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Baseball takes two of three against Utah

first_imgUSC 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.last_img read more