USC looks to ride the momentum from Tuesday night’s come-from-behind victory against UC Santa Barbara into its Pac-10 series with Oregon this weekend in Eugene, Ore.
The Trojans will be trying to notch their first conference series win of the season against the No. 18 Ducks (25-12, 6-6).
Trailing 8-0 late in Tuesday’s matchup at Dedeaux Field, USC (16-20, 2-10) scored two times in the seventh, twice in the eighth and four more times in the bottom of the ninth to steal a victory against UCSB. Senior outfielder Mike O’Neill scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch to seal the deal for USC, which had lost six contests in a row.
Oregon is also riding high after taking two of three last weekend against then-No. 1 UCLA. The Ducks won the first two games of the series before dropping last Sunday’s finale, 5-1. Oregon also defeated Gonzaga twice this week in non-conference action and has won seven of its last 10 games.
USC coach Chad Kreuter will send out sophomore starter Andrew Triggs tonight at 7 p.m. in the series opener. The right-hander (1-6, 4.14 ERA) has not earned a win since his first start of the season. In his last outing against Arizona State, Triggs went five innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on four hits. He struck out five.
Triggs’ counterpart will be Oregon sophomore Tyler Anderson. The Ducks’ left-hander is 5-3 with a 2.63 ERA this season. He’s racked up 55 strikeouts in 54 and two-third innings pitched. In his last start against UCLA, Anderson allowed four runs on five hits in four and two-third innings in the Ducks’ 5-4 victory against UCLA.
Trojans’ sophomore Ben Mount will take the ball in Saturday’s 5 p.m. matchup. In 10 games this season (eight starts), Mount is 3-3 with a 3.77 ERA and 40 strikeouts. Opposing Mount will be Oregon’s Justin LaTempa. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA and 34 strikeouts.
Sunday’s 12 p.m. series finale will square Oregon’s Alex Kuedell (4-4, 3-20) against USC. Kreuter has yet to decide a starter for the game, but his decision will mostly likely come down to senior Kevin Couture (2-1, 6.75) or sophomore Chad Smith (4-5, 4.46).
The Ducks are batting .276 on the season with a staff ERA of 2.92, while the Trojans’ hitters have tallied a .285 batting average and their pitching has compiled a 4.79 ERA.
Catcher Eddie Rodriguez has been the Ducks’ leader on offense so far this season. He tops the team with a .331 batting average, .424 slugging percentage and .398 on-base percentage. He has hit two home runs to go along with 24 RBI.
USC leads the all-time series against Oregon, 19-2, and it swept the Ducks last season at Dedeaux Field. Tonight’s game will mark the first time USC baseball has played in Eugene since 1969.