The players on the USC baseball team are just like your average student. And like any student, they seem to enjoy not having school.
Over spring break, the Trojans (20-27, 10-11) snapped an eight-game losing streak and went 5-2. Last
weekend, after not having played for 10 days because of finals, the squad took two of three from No. 6 Arizona State to break out of a six-game slide.
USC gets another top-10 team on their slate this weekend with No. 2 Oregon State. It’s the Trojans third series of the season against a top-10 team, but the Beavers (37-12, 16-5) are different than the Sun Devils and USC’s other top-10 opponent, No. 7 Cal State Fullerton. The Titans started the season at No. 8 and Arizona State started at No. 11. The Beavers were expected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 and were under the radar.
But the results don’t lie. The Beavers haven’t lost a series all season, haven’t lost three consecutive games and have run off a pair of double-digit win streaks (11 and 12 games).
“They’ve got some older guys; some good experience,” said USC interim coach Frank Cruz. “They’ve gelled together real well. And they can flat out pitch.”
The Beavers are second in the conference with a 2.90 ERA and a .238 opponents’ batting average. Left-handed pitcher Josh Osich tossed a no-hitter against No. 24 UCLA on April 30, but he’s not even the ace of the staff. That title goes to right-handed pitcher Sam Gaviglio. The junior is a top-100 prospect with a 10-1 record and a 1.74 ERA. His WHIP is 1.03, and he has fanned 90 hitters while issuing just 21 walks. Perhaps most impressive is that he averages more than seven innings pitched per start.
But the Trojans are no slouch on the hill either. Junior right-hander Andrew Triggs and senior Logan Odom are each coming off complete game performances against the Sun Devils. Triggs will take the mound on Friday, presumably against Gaviglio, while Odom will round out the rotation on Sunday in the series finale.
Sandwiched in the middle on Saturday is junior Austin Wood. The former fourth-round draft pick hasn’t had the season he or the Trojans has hoped for, with a 4-6 record and 5.48 ERA. But the righty went seven strong innings against Arizona State last Saturday, and looks to build on that in Corvallis this weekend.
Indeed, the team as a whole is looking to build on their performance last weekend and carry the momentum to the road. The Trojans are an abysmal 5-13 away from Dedeaux Field this season, including 3-6 on the road in conference play.
“Going on the road is a chore [for us],” Cruz said. “Add in the No. 2 team in the country; we’re gonna have to be just about perfect.”
Although the Trojans will face tough pitching this weekend, the coaching staff believes they are more than capable of challenging the Beavers and nabbing another Pac-10 series win.
“The only upsets in this conference are the teams on the losing end,” Cruz said. “They’re the ones upset. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day, and I don’t mean that as a cliché. That’s just the facts.”