Baseball defeats LMU, takes two of three from Oregon

Senior infielder Brandon Perez tallied seven hits over four games last week, including a clutch RBI single to give the Trojans a ninth inning lead over LMU. (Daily Trojan file photo)

The USC baseball team displayed a consistent offensive performance this weekend, producing a total of 25 runs in the team’s series win against Oregon.

Both teams entered the series near the bottom of the Pac-12 standings, and the Trojans celebrated the team’s outgoing veterans on Sunday’s Senior Day.

The series opener was highlighted by an offensive outburst that ended in a 10-6 victory.

The Trojans scored 3 runs in the first inning with RBIs from freshman infielder Clay Owens, sophomore designated hitter Trevor Halsema, and senior infielder Chase Bushor.

In the third inning, USC knocked in 2 runs with home runs from Owens and junior outfielder Brady Shockey. Owens finished the game with three RBIs and Shockey with two.

Junior pitcher Connor Lunn took advantage of the significant run support and pitched 6.2 dominant innings. Lunn shut out the Ducks through the first six frames, allowing 2 runs in the seventh before being removed for sophomore left-hander John Beller, who threw 1.1 perfect innings.

The Ducks tried to catch up, but it was a bit too late. The visiting team scored 4 runs in the ninth inning, but the Trojans’ early success proved to be too large a deficit to overcome.

“We hit the ball hard all night,” Hubbs said. “It gave us a cushion and we were able to use that to our advantage.”

The Trojans fell to the Ducks on Saturday, despite scoring 7 runs. Oregon scored 4 runs in the first inning and continued to add to its lead as the game progressed.

The Trojans attempted to counter with rallies of their own, but the Ducks sealed the game with a 3-run home run in the seventh inning. Oregon took game two by a score of 10-7.

Junior outfielder Blake Sabol finished the game with two RBIs and two hits, including a solo home run in the fifth inning. Bushor added two RBIs of his own with a double down the left field line in the eighth.

The Trojans clinched the series win with a commanding 8-2 victory on Sunday. USC took an early 3-run lead on a 2-run single from sophomore shortstop Ben Ramirez in the second inning. Ramirez would finish the game going 2-3 with two RBIs and one run scored.

Oregon countered with 2 runs of its own in the top of the third, but those were the only that the Ducks produced for the remainder of the game. Trojan sophomore pitcher Kyle Hurt was a major problem for the Ducks, pitching six innings and earning the win.

Hurt gave up just one hit and three walks, striking out seven batters.

Senior infielder Brandon Perez provided 2 insurance runs for USC in the sixth inning with a double down the left field line to make the score 5-2. Perez came out strong, finishing with two doubles and two RBIs in his final home game.

Junior outfielder Matthew Acosta effectively put the game out of reach with a 3-run homer in the seventh inning.

USC’s bullpen held the lead for the remainder of the game, ending the home schedule on a positive note.

“I am happy that we got a win on my last day at USC,” Perez said. “It definitely gives us a big confidence booster [going into next week].”

Prior to the series win, USC narrowly defeated LMU with a late inning comeback led by Perez. Perez drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning with a single up the middle, making the score 3-2.

The Trojans held the lead in the bottom of the ninth and split the season series with the Lions with one victory each.

“It was a struggle offensively for us,” head coach Dan Hubbs said after the matchup with LMU. “I was real pleased with our ability to stick with it.”

After facing UCI May 2nd. the Trojans will travel to Corvallis to face off against Oregon State Thursday. The Beavers are ranked 12th in the nation, currently hold a 35-16-1 overall record and stand at 20-6 in the Pac-12.

The team will play Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m., and the series will conclude with a noon Saturday game at Goss Stadium.