USC drops rubber match to California

Junior first baseman Ricky Oropesa can’t do it all himself, but that won’t stop him from trying.

The preseason All-American had seven RBIs over the weekend and took USC’s home run lead, adding his third long ball of the weekend Sunday at California’s Evans Diamond. But the Golden Bears took the series finale 9-6, giving them the series win.

Slugging · First baseman Ricky Oropesa, pictured here against UCLA, went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs at the plate Sunday. The preseason All-American also hit two home runs against California on Friday. - Mannat Saini | Daily Trojan

The Trojans (10-18, 2-4) took a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning on a two-run single by junior Matt Foat after Oropesa was intentionally walked with a pair of runners on base. The lead did not last long, however.

Cal (19-6, 5-1) responded with four runs. After a two-RBI double by Chadd Krist tied the game, Trojans’ senior starter Logan Odom had a chance to get out of the inning without any more damage. Odom induced what should have been an inning-ending ground ball, but freshman shortstop James Roberts committed an error, extending the inning.

Darrel Mathews took advantage, hitting a double down the line that scored another pair of runs and chased Odom from the game.

Oropesa’s home run trimmed the lead to 6-5 in the seventh inning, but Cal again responded, tacking on three runs in the bottom half of the inning.

The Trojans had one final chance in the ninth inning when they got the tying run to the plate, following a RBI double by senior Joe De Pinto. With a pair of runners on, junior Brandon Garcia couldn’t add his third hit of the day, grounding out to shortstop to end the game.

The Trojans racked up 14 hits on the day with every batter in the lineup knocking at least one hit, but USC left nine runners on base. Odom was charged with the loss after allowing six hits and six runs, only three earned, in four and two-thirds innings.

USC took the series opener Friday night using a consistent offensive attack. The Trojans scored in seven of their nine at-bats as they put 10 runs on the scoreboard for the first time this season.

Oropesa led the way with a pair of two-run home runs to right field. His second long ball gave the Trojans a 5-0 lead, but the Golden Bears struck back with five runs in their half of the fifth inning.

The next inning, Oropesa put USC ahead for good with a RBI single to tie a career high of five RBIs. Sophomore infielder Adam Landecker also tied a career high with three RBIs.

Freshman Bobby Wheatley picked up the win in relief.

Cal bounced back Saturday with a 9-2 win, getting to USC junior starter Austin Wood for six runs in the first inning. The Golden Bears batted through the lineup, chasing Wood before he even pitched a complete inning. In his worst outing of the season, Wood allowed six runs, four earned, on four hits, with two hit batsmen.

The Trojans never threatened as Cal starter Justin Jones, a freshman All-American last season, threw a complete-game seven-hitter. Three of those hits came from junior outfielder Garret Houts, who boosted his batting average to .345 after the performance.

USC returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Loyola Marymount at 3 p.m. at Dedeaux Field.