Last weekend, the baseball team played its first Pac-12 series of the season, taking two of three games against Washington State at Dedeaux Field.
The Trojans started off the homestand with a major bang, as they defeated the Cougars 12-3 off of 15 hits in the Friday opener. Five different players in the lineup recorded multiple hits, while senior Corey Dempster led the way with three RBIs on his birthday.
“I was just trying to be more patient in the box,” Dempster said. “I decided to let the ball get to me and then be aggressive early and then with two strikes, really bear down and try to stop chasing pitches.”
Washington State led 1-0 on an RBI double in the second inning, however the advantage would not last long. In the bottom of the third with the bases loaded, Dempster launched a double to right field sending all baserunners home. After that game-changing swing, the Trojans’ offense was a runaway train. They would go on to score seven runs in the next two innings.
“[The pitcher] was coming at me with fastballs, and I was fouling them off,” Dempster said on his big hit. “I was just under them and I was trying to think of an adjustment, trying to get more on top. He threw another fastball away, and I just went with it. I was trying to get the ball deep and I did.”
USC carried over its momentum from an explosive Friday game into Saturday. This time, the hitting proved the difference once again as the lineup produced 11 hits en route to a 4-2 victory. Freshman catcher Blake Sabol recorded his first career highlight play with a two-run stand-up double in the second inning. In the bottom of the third, Dempster continued his hot streak with an RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0. He went 3-of-4 on the game with one run.
Pitching was also a strong suit for USC on Saturday. Junior Brad Wegman got the start after uneven performances in his previous four outings. This time Wegman was strong on the mound, giving up just one run in six innings with five strikeouts. His record improved to 2-2 on the season with a 5.06 ERA.
In the third and final game of the series on Sunday, the Trojans were unable to replicate their previous performances from the plate. Washington State pitcher Cody Anderson was excellent from the mound, throwing eight innings and striking out six batters.
After the Cougars left the first inning with a 1-0 lead, senior Cris Perez tied the game up with a
third-inning solo home run that was launched to left field. Washington State would respond with a run in the fifth to reclaim the lead. In the seventh inning, the game was broken open with a Cougar home run and sacrifice fly that extended the away team’s lead to 4-1. Pitchers Marrick Crouse and Solomon Bates gave up two runs apiece.
After going 2-1 against Washington State, the Trojans are 12-7 on the year. Next, they face UC Irvine on the road this Tuesday before returning home for a series with conference foe Arizona State.