USC Storms Back To Force Deciding Game Three At NCAA Super Regional
June 12, 2005
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Third baseman Billy Hart (Tustin/Mission Viejo HS) hit a bases-loaded infield single in the bottom of the 10th inning Sunday as the USC Trojans capped an improbable rally with a 9-8 win over the Oregon State Beavers to force a third and deciding NCAA Super Regional game Monday. Down by five runs in the eighth inning, USC scored twice in the eighth and three times in the ninth before winning in extra innings.
It was the first time in 19 games this season that USC (41-21) has won despite trailing after eight innings. Tomorrow's game, originally scheduled for a 4 p.m. Pacific start, was moved up by request from ESPN to a 1 p.m. start.
The Trojans hammered out 16 hits as closer Paul Koss (4-1) retired the final 11 batters in a row he faced after giving up a three-run homer to OSU catcher Mitch Canham as the Beavers took an 8-3 lead in the seventh.
"My players have reminded me how I lost my memory a long time ago, but I can't remember a game like this with as much at stake," said USC head coach Mike Gillespie.
Oregon State closer Kevin Gunderson (6-3) took the loss for the Beavers (45-10) after giving up four runs (two unearned) in 2 1/3 innings. After the Trojans committed a season-high eight errors on Saturday, it was Oregon State's turn as the Beavers had four errors, including a critical one in the ninth.
Down by three in the ninth, USC All-America catcher Jeff Clement set the tempo on the first pitch when he belted a line drive over the fence in right for his 14th homer of the season and 45th of his career to tie him for second on the school's all-time list with Geoff Jenkins (Milwaukee Brewers). Clement was selected third overall earlier this week by the Seattle Mariners in the 2005 MLB draft. After Hart delivered a bunt single to third, Cyle Hankerd lifted a fly ball deep to right field, but the ball bounced out of Danny Anderson's glove to put runners at second and third. Designated hitter Baron Frost hit an RBI ground out to score Hart and on a 2-1 count, second baseman Hector Estrella singled to left with the tying run to plate pinch-runner Spencer Pabst.
"I can't describe what it was like," said Clement. "We will be ready to play tomorrow."
After Koss struck out Jacoby Ellsbury to retire the side in the 10th, the Trojans were in business after Gunderson hit freshman Roberto Lopez on an 0-2 pitch. Blake Sharpe, was 0-for-4 on the night with three strikeouts, squared to bunt before pulling the bat back and slashing a single to center. First baseman Matt Cusick attempted a bunt with two strikes, but missed the pitch for the first out. Clement was then hit by another pitch from Gunderson to load the bases as OSU brought freshman Eddie Kunz into the game. Hart then hit a chopper to short that bounced under the diving third baseman Shea McFeely as pinch-runner Dale Legaspi scored the game-winner.
OSU second baseman Ryan Gipson broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with his first homer of the season, a two-run round-tripper to left off starter Jack Spradlin. Anderson added a solo shot in the fifth for his fourth of the season as the Beavers took a 3-0 lead.
Zack Kalter and Lopez both singled to put runners at the corners in the USC fifth. Cusick hit what looked to be a possible double play with one out, but Andy Jenkins could not handle shortstop Darwin Barney's throw as Kalter scored for the Trojans' first run. Clement singled to center and Hart hit a pop up to second for the possible third out, but the ball hit the heel of Gipson's glove as Cusick scored from second, making it a 3-2 lead for Oregon State.
The Beavers got back to a three-run lead after getting runners at the corners off Spradlin. Tyler Graham attempted a sacrifice bunt down the first base line and Cusick's throw was off the mark as Canham scored. Ellsbury stole third and scored when Graham was caught in a run down on a third-to-first pickoff maneuver by Koss.
Frost led off the USC sixth with a double to left center and scored on Kalter's hard grounder off Jenkins' glove at first, cutting the OSU margin to 5-3 before Canham's home run in the seventh.
OSU 000-212-300-0---8-10-4 USC 000-021-023-1---9-16-1