Midweek success keeping USC afloat

The middle of the week has been kind to the Trojans.

And with wins coming at a premium in the grueling Pac-10 conference, they need that to remain the case tonight.

Important · Sophomore infielder Ricky Oropesa’s team leading nine home runs and 29 RBI have helped keep USC’s record near .500. Oropesa and USC take on Cal State Bakersfield tonight at Dedeaux Field. - Brandon Hui | Daily Trojan

USC takes on Cal State Bakersfield at 6:30 p.m. at Dedeaux Field, the first ever meeting between the two teams.

The Trojans (14-14) have excelled in midweek games in 2010, winning five of six. Their only loss came on March 10, a 5-4 defeat against Connecticut. In those five victories, the Trojans have outscored their opponents 33-19.

Despite the midweek success, USC has been inconsistent. The Trojans are now 2-4 in Pac-10 play after dropping two of three to Oregon State.

They have won just one game in each of their first two conference series and have lost three straight series overall since taking three of four from Hawai’i in the middle of March.

The Roadrunners (12-14) have also struggled with inconsistency this year. They won four games in a row to open the season, but followed that streak with eight losses in 10 games.

Bakersfield is coming off a series sweep by Fresno State in which it was outscored 36-22.

The Trojans have shown flashes of brilliance in this streaky season. They had chances to win both games they dropped to Oregon State, as was the case two weekends ago at Stanford.

Sophomore infielder Ricky Oropesa remains on a tear, leading USC with a .333 average, nine home runs and 29 RBI. Sophomore infielder Matt Foat is right behind him with an identical batting average and 27 RBI.

But USC has had difficulties finding hits in some key situations. Junior infielder Joe De Pinto struck out to end Saturday’s game in the bottom of the ninth, leaving the tying run on third base and the winning run on second. The Beavers held on for a 4-3 win.

And in Thursday’s loss, the Trojans put the winning run on second base with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but failed to bring him in. Oregon State broke through with three runs in the top of the 10th and won 4-1.

The Trojans have also had trouble at home. They are just 4-8 at Dedeaux Field and 10-6 away from it.

But they have a chance to reverse that mark by the end of the week as USC wraps up a seven-game homestand against California. After tonight’s game, the Trojans will host Cal in a three-game series starting Friday.

USC currently sits at 10th in the conference, tied with Arizona and Oregon at 2-4 in Pac-10 play.