Trojans suffer sweep at hands of Ducks

After being swept by No. 5 Oregon over the weekend, USC is on a skid unlike any the team has experienced all season. Seven consecutive losses, spanning the entire month of May, put the Trojans under .500 for the first time in 2012. The Trojans have lost 10 of their last 12 games and 14 of their last 17. Since they opened the season 12-3, the Trojans have gone just 10-21 to bring their overall record down to 22-24 (7-16 in Pac-12 play).

Solid effort · Freshman pitcher Stephen Tarpley pitched well against the Ducks but was unable to lead the Trojans to a victory. - Luciano Nunez | Daily Trojan

This weekend epitomized the recurring problems the Trojans have faced all season: decent pitching plagued by anemic hitting. The Trojans scored eight runs over the three games against the Ducks and have plated just 13 on their seven-game skid.

On Sunday against the Ducks the Trojans’ short-lived 1-0 lead was the result of an error. Freshman second baseman Andres Rodriguez knocked a double with two outs in the second, but only scored because Oregon shortstop J.J. Antobelli couldn’t handle a ground ball by senior centerfielder Garret Houts.

The Trojans returned the favor in the fourth. Freshman pitcher Stephen Tarpley walked the first two batters of the inning to put runners on first and second. The Ducks attempted a sacrifice bunt, but the Trojans’ hurried throw to first was wild, tying the game and allowing all runners to advance an extra base.

Tarpley showed good mental grit to get out of the ensuing second and third with just the one run allowed. And USC looked to be in the driver’s seat when senior first baseman Matt Foat hit his third home run of the season in the fifth, a two-run shot to give the Trojans a 3-1 lead.

But Tarpley and the Trojans fell apart in the sixth. A leadoff walk followed by a double, RBI single and a sacrifice fly tied the game and chased Tarpley from the mound. Senior Brandon Garcia came on to stop the bleeding, but a bunt single gave the Ducks a 4-3 lead.

The Trojans threatened in the top of the eighth, putting runners at the corners with one out, but they were stranded. The Ducks tacked on two more in the bottom of the inning to cruise to a 6-3 win.

Such seemed to be the story for the Trojans on Saturday and Sunday as well. USC jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Saturday, but the Ducks plated a run in the second, third and fourth to jump in front 3-1 and went on to take a 4-2 victory.

On Friday USC fell a run short of an impressive comeback against Oregon pitcher Alex Keudell and lost 4-3.

Just a month ago, when the Trojans were 19-10 coming off a thrilling series win against a talented Cal team that is fighting for a postseason berth, USC was eying a shot at its first postseason appearance since 2005. That appears to be squarely out of the question now, especially with their last two Pac-12 series coming against top-15 teams in Arizona and UCLA.

3 replies
  1. frank
    frank says:

    Actually Triggs,Viramontes,Foat,Landecker,Sherrod should all have a look in the upcoming draft.All have had outstanding years given the circumstances.Two- three hitters cant do it all.Other teams know who they shouldnt pitch to..

  2. Ben Davis
    Ben Davis says:

    I’ll say my final piece and fade away… For three seasons I’ve followed this team closely and said little. Like so many, it was hard not to get overly excited this year by the team’s great start. I tempered my enthusiasm with realistic expectations that you can’t fix everything overnight. All in all, I think these boys did a much better job this season considering…

    Here are my parting thoughts for what their worth…
    1. If you are going to have a team made up primarily of undersized players, they better be quick, fast, crafty on the pads and hungry… Dante Flores is one great example. Cruz seems to be working on it!

    2. Bats, bats, bats… how disappointing, what else can I say? Tuff life for SC pitchers round these parts. Again, Cruz must be working on it!

    3. Pitching – to be blunt, we are simply being out coached here! The SC pitch sequence is so d@mn predictable that my 80 year old mum can tell you what comes next! … 0-2 – waste pitch, 1-2 – fishing pitch (inside fastball or outside corner non-strike hoping for a swing – scouted… no swing), 2-2 only now will the opposing batter become mildly interested… the same, every game, every time, every pitcher, opposing coaches and batters know it, announcers (and yes, my dear old mum) know it… pitch counts skyrockets and bad things happen! SC pitchers aren’t allowed to be aggressive, they can’t get into any sort of a rhythm with all those frequent long calls from the dugout on every pitch, they arn’t allowed to go after batters on 0-2, and all pitchers are pitched as though they are the same type of guy! It is almost like Hubbs is playing a video game from the sideline, staring excessively into his notebook and mashing buttons trying to pitch to the batter’s weaknesses as opposed to pitching pitchers to their strengths! Your staff is better than that!

    4. The fan experience, better numbers in the stands this year for sure! There was a buzz, Triggs at his best and Tarpley and his freshman cohort’s always seemed to put on a good show! Announcing both over the net and at the stadium was flat out embarrassing most of the time. I so looked forward to away games so that I could “feel” as though I was experiencing a top notch ballgame for a change!

    5. Media coverage, again, very poor. Almost as though the school is ashamed of the baseball program. But this year we actually had a team to be proud of! Still, in the beginning I frequently had to look to competitor’s websites to find out good stuff about our own players! With no promotion and no pride, how do you expect to attract top-notch recruits?

    Well I guess I’ve ranted enough! Triggs, best of luck in the draft! Tarpley, stay thirsty my friend! Best of luck to the rest of the seniors! All others, Fight On!

  3. Steve B.
    Steve B. says:

    The team has lost eight in a row after getting beat by WSU last night (3-1) up at Pullman. School is out and so is
    the season for all intent and purposes. Some good seniors leaving who never made it to the postseason. The
    great tradition of USC BASEBALL is a fading memory with no help from the athletic dept. these days.

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