No. 22 USC Drops 14-Inning Heartbreaker to Rival UCLA 5-3 at Dodger Stadium|
March 6, 2016
LOS ANGELES – The No. 22 Trojans dropped a 14-inning heartbreaker to crosstown rival UCLA 5-3 at Dodger Stadium on Sunday evening, the culmination of the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic.
The 14 inning nonconference game between the two storied rivals was the longest contest in series history. Two previous battles in 1948 and 1993 lasted 13 innings apiece.
The Trojans (6-5) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first two innings, but the Bruins (6-5) battled back to tie things with one run in the third and two more in the fourth. The deadlock lasted until the top of the 14th when the Bruins eventually broke the tie with a single and a fielding error by the Trojan shortstop on a tough infield single with two outs by UCLA’s Christoph Bono, allowing two runs to come home.
The Trojans had a chance to break the deadlock with base runners in the fifth through eighth innings and again in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings. Four of those were runners in scoring position. However, the Trojans were unable to get the big hit and uncharacteristically struggled to get the sac bunt down.
In the bottom of the 14th down 5-3 however, the Trojans showed great fight, as Reggie Southall (Inglewood, Calif./Serra HS) battled to get a single, followed by a first pitch single from Lars Nootbaar (El Segundo, Calif./El Segundo HS) right back up the middle to put two on against Bruin reliever Scott Burke. Corey Dempster (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS) successfully executed the sacrifice to put the game-tying runs in scoring position with just one out. However, Trojan three and four hitters Jeremy Martinez (Fountain Valley, Calif./Mater Dei HS) and Timmy Robinson (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View HS) were unable to bring home the runners, as the game ended on two pop outs.
David Oppenheim (Mercer Island, Wash./College of the Canyons) continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-4 with one walk on the day. Southall also seemingly came out of his hitting slump with a 3-for-6 outing at the plate. AJ Ramirez (Phoenix, Ariz./Bakersfield Christian HS) led the team with 2 RBI, both coming off a huge bases-clearing double in the bottom of the first.
On the day, the Trojans stranded 13 base runners, while UCLA stranded 15.
Trojan reliever Marc Huberman (Los Angeles, Calif./Hamilton HS) took his first loss of the year, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with three walks and one strikeout in 2.2 innings of work.
Starter Brent Wheatley (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) threw four complete innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Reliever Joe Navilhon (Brentwood, Calif./Chabot College) threw three scoreless innings and Brooks Kriske (Palm Desert, Calif./Palm Desert HS) and Jeff Paschke (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) each threw two scoreless innings. CJ Stubbs (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) entered in the top of the 14th inning to get the Trojans out of the inning without any further damage.
The Trojans will regroup before heading out on the road to face a tough No. 11-ranked TCU squad in Ft. Worth starting Friday, March 11.