Pacific Baseball Falls 15-9 As USC Avoids Sweep
With the loss Pacific fell to 12-7 on the year while the Trojans improved to 10-10.
"Jake Hummel really just had one bad inning," head coach Ed Sprague said. "The zone was small so he just had to throw it over the plate. Other than that one bad inning, we were right there with them and I think we even out-played them in the other innings. I was really happy that we were able to battle back and stay in the game after that."
All it took was the seven-run second inning to do the damage as USC jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. The Tigers were able to come back in the bottom of the frame, but the seven run deficit was ultimately too much to rebound from. In the bottom of the second, junior J.B. Brown (Alvin, Texas) singled into center field with one out already tallied in the inning. One out later, backed up against a wall, Pacific was able to bring home its only runner in scoring position. With two away, freshman John Haberman (Stockton, Calif.) notched the second double of the inning and safely brought Brown home to score as the Tigers closed out the inning trailing 7-1.
Pacific attempted another come-back charge in the bottom of the third inning. Senior Joe Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) started things off when he laced a 1-1 pitch into left field for the first single of the inning. Junior Nick Longmire (San Diego, Calif.) next took to the plate with intentions of continuing the rally, but instead grounded into a double play to eliminate the baserunner and put two outs on the board. Then sophomore Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) tried to carry the Tigers in the inning and smashed a homer over the center field wall to put Pacific closer as they trailed 7-2. But that was all the rally the Tigers were able to muster.
USC did its part over the next two innings to try and keep Pacific behind on the scoreboard, plating one run in the top of the fourth inning and then three more in the top of the fifth for what seemed like an insurmountable 11-2 lead. Instead of folding, Pacific answered back with a five-run statement in the bottom half of the inning to trail by four, 11-7.
Senior Ben Gorang (Turlock, Calif.) kicked off the rally with a lead-off double to start out as the first runner in scoring position. Oliveira followed through with a single laced through the left side to put runners at the corners. With a pair of runners on base, Longmire ground out to second, but drove in Gorang and advanced Oliveira into scoring position as the Tigers trailed 11-3. Another double was in store for Pacific when junior Brian Martin (Livermore, Calif.) tore one into left center to bring home Oliveira for an 11-4 deficit. Senior Mike Walker (Marysville, Calif.) then was able to take him time at the plate, and his persistence turned into a four-pitch walk to put runners on first and second.
Trailing by seven with two runners aboard, Brown tried his hand at the doubles game and successfully drove in Walker and Martin to whittle away at the Trojans' lead, 11-6. Pacific would get one more run off the Trojans' starter, Kevin Couture, as sophomore Allen Riley (Fresno, Calif.) sparked a pinch hit single to bring home Brown. That gave Pacific its fifth and final run of the inning, trailing 11-7 as USC went to its bullpen.
In the sixth inning, both teams posted matching two-run rallies to keep the Trojans on top, 13-9. However, USC has two more runs left in the tank as back-to-back homeruns contributed the only scoring for USC in the top of the ninth. Pacific could not respond and fell to a final 15-9 decision.
Hummel took the loss for Pacific and dropped to 2-1 on the year. As Couture failed to toss five complete innings, the Trojans' victory went to reliever Brandon Garcia who improved to 1-1 on the year. Offensively Brown led the Tigers with his 3-for-4 afternoon that included three RBI.
The 1,201 fans came on the heels of a program-record 1,433 fans in attendance the night prior. Pacific closed out the three-game series with a new record for series attendance after a total of 3,370 fans came out to Klein Family Field over the weekend.
Pacific continues its play against Pacific-10 opponents on Tuesday, March 23, when the Tigers take on Stanford for a 6 p.m. first pitch.