After losing two of three games to Arizona last weekend, the USC baseball team has now lost three consecutive series and four of its last five series overall.
But unlike those other series losses, they didn’t get swept thsi time around.
Having not won a game in the month of May, the Trojans (23-27, 8-19) entered a three-game home stand against No. 14 Arizona on an eight-game losing skid: three against Washington, three against No. 5 Oregon, and singular midweek losses at No. 20 Cal State Fullerton and at Washington State.
That eight-game slide extended to nine with an 11-1 throttling at the hands of the Wildcats Friday night at Dedeaux Field.
But on Saturday the Trojans hit their stride with an 8-4 victory over the Wildcats (36-16, 18-9).
Making his second-to-last start as a Trojan and his last at Dedeaux Field, senior Andrew Triggs made it count. The four-year fixture in the Trojans’ rotation went seven strong innings, allowing just three runs on nine hits.
But down 3-2 in the sixth inning, the Trojans were in danger of squandering yet another quality outing from their pitching ace as they have done numerous times this season.
The Trojans were being no-hit into the sixth, but responded with seven knocks in the sixth, including five in a row at one point to vault to an 8-3 lead.
Arizona did get one back in the ninth, but it was no matter as the Trojans coasted to an 8-4 win.
After regaining some momentum Saturday, the Trojans hoped to steal the series from the Wildcats on Sunday’s senior day.
Eleven seniors were honored in what was the Trojans last conference home game of the season.
USC took an early 1-0 lead on senior catcher Kevin Roundtree’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the first inning.
But Roundtree allowed the Wildcats to tie the game on a passed ball in the top of the second, the first of the Trojan errors on the day.
After giving up back-to-back singles to lead off the second, freshman pitcher Stephen Tarpley committed a throwing error — the second Trojan error of the day — on a sacrifice bunt attempt to load the bases with no outs.
Following a strikeout, Tarpley walked in the go-ahead run and gave up a two-RBI single to give the Wildcats a commanding 4-1 lead.
Freshman second baseman Andres Rodriguez proceeded to boot a grounder to give another score to the Wildcats. He had not committed any errors up to that point this season.
Tarpley rebounded, going six strong innings with just two earned runs (but five in total).
For the first time in nine games, the Trojans outhit their opponent (9-8 on Sunday), but could not parlay those baserunners into runs, with Roundtree’s homer serving as the lone run in a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Arizona.
The Trojans play their final home game of the season tonight at 6 p.m. when they host UC Riverside at Dedeaux Field, and they wrap up their season with three games against crosstown-rival No. 3 UCLA in Westwood over the weekend.