Trojans Lose 6-5 Heartbreaker To No. 9 Bruins
May 26, 2012
WESTWOOD, Calif. - The USC baseball team led No. 9 UCLA through six innings but couldn't hang on as they lost on a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth Saturday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium before a crowd of 1,636. The Trojans fall to 23-31 (8-21 Pac-12) while the Bruins improve to 41-14 (19-10 Pac-12) on the season.
With runners on the corners in the second, Sean Spear came off the bench to hit for Garret Houts and delivered a sac-fly to score Kevin Swick who had singled to open the inning and advanced to third on a single by Kevin Roundtree.
Alex Sherrod led off the fourth with a towering home run off Bruins starter Nick Vander Tuig that landed on top of the UCLA batting cages well beyond the right field wall. Sherrod's fifth long ball of the year put the Trojans up 2-0.
USC added to the tally in the fifth plating two runs on three hits to take a 4-0 lead. Senior Brandon Garcia got things started with a hard single to right-center and Andres Rodriguez followed with a double to the left field wall. Roundtree then came through with an RBI single to center to score Garcia for the first run of the inning. Spear then reached on a fielder's choice put-out at second that brought Rodriguez in from third.
The Bruins clawed back in the sixth with three runs on three hits to cut the Trojan lead to one. After singles from Beau Amaral and Cody Reefer, Jeff Gelalich delivered a two-run triple to center cutting the Trojans lead in half. Trevor Brown then pushed Gelalich across with a ground out to short.
Vander Tuig wouldn't return for the seventh as he was replaced by freshman reliever David Berg. Berg making his school record 42nd appearance of the season struck out Kevin Swick, Rodriguez and Roundtree in order.
In the final start of his USC career, senior co-captain Andrew Triggs was stellar as usual. He kept the Trojans in the game allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings while striking out five. After issuing his first walk of the game in the seventh, Triggs was lifted for freshman Nigel Nootbaar. Prior to the sixth inning, Triggs had tossed five shut out frames and allowed only four hits.
Nootbaar walked his first batter and the runners moved into scoring position with a sac-bunt by Kevin Kramer. An intentional walk to Amaral loaded the bases but backfired as Tyler Heineman delivered the game-tying RBI on a fielder's choice to second. Keefer then singled though the right side to put the Bruins up 5-4 as they took their first lead of the afternoon.
UCLA would load the bases in the eighth but senior Brad Douthit was able to work out of the jam getting Amaral to pop out to left to give USC one last shot in the ninth.
Trailing 5-4, Flores and Garcia singled off the hard-throwing Scott Griggs while Roberts laid down a key sacrifice bunt to give the Trojans runners in scoring position. Swick then legged out the back end of an attempted 6-4-3 double play to score Omar Cotto-Lozada from third and tie the game 5-5.
Things came undone in the bottom of the ninth as Keefer doubled to left off Martin Viramontes to put the winning run aboard with one out. Gelalich was intentionally walked and Brown singled to left to load the bases. Viramontes was able to strikeout Pat Valaika for the second out, but a walk to Cody Regis forced in the winning run an sealed the 6-5 victory for UCLA.
Griggs (2-1) picked up the win while Viramontes (1-1) was saddled with the loss.
Sherrod reached base four times for the Trojans with the home run and three walks...Roundtree and Garcia both notched two hits on the day for USC...Spear had to RBI's in the loss.
USC returns to action tomorrow at Jackie Robinson Stadium for the final game of their season. Game time is 1 p.m.