Despite early victories, Trojans stumble to the finish line

For a team that started the year 7-0, 12-3 and 19-10, USC baseball went 4-22 in its last 26 games, including a dismal 1-15 stretch to end the season.

After getting swept by No. 5 UCLA last weekend in Westwood, the Trojans finished with a 23-32 record, going just 8-22 in Pac-12 Conference play. That record comes out to winning percentages of just .418 overall and .267 in conference play.

The .418 winning percentage is the program’s worst in 27 years, when the team went 24-44 (.333 winning percentage) in 1985. It is the fourth worst in the program’s history, behind 1985, 1982 (22-36, .390) and the team’s inaugural season in the Pacific Coast Conference in 1927 (7-14, .333).

No solution · Senior catcher Kevin Roundtree (left) and senior pitcher Andrew Triggs (right) were unable to lead the Trojans back on track. - Corey Marquetti | Summer Trojan

The 23 wins are the least by a USC team since that 1985 team won just 22. The 1982 team also won 23, but before that you have to go all the way back to 1957 to find a USC baseball team with so few wins. That team went 18-4.

The 32 losses are tied for fourth-worst in program history. The Trojans lost 44 games in 1985; 36 in 1982; 33 in 2006; and 32 in 2004, 2010 and 2012.

The .267 conference winning percentage is the program’s third-lowest. The worst was that catastrophic 1985 season, when the Trojans went just 5-25 (.167). In 2010 the Trojans went just 7-20 (.259) in conference.

Likewise, the eight conference wins are tied for the program’s third-lowest number since the Trojans went 3-5 in PCC play in 1945.

Finally, the 22 conference losses are the second-most in program history, after 1985.

The 2012 season completes what is unquestionably the worst 10-year span in the history of USC baseball. In the last 10 years, the Trojans have won 277 games and lost 295.

Of the 1,354 losses the USC baseball program has suffered in its 123-year history, nearly a quarter have come in the last 10 years. And that can’t be blamed on longer schedules; the Trojans have played in at least 40 games a season every year since 1960.

Just one time since 2002 have the Trojans had a winning season: in 2005 when it went 41-22 and made it to within one win of a trip to the College World Series. It is the only time in the last 10 years the Trojans have made it to the postseason. In the 10 years before that, the Trojans made it 10 times.

When the Trojans were 19-10, there was talk of ending that skid. Instead, the season took a turn for the worse.