For a weekend that started off so promising, it sure didn’t end that way.
The USC baseball team was blown out by Fresno State on Sunday afternoon in Fresno. The Bulldogs put up five in the first inning, one in the second, two in the third and six in the fifth en route to a 14-3 beat down.
Freshman pitcher Kyle Twomey, who tossed a complete game a week ago against Cal State Northridge, couldn’t even get out of the first inning. Twomey went 2/3 of an inning and gave up five runs on five hits and three walks, ballooning his season ERA from 2.93 to 5.62.
“As talented as Kyle (Twomey) is, he’s young,” Hubbs said. “I can’t expect him to go out there and throw great every time. He wasn’t consistent today. None of the first few guys we threw were.”
The lone bright spot might be that some of the younger players got to see in-game action. Twenty players took the field on Sunday, including 15 position players.
“I told the guys to take it as a learning experience,” Hubbs said. “They showed us today how to be relentless offensively, how to never let a team back into the game. We can learn from that.”
As if the score wasn’t bad enough, sophomore catcher Garrett Stubbs was knocked out of the game in the first inning after a collision at home plate with Fresno State star Aaron Judge.
In fact, USC was pretty banged up all weekend. In addition to Stubbs, senior second baseman Adam Landecker tweaked his hamstring on Friday and didn’t play the rest of the weekend. Senior outfielder Greg Zebrack missed Saturday’s game with the flu, and sophomore infielder Dante Flores didn’t play all weekend with a wrist issue.
Compounding all of that, usual Saturday starter Wyatt Strahan was scratched Saturday morning, putting sophomore Nigel Nootbaar in the role of spot starter. Nootbaar struggled in the first inning but managed to escape with just one run on the board. After that, he dominated for the better part of the next six innings, striking out 12 and retiring 11 straight Bulldog hitters from the middle of the third all the way through the seventh inning.
Nootbaar, however, was outshined by Fresno State starter Derick Velazquez, who tossed a complete game. Though Nootbaar pitched similarly well for most of his start, he began to unravel in the seventh. After allowing the first four hitters to reach base, Nootbaar was replaced by freshman Shane Gonzales. Thrust into a bases-loaded, no-out situation with one run already in, Gonzales did a good job of keeping the damage to a minimum, allowing just two additional runs to score.
USC actually outhit Fresno State 7-6 on Saturday. But while the Bulldogs strung their hits together, the Trojans had their hits spread throughout the game, never getting more than two hits in an inning and falling 5-1.
“They pitch you differently in those situations and we have to adjust, Hubbs said.
On Friday, USC gave the impression the weekend would go very differently. The Trojans knocked a season-high 14 hits and put up nine runs en route to a 9-1 blowout. Junior starting pitcher Bobby Wheatley tossed seven stellar shutout innings, allowing six hits and walking just one.