Baseball heads to Malibu to face Waves

first_imgThe USC baseball team will look to rebound tonight against the Pepperdine University Waves after losing two out of three to the UCLA Bruins in a hard-fought series over the weekend. Dedeaux Field was packed all weekend, as Los Angeles was buzzing about the matchup between the crosstown rivals, both ranked in the top-10 in the nation.The Trojans (26-9, 8-4 Pac-12) dropped the first game on Friday 9-3, as they were unable to rally from an early deficit in the first inning.USC starter Brent Wheatley allowed a three-run home run in the first inning and a two-run rally in the third inning, but was able to settle down eventually to give the Trojans 5.1 relatively solid innings before yielding to the bullpen.The Trojans responded with a    two-run rally of their own in the bottom of the third, but it proved insignificant. UCLA pounded their second three-run shot of the night in the top of the seventh to put the game away for good.USC responded on Saturday, however, by jumping out to a first inning lead they would never relinquish.Senior second baseman Dante Flores connected for a huge two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the first against Bruin starter Grant Watson. Bobby Stahel added a two-run homer in the bottom of the second, then tacked on an extra insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single.That was all the offense Trojan starter Kyle Twomey needed, as he twirled seven shutout innings, allowing seven hits and three walks, while striking out seven, to even the series at 1-1.The rubber match of the series didn’t go the Trojans way, though, as the Bruins took advantage of a big sixth inning.With the score tied at 2-2 in the top of the sixth, UCLA led off the inning with a pair of doubles to put themselves ahead 3-2, but it didn’t stop there. After a fly out advanced Ty Moore to third base, Kort Peterson lined out to left field, sending Moore dashing home on the sacrifice fly.Left fielder Bobby Stahel made a perfect throw to the plate to beat the runner, but Trojan catcher Garrett Stubbs was unable to hold onto the ball after a hard collision with Moore. The runner was called safe, and UCLA went ahead 4-2.The next batter, Darrell Miller Jr., stepped up to the plate and launched a solo home run to add on to the Bruins’ lead and chase Trojan starter Mitch Hart from the game.USC fought back from the three-run deficit, but only managed one run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Jeremy Martinez sac fly.The Bruins put the game away in the top of the ninth by rallying to score three more off of sophomore reliever Kyle Davis, and just like that, the Trojans yielded the game and the series to the Bruins.USC head coach Dan Hubbs thinks his team fought hard this weekend but wasn’t able to execute well enough in any aspect of the game during their losses on Friday and Sunday.“We didn’t really get a good start out of [Wheatley] and we couldn’t come up with a big hit in a big spot on Friday,” Hubbs said.“We didn’t really play great defense on Friday either and if [Stubbs] holds onto that ball on the play at the plate on Sunday, the inning is over, they don’t score and it’s a whole different ball game.”The Trojans can bounce back on the road against Pepperdine (20-17, 10-5 WCC) on Tuesday.The Waves have won nine of their last 11 contests and are fresh off a sweep of Santa Clara University this weekend. The Pepperdine offense has relied on their 2-3 duo of Hutton Moyer and Brad Anderson all season, as the two have combined for 54 RBIs through only 37 games. Hubbs says stopping them will be a key to the Trojans’ success on Tuesday.“It’s imperative to get the guys out that hit around them so that Moyer and Anderson don’t get to hit with guys on base,” Hubbs said.“We’ll have to make pitches and make plays to get them out.”The Trojans will start junior Kyle Davis on Tuesday in attempts to get him back on track after a rough season thus far. After dazzling the Pac-12 last year with a 1.12 ERA, Davis has struggled to a 5.11 ERA this season, but Hubbs thinks that letting him pitch the first two innings against Pepperdine might help get him back to his previous dominance.“We’ll let him get out there for a couple innings and see what he can do,” Hubbs said.“We’re really just trying to get him back to the type of pitcher we know he can be on the mound.”USC was able to handle the Waves in their only other matchup this season, beating them 5-2 on March 24th at Dedeaux Field.“When you’ve been doing this long enough, you know there’s no such thing as a soft landing spot. No matter who you play in Southern California, everybody is going to be good,” Hubbs said.“Last time we played [Pepperdine], I thought they hit the ball well, but luckily they ended up right at our fielders. We’re going to have to play well to beat them again.”last_img

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