After scoring a grand total of two runs during the team’s weekend series sweep at the hands of the Arizona State Sun Devils, USC needed a wake-up call before Tuesday’s matchup against Cal State Bakersfield.
As it turned out, the offense woke up in an 11-2 victory over the Roadrunners. The Trojans received a surplus of hard contact from the top of the lineup, with the top four hitters all tallying multi-hit nights.
The win snapped USC’s season-high four-game losing streak.
“We had a lot better at-bats [than during the weekend]” coach Frank Cruz said. “Our guys did a nice job of rebounding and turning things around at the plate.”
The win was the fourth over Bakersfield for the Trojans, who swept the Roadrunners at Dedeaux Field March 9-11.
“For whatever reason, we match up well,” Cruz said.
The rout was on from the very first inning. Sophomore second baseman James Roberts came up with a two-out, two-run single that gave the Trojans all the runs they would need against Bakersfield starter Spenser Messmore.
They added three more in the second inning, two courtesy of senior infielder Matt Foat’s two-out single and one more on a fielder’s choice. Foat finished with four hits and three RBI’s.
“All the guys at the top of the lineup had really nice nights,” Cruz said. “The offense definitely looked different out there. [Freshman infielder Dante] Flores was great for us out of the leadoff spot tonight.”
All told, USC got 11 of its 13 hits from Flores, , Sherrod, Foat and junior infielder Adam Landecker, the one through four hitters in the lineup.
Senior starting pitcher Brandon Garcia (3-3) returned to his regular Tuesday starter role but only pitched three innings, giving up a run on one hit and walking four before being replaced by freshman Nigel Nootbar.
“Brandon wasn’t throwing the ball particularly well so we turned it over to the bullpen,” Cruz said. “I know his control wasn’t totally there but we had confidence that our bullpen could hold the lead.”
Nootbar threw four innings in scoreless relief Tuesday.
“Nootbar was great tonight,” Cruz said. “After Brandon was out we needed to eat up some innings and that’s what [Nootbar] did.”
The Trojans now face a quick turnaround, playing host to UC Santa Barbara Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Cruz doesn’t expect the travel to have any negative repercussions when the Trojans take on the Gauchos at Dedeaux Field.
“The boys got some great rest before tonight so I don’t think it’ll be any problem,” Cruz said. “It’s also good that it’s not too long of a trip. I’m not worried about us not being up for the game.”