went five complete innings, holding the Wildcats, the top-hitting ball club in the Pac-12 to just one hit. Through the 12th inning he retired 14-straight batters to keep the Trojans in the game and given them the shot at the eventual walk-off in the bottom of the 12th. Twomey earned his first win of the season in the victory.
The Trojans belted an impressive 16 hits in the game, led by Jeremy Martinez (Fountain Valley, Calif./Mater Dei HS), who was 4-for-6 at the plate with one RBI. The hero of the evening, Cotto Lozada (San Juan, Puerto Rico/The Bonneville School), was 3-for-6 with two runs scored and one RBI, while Vahn Bozoian (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala HS) was 2-for-5 with two RBI on the day. Overall, eight different Trojans had a hit, while five had multi-hit days at the plate.
The Trojans got on the board first, manufacturing a run on squeeze sac bunt by Reggie Southall (Gardena, Calif./Serra HS) to put the score at 1-0.
The Wildcats answered back in the top of the fourth, plating one run on a sac fly and then taking advantage of a Trojan error on a dropped infield pop fly to plate their second run of the game and put the Trojans down, 2-1.
The Trojans fought back with one run in the fifth on a Martinez RBI single and took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth as Bozoian singled up the middle.
A solo shot in the top of the seventh inning by the Wildcats Tyler Krause tied the game back up, 3-3 and after a single and a sac bunt to put another runner in scoring position, Wheatley was pulled in favor of reliever James Guillen (Covina, Calif./Damien HS). Guillen allowed an RBI single to Zach Gibbons, the one hitter he faced in the inning before Twomey entered to shut down any further Wildcat rally.
Down 4-3, the Trojans took advantage of a wild pitch on a strikeout to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. Then after a throwing error by Wildcat reliever Bobby Dalbec put runners on the corners with just one out, a squeeze bunt by Bozoian tied the game 4-4.
In the bottom of the 12th, Martinez led off with a single to left center. Freshman Frankie Rios (Lakewood, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) pinch ran for Martinez at first and represented the go-ahead run. After an infield single by AJ Ramirez (Bakersfield, Calif./Bakersfield Christian HS) put two on with nobody out and a Blake Lacey (Clovis, Calif./Clovis HS) advanced the runners 90 feet, Kyle Davis (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica HS) came to the plate as a pinch hitter. After he struck out on a nasty slider from Dalbec, Cotto Lozada stepped up with two on and two out. He guided the 1-1 pitch through the left side of the infield, plating Rios from third for the go-ahead, game-winning run.
Cotto Lozada previously delivered the game-winning hit for the Trojans on Feb. 23 vs. North Dakota State, when he launched a two-run home run in the 12th inning to give the Trojans the 5-3 win.
The extra-inning game was the eighth the Trojans have played this season.
The Trojans will go for the series sweep over the Wildcats at 7 p.m. PT on Saturday at Dedeaux Field.