USC baseball welcomed Utah to Dedeaux Field this weekend in the Trojans’ third Pac-12 series of the season. On the heels of a midweek, extra-inning victory over Pepperdine, USC looked to push themselves to and over the .500 mark in their three-game set against the Utes. After taking the first two games, the Trojans went into Sunday’s contest trying for the sweep.Senior pitcher Kyle Davis drew the start in the series finale, but the veteran righty struggled through 2 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits — two of them home runs.The bullpen had been lights out for two days, before imploded spectacularly on Sunday, coughing up nine runs in relief of Davis and putting USC in a 13-run hole by the bottom of the fifth. Junior Andrew Wright, senior Brent Wheatley and sophomore Mason Perryman combined to give up the nine runs over 3 1/3 innings following Davis’ exit.The Trojans did their best to rally offensively. Senior David Oppenheim drove in three runs on Sunday, plating redshirt sophomore Frankie Rios twice, as well as redshirt junior Reggie Southall. Senior AJ Ramirez crushed a 2-run shot, and juniors Corey Dempster and Jeremy Martinez both chipped in with an RBI apiece. Four Trojans recorded multi-hit days, but they never sniffed the lead, falling 14-8 after scoring 7 unanswered runs.The series got off to a great start for the Trojans, as redshirt junior pitcher Joe Navilhon enjoyed another career night on the mound. The right-hander fanned nine over seven innings — both career highs — en route to his third win of the year.“Navilhon has been huge for the first two games of the last two [series],” head coach Dan Hubbs said. “If we get that kind of pitching on a Friday … we’re right where we want to be.”As Navilhon dealt, the offense spread the love on Friday. Senior outfielder Timmy Robinson, senior infielder AJ Ramirez and redshirt junior shortstop Reggie Southall all chipped in with an RBI apiece, and junior catcher Jeremy Martinez led the team with two runs batted in. Senior Brooks Kriske notched a four-out save to cap the night, earning all his outs via strikeout, and USC opened the series with a 5-2 victory.Sophomore pitcher Mitch Hart continued his comeback from injury the following day, starting his second game of the season on Saturday. He gave up four hits and a run in his three innings of work and notched his first strikeout of the year before making way for junior Bernardo Flores. The left-hander pitched a scoreless frame before the Trojan bats got on the board.In the bottom of the fourth, Robinson lined a two-out single up the middle before stealing second base. He broke for the plate when sophomore infielder Angelo Armenta followed up with an infield single, and Robinson slid home safely on an errant throw to tie things at one. Ramirez singled to drive in Armenta and give USC a 2-1 lead.Armenta raced home again in the sixth to double the Trojans’ advantage on a Southall RBI single. Junior outfielder Corey Dempster then crushed a 3-run shot to extend the USC lead to 5 runs. Meanwhile, Flores continued to cruise through the Utes’ lineup. He put a bow on his impressive six scoreless innings of relief in the ninth, earning his first win of the season by sealing the Trojans’ 6-1 victory.“I was relaxed, executing all my pitches,” Flores said. “[My teammates] were behind me the whole way, and I just let them do the work for me.”Being relaxed seemed to be a theme among the USC players this weekend, and their confident approach paid dividends both on the mound and at the plate.“Everyone’s starting to feel a little more comfortable,” Dempster said. “You relax and just do your job, and if you don’t do your job, the next guy’s going to do your job and pick you up.”Next up for the Trojans is a visit to Pepperdine on Tuesday. After the rematch against the Waves, they will prepare for a tough weekend road trip to Eugene, as USC returns to Pac-12 play against Oregon.
Not even a gutsy 2-1 loss away to Sevilla in the first leg of a Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday was enough to spare Ranieri, 65, the sack, even though the statement from Thai-owned Leicester confirming his departure from the King Power Stadium proclaimed him the club’s “most successful manager”.“Leicester City Football Club has tonight (Thursday) parted company with its first-team manager, Claudio Ranieri,” said the statement.“Claudio, appointed City manager in July 2015, led the Foxes to the greatest triumph in the club’s 133-year history last season, as we were crowned champions of England for the first time. His status as the most successful Leicester City manager of all time is without question.”Leicester though have won just five of their 25 league games this term and are yet to score a league goal in 2017, having also been knocked out of the FA Cup by third-tier Millwall.“However, domestic results in the current campaign have placed the club’s Premier League status under threat and the board reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club’s greatest interest,” the club statement added.Leicester vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said ditching Ranieri had been the hardest decision the current owners had made but one they had to take when, with 13 games left to play, there was still a chance of Premier League survival.“This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City,” he said.“Claudio has brought outstanding qualities to his office. His skilful management, powers of motivation and measured approach have been reflective of the rich experience we always knew he would bring to Leicester City.“His warmth, charm and charisma have helped transform perceptions of the club and develop its profile on a global scale. We will forever be grateful to him for what he has helped us to achieve.“It was never our expectation that the extraordinary feats of last season should be replicated this season. Indeed, survival in the Premier League was our first and only target at the start of the campaign.“But we are now faced with a fight to reach that objective and feel a change is necessary to maximise the opportunity presented by the final 13 games.”Former Leicester and England striker Gary Lineker, now a television football presenter, reacted to Ranieri’s exit by tweeting: “After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad.”Leicester’s title success came after they narrowly avoided relegation under former manager Nigel Pearson.But they have not won in their last nine matches in all competitions since a 2-1 FA Cup success at Everton on January 7, with their last league victory a 1-0 win over West Ham on December 31.Assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and Mike Stowell will take caretaker charge ahead of Monday’s match against Liverpool.Guus Hiddink, who helped arrest Chelsea’s decline last season when they suffered a slump immediately after winning the title, was installed as the 6/1 favourite by British bookmaker William Hill to replace Ranieri.Hills made Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, who enjoyed success as Leicester manager from 1995-2000, the 8/1 second-favourite.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as manager of Leicester City just months after leading the club to a remarkable Premier League title triumph, the Midlands side announced late yesterday.The Italian’s position has come under intense scrutiny this season during a slump that has left the Foxes just a point above the relegation zone.That follows their startling title triumph, with Leicester 5 000/1 no-hopers before the start of the 2015/16 season.