They say baseball is a thinking man’s game. The USC baseball team sure has had a lot of time to think about its loss at the hands of UC Santa Barbara.
The Trojans (20-15) blew a three-run ninth-inning lead against the Gauchos last Wednesday before surrendering the winning run in the 12th.
Since then they have had five days off, their longest stretch of the season. That’s five days to think about the disappointment of that loss and to prepare for tonight’s chance at redemption against Long Beach State.
“We’re excited to get back out there and avenge our loss from Santa Barbara,” said freshman pitcher Wyatt Strahan, who pitched two solid innings in relief against the Gauchos. “We didn’t play our best baseball. But we’ve had a week of solid practices and we’re ready.”
USC bested Long Beach (18-19) by a 4-2 score in both teams’ fourth game of the season. The Dirtbags have played 19 games against teams that have also played the Trojans, going 9-10 against those teams. The Trojans have played 14 games against Long Beach opponents, going 6-8 in these contests.
Tuesday’s game against the Dirtbags marks the start of a stretch-run of sorts for the Trojans. They have no more weekends off and will have a midweek game for four of the last five weeks of the season.
“We’ve talked about it a little bit,” said Strahan on the difficulty of the Trojans’ remaining schedule. “But we try to focus more on the single game; not get ahead of anything.”
The strength of their schedule doesn’t help either. Of the Trojans’ 20 remaining games, a full half come against teams currently ranked in the top 12. They have one against No. 7 Cal State Fullerton and three each against No. 10 Oregon, No. 11 Arizona and No. 12 UCLA. Four of USC’s last five Pac-12 conference series come against teams currently in the top half of the conference standings — the three ranked teams mentioned above, as well as 26-12 Oregon State, who the Trojans will host at Dedeaux this weekend.