USC tries to snap three-game skid against Nevada

Redshirt junior infielder Ben Ramirez makes a throw in USC’s 11-5 loss to Pepperdine. Ramirez is tied for a team-high with nine hits this season. (Peter Gastis | Daily Trojan)

USC baseball will host Nevada this weekend for a three-game weekend series at Dedeaux Field. 

The Trojans enter the series with a 3-6 record, coming off three consecutive losses to Cal State Fullerton, Pepperdine and UCLA at the Southern California College Baseball Classic last weekend. Dating back to their series against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the Trojans have won just one of their last six games. 

Despite the rough start, head coach Jason Gill is still confident in the team’s ability to bounce back. 

“We have enough talent out here to start winning baseball games; we just haven’t put it together yet,” Gill said. “Bad news is, it’s a bad start. Good news is that it’s early in the year, and we have time to turn it around.” 

Gill said USC is still getting settled after an extended offseason due to the coronavirus. 

“We’re going through some growing pains,” Gill said. “We didn’t have a fall, so we’re still trying to figure some things out, and I feel like we have had a good week of practice so far, so I’m confident we will turn it around here shortly and start playing better baseball.” 

USC was initially set to face Pepperdine again Tuesday, but the game was canceled due to Pepperdine’s coronavirus-related safety policies. 

After Gill and company dropped the series to San Luis Obispo two weeks ago, Gill said he felt the defense was the main issue with the team. The defense continued to struggle last weekend, allowing a combined 26 runs in three games, just under nine runs per game. 

“We, obviously, need to clean up our defense,” Gill said. “We’re still making way too many errors, and they’re controllable things; it’s things that we can get better at in terms of catch play.”

The defense is not the only issue for the Trojans, as the offense managed to put up just six runs in their three-game skid.

“Offensively, we gotta get that going as well,” Gill said. “That’s supposed to be our strength — it’s supposed to be our offense, so we haven’t been very good there as well, so we got a lot of work to do in a lot of areas.”

Nevada is a non-conference game, which will give the Trojans a chance to improve before Pac-12 play opens against Washington next weekend. 

Nevada defeated San Luis Obispo in a 3-1 series win in their season opener, and come into the series with a 4-4 record. The Wolf Pack’s most recent game was March 2, a 13-4 loss to Arizona State. Nevada will be returning to action against USC following a 10-day break following the postponement of its weekend series with San Jose State last weekend.

“It [would] be nice to get some momentum going into conference play next week against Washington,” Gill said. “Obviously, when you win, you feel better about yourself and you feel better about the work you put in and it keeps you going in the right direction, so any type of momentum we could get going into next week would be awesome.” 

This weekend gives the Trojans a chance to gain the momentum they have been looking for early in the season. First pitch between USC and Nevada is Friday at 5 p.m.