Senior centerfielder Timmy Robinson rejoiced as he strutted to first base after collecting his second walk-off hit already in this baseball season, when his single to left field in the bottom of the tenth inning scored redshirt sophomore Frankie Rios.
The baseball team survived the Pepperdine Waves in dramatic fashion Tuesday night winning 6-5 in an eventful game that involved five lead changes and 24 hits from the two teams to improve the Trojans to a 13-14 record.
After being named Pac-12 Player of the Week for his team high .462 batting average last week, Robinson said that his goal for the remainder of the season is to remain consistent and focused on the field.
“I just wanted to put the ball in play,” said Robinson. “A strikeout does nothing there. I got a little anxious early in the count, but I just stuck with it and he eventually gave me a fastball which I could do something with and just stayed over it and found the hole.”
USC’s first run was scored by junior leftfielder Corey Dempster who led off with a double. Two ground balls advanced him to home with the RBI going to junior catcher Jeremy Martinez.
After allowing one hit in the first inning, USC freshman pitcher CJ Stubbs let up the first 2 runs for the Waves in the second after hitting a batter that led to one run being scored on a single to right field. After another single from Waves freshman leftfielder Matthew Kanfer allowed Pepperdine to bring 1 run in but a second was stopped from scoring after Martinez tagged him out at home plate.
USC responded in the bottom of the second inning and tied the game at 2 runs a piece after back-to-back singles from sophomore third baseman Adalberto Carrillo and Ramirez. Dempster singled to right field to score 1 run and the inning ended when a second runner was cut down at the plate.
Stubbs allowed 4 runs on seven hits through five innings against the Waves. He also posted six strikeouts. After Stubbs was pulled, the pitching combination of seniors Brent Wheatley, Marc Huberman and Brooks Kriske only gave up 1 run through the remaining five innings.
Head coach Dan Hubbs was pleased with the results from his bullpen.
“What I was really excited about was just to see Brent [Wheatley] to come in and pitch two scoreless,” Hubbs said. “You know, he has been scuffling, and I think he is starting to turn the corner, and we are going to need that because we are going to need him to become a big part of what we do.”
The Trojans took their second lead of the contest in the fourth inning after Carrillo initiated the Trojans’ offense with a leadoff double. Carrillo advanced to third base thanks to the efforts of senior first baseman AJ Ramirez’s sacrifice bunt, and scored the only run of the inning as a result of a single from freshman first baseman Dillon Paulson.
USC tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when a Martinez single to right-center field scored senior outfielder David Oppenheim who had doubled to right field as the previous batter. Martinez had three hits on five at-bats leading to two RBI’s.
Robinson scored in the sixth to give the Trojans the lead once more when Carillo hit a sacrifice fly to right center. Two scoreless innings would ensue until Pepperdine’s junior shortstop Manny Jefferson hit a solo home run to left field.
The game went to extra innings where Kriske closed without allowing a run in the tenth. The second batter of the inning for Pepperdine was sophomore second baseman Chase Lambert who singled before advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Lambert advanced to third on a ground out. With two outs, Kriske hit the batter, junior centerfielder Jeremy Goldentz. With two runners on base and a full count, Matthew Kanfer grounded out to third, and USC escaped.
The leadoff batter was Oppenheim who was walked. Rios entered the game as a pinch runner, and Martinez hit a single to left field that allowed Rios to advance to third. The walkoff hit came from Robinson when he hit a single to left field. Rios scored ending the game.