USC hosts Villanova in weekend series

The Trojans have quickly bounced back after their opening day loss to Utah Valley, winning three games in a row heading into their weekend series against the undefeated Villanova Wildcats.

Sophomore pitcher Austin Manning tosses a pitch in the season-opener against Utah Valley. Alex Zhang | Daily Trojan

“A couple big swings were the difference,” head coach Dan Hubbs said after the opening day loss, according to USC Athletics. “We got runners on in each of the first three innings. In the third we had a runner on and Lars smokes a ball to right that is caught and then Matthew Acosta just missed a home run. That could have changed the complexion of the game. We just didn’t get anything consistently going after that.”

However, momentum soon changed after Acosta hit a go-ahead 3-run home run in the seventh inning during the Trojans second game against Utah Valley. The Trojans have managed to score a collective 13 runs in their past two games against Utah Valley and Long Beach State to continue their hot start to the season.

However, the Trojans’ biggest strength this season hasn’t been their hitting or their pitching, but their ability to grind out wins.

While the Trojans have a lower batting average and fewer total hits than their opponents, they have still managed to score more runs than their competition. This could be due to the amount of walks the Trojans take. In their last game against Long Beach State, the Trojans were walked on six separate occasions while the Dirtbags were walked only twice. This allowed the Trojans to have more runners in scoring positions which ultimately changed the outcome of the game. Impressively, the Trojans managed to score 5 runs on only three hits because their players were able to get on base.

In their next game, the Trojans will face off against a red-hot Villanova Wildcats team, who, according to their website, will be making their first ever trip to the state of California for a baseball game.

The Wildcats looked impressive in their opening series, scoring 29 runs while only allowing 6.

The Wildcats were able to sweep Norfolk State this season even after losing their best player from last season, Todd Czinege, to the MLB Draft.

“Anytime your best hitter leaves it would be a little comical to say your lineup got better, but believe it or not I do believe our lineup got better,” Villanova head coach Kevin Mulvey told The Villanovan prior to their series against Norfolk State.

As a team, the Wildcats are batting exceptionally well this season, batting over .300 so far while their opponents are only batting .165. Furthermore, the Wildcats’ pitching rotation has been lights out with an ERA of 2.00 while their opposing ERA is 6.67. Similarly to the Trojans, the Wildcats have been able to get on base without even getting hits as they have been walked a total of 20 times this season.

Following their series with the Wildcats, the Trojans will quickly face off against the NC Dinos on Monday and Loyola Marymount on Tuesday. Both games will take place at home at Dedeaux Field.