USC baseball concluded its season with a series win over Cal, taking the first two games but falling short in the third and narrowly escaping a no-hit bid.
Sunday, the Trojans took on Cal lefthander Chris Petrini, who brought into the contest a 3-3 record in 34 innings pitched. The junior pitched the game of his life against USC, holding the Trojans hitless through six and two-third innings before allowing a single to Hector Rabago and, later, a Joe De Pinto double.
Senior lefthander Anthony Vasquez started the game for the Trojans but ran into trouble in the second inning, eventually giving up a two-RBI triple to score two runners who had reached base via walk.
The Bears piled on four more runs against Vasquez, chasing him mid fifth inning. Redshirt freshman righthander Andrew Triggs shut them down with three and two-thirds innings of one-hit ball, but the damage had been done in a 6-0 final.
Saturday’s game was the exact opposite, as the Trojans hit the Bears with a barrage of runs.
Cal starter Kevin Miller retired USC’s Mike O’Neill to start the game, but then allowed five consecutive singles and a walk and was removed from the game in favor of Brian Diemer. Miller was charged with six runs by the end of the inning in only one-third of an inning pitched.
That was all the offense USC would need, as Trojan junior ace Brad Boxberger was on the mound. Boxberger, in his last start before he will face major league teams as a draftable prospect in the June 9 MLB draft, went six innings and gave up four runs.
USC kept the offense going throughout, putting up another run in the third inning and two-spots in the sixth and eighth innings.
In the seventh, the Trojans carried out an interesting phenomenon. They had one hit — an Alex Sherrod single — yet scored three runs with the help of two wild pitches from Cal reliever Michael Bugary.
Three USC relievers pitched scoreless innings, and sophomore righthander Ryan Cabral finished it off in the ninth to lock down the 14-4 Trojans victory.
On top of being televised on Fox Sports West, Friday’s game had a lot to offer. Junior righthander Robert Stock tossed seven scoreless innings in what was also his final audition for MLB Draft scouts, and all of the Trojans’ runs came via the long ball.
O’Neill opened the game with a leadoff homer, and USC tacked on a Ricky Oropesa two-run shot in the sixth — his 13th of the season — and a Hector Rabago solo home run in the seventh.
Senior righthander Danny Cooper relieved Stock but ran into some trouble in the ninth inning, allowing two runs and putting the tying runners on second and third base. USC coach Chad Kreuter brought in freshman reliever Chad Smith, who recorded one out, then junior reliever Kevin Couture, who induced a fielder’s choice to end the game.
USC had been flirting with .500 over the season’s final few contests, and finished with an exactly .500 record at 28-28 overall. Interestingly enough, the 2008 Trojans’ record was the same, and the 2007 team went 27-29. That gives third-year head coach Chad Kreuter a 83-85 career record amid questions of whether he will be retained for next season. This season, the Trojans’ Pac-10 record was 13-14.