USC baseball looks to improve record at Southern California College Baseball Classic this weekend

Redshirt junior infielder Ben Ramirez looks to produce offensively for the Trojans in this weekend’s series. (Daily Trojan File Photo)

USC baseball will host Cal State Fullerton Friday, Pepperdine Saturday and will travel to No. 8 UCLA Sunday as a part of the Southern California College Baseball Classic. 

USC will co-host the classic with UCLA. Formerly known as the Dodger Stadium classic, the tournament moved to USC’s Dedeaux Field and UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium last year due to stadium renovations. 

In last year’s Southern California College Baseball Classic USC won their first two games 2-1 against the then-defending national champions Vanderbilt, and TCU. They then suffered a 15-3 blowout loss to UCLA in their third game. 

The Trojans enter the classic with a 3-3 record after losing their second series of the season 2-1 against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last weekend. 

USC lost their first game of the series against Cal Poly Friday 2-1 and struggled during their second game Saturday in a 9-4 loss. 

On Sunday, the Trojans came out strong, going up 6-0 after the first two innings. As USC’s offense slowed down, the defense struggled to keep the lead, allowing Cal Poly to cut their deficit to 7-4 after the seventh inning. USC’s defense held on at the end of the game, holding the Mustangs to only one run in each of the last two innings to secure the win. 

The win was important for the Trojans confidence after not having a fall season and just getting back into competitive play. 

“I think getting that win gives us a little more positive thinking going into this week and going into the work week before this upcoming weekend,” redshirt junior infielder Ben Ramirez said.   

Head coach Jason Gill felt that the defense was the main issue for USC both in their losses and on Sunday allowing Cal Poly to make such a big comeback. 

“The guys we have out there are capable, we just aren’t very confident defensively,” Gill said. “It’s our defense in all this stuff that has really been a problem for us so far.” 

Ramirez agreed with his coach. 

“I think we are still just working out some kinks with our defense and with our mindset,” Ramirez said. “So I think as the season goes on and we play more games and get more used to the team we have right here, I think we are going to be better for sure.”

Gill took a different approach to practice this week in order to try and fix the defense and confidence issues. 

“We are going to run some stuff, probably some old school stuff that I haven’t done in a while to get these guys confident and get them playing a better game of catch,” Gill said. “We are going to go to the drawing board and figure out this defense; we need to by this Friday for sure.” 

Gill and company will look to redeem themselves against Cal State Fullerton at 5 p.m. Friday at Dedeaux Field.