Baseball takes two of three at Washington State

first_imgThe baseball team traveled to Pullman this weekend to take on Washington State, hoping to bounce back after being swept last weekend by Oregon. Riding the momentum of a midweek win over Long Beach State, the Trojans combined stifling pitching and timely hitting to take two out of three games against the Cougars.Redshirt junior Joe Navilhon drew the start for the series opener, and the right-hander turned in another solid performance since joining USC’s starting rotation. Navilhon tossed four innings of 2-run ball in a rain-shortened outing before making way for the bullpen after an hour-long delay. The Trojan bats managed to plate 2 runs before lightning stopped play, thanks to two RBI groundouts from seniors Timmy Robinson and David Oppenheim.Junior Bernardo Flores entered in place of Navilhon when the game resumed, and he kicked off a shutdown night for the USC relief corps. The lefty continued his renaissance out of the bullpen, pitching three scoreless innings. Junior Jeff Paschke came in for the eighth and ninth innings, keeping the game knotted at 2-2 with two more innings of shutout Trojan relief.USC finally broke the deadlock in the tenth, as senior AJ Ramirez lifted a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run. Freshman Dillon Paulson then drove in an insurance run with a RBI single to stake senior closer Brooks Kriske a 2-run lead for the bottom of the inning. Kriske breezed through a perfect tenth, clinching the series-opening win and his sixth save of the season.Senior Kyle Davis toed the rubber on Saturday, and he continued the Trojans’ excellent pitching during the series. The veteran gave the bullpen a rest with eight masterful innings, fanning nine while giving up just 1 run on three hits.USC’s offense smacked 3 home runs in support of Davis. Paulson went yard for the first time in his collegiate career to break a 1-1 deadlock in the top of the sixth, pulling a 2-run shot to right field. Ramirez and junior Jeremy Martinez also homered, and the Trojan bats opened a 5-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth. Senior Marc Huberman gave up 1 run but struck out two in the final inning to nail down the series win.The Trojans faltered on Sunday, though, falling 9-2 in a blowout. Sophomore Mitch Hart struggled in three innings of work, giving up 5 runs. Three more runs for Washington State in the seventh gave the Cougars a 9-1 advantage.The Trojans’ record sits at 18-20, with a 7-8 clip in conference play after the weekend. They are now 6-11 on the road.Next up for USC is a seven-game home stand, beginning with a midweek tilt against UC Irvine on Tuesday. The Trojans then welcome Arizona to Dedeaux Field over the weekend, as they look to continue their climb up the Pac-12 standings.last_img