The kings of comeback struck again at Dedeaux Field on Tuesday night, but it wasn’t enough to give this time.
After a weekend series with California that featured two walkoff victories, USC treated the fans in attendance at the team’s battle with cross town rival Loyola Marymount to another thriller. Trailing 4-2 in the ninth, the Trojans scored two runs off Lions reliever Aaron Griffin to tie the game, before ultimately falling by a final score of 8-5 in 12 innings.
The Lions forged ahead in the 12th inning, taking advantage of a throwing error by freshman second baseman Dante Flores. With freshman David Edwards on second base following the error and a sacrifice, Mitchell Esser singled to right center to put LMU ahead for good.
The visiting Lions added three insurance runs after Flores’ second throwing error of the inning to close out the Lion’s scoring. J.R. Aguirre closed out the scoring with an RBI single in the bottom half of the 12th.
USC struck first in the second inning. Sophomore catcher Jake Hernandez reached on an error to lead off, and advanced to second on a single by sophomore third baseman Kevin Swick. A groundout put runners at second and third for sophomore second baseman James Roberts, whose infield single plated Hernandez for a 1-0 Trojan lead.
But they got another in the third. Senior right fielder Garret Houts was hit to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a groudout. After stealing third, Houts scored on another infield single, this one by senior first baseman Matt Foat, to put USC up 2-0.
Freshman pitcher Nigel Nootbaar started the game on the mound for the Trojans, the first start of his career and tossed three impressive scoreless innings. Nootbaar came out to start the fourth inning and struck out the first two hitters but was lifted after giving up a single and a double to put runners on second and third. Sophomore James Guillen was brought in and promptly gave up a two-RBI single to tie the game.
With senior Brandon Garcia on the mound in the top of the seventh, the Lions put two on with one out courtesy of a single and a walk. Loyola Marymount right fielder Tanner Donnels singles to vault the Lions to a 3-2 lead, their first of the game.
Then, on a double steal attempt, Hernandez got up ready to throw to third, and then changed his mind to second at the last instant. But his hand smacked against the bat, causing the ball to sail into right field and allowing another run to score on an error to put the Trojans in a 4-2 hole.
USC embarks on a road trip beginning with a three-game series against Arizona State.