Trojans Bust Out of the Gates, Defeat Washington State 12-3 in Pac-12 Opener|
March 17, 2017
LOS ANGELES – The Trojans came out of the gates strong in the Pac-12 opener, defeating visiting Washington State 12-3 on Friday evening at Dedeaux Field.
The Trojans (11-6, 1-0 Pac-12) tallied their 12 runs on 15 hits, taking advantage of four Cougar (10-6, 0-1 Pac-12) errors, while holding them offensively to just three runs on eight hits.
Trojan starter Chris Clarke (Westlake Village, Calif./Newbury Park HS) was outstanding in his second start of the season, throwing a career-high seven innings, holding the Cougars to just three runs (two earned) on eight hits with just one walk while tying his career-high of seven strikeouts. He earned the win to advance to 2-0 on the year.
Trojan reliever Connor Lunn (Carlsbad, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) followed Clarke, tossing two scoreless innings in relief, not allowing a hit with two walks and four strikeouts.
Offensively the Trojans were led by Corey Dempster (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS) who had a great birthday game, going two-for-four with a team-high three RBIs. Matthew Acosta (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala HS) tallied a team-high three hits, driving in two runs while scoring one more. Frankie Rios (Lakewood, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) was two-for-four with two RBIs, while Lars Nootbaar (El Segundo, Calif./El Segundo HS) and Cris Perez (Miami, Fla./Duke) each had two hits on the day.
The lone big fly of the game came off the bat of pinch hitter Austin Russ (Valencia, Calif./Hart HS), a solo shot in the sixth inning, the first of his career.
The Trojans had the leadoff man on in each of the first five frames and scored in five of eight offensive half innings.
After the Cougars took a 1-0 lead in the second inning after an unearned run came around to score on a fielding error by Dempster, the Trojans answered back with three runs in the third inning, with Dempster redeeming himself with a bases-clearing double with two outs to put the Trojans up 3-1.
From that inning on the Trojans never looked back, taking advantage of Cougar errors that extended innings, with three runs in the fourth inning on just one hit and two Cougar errors. They added four more in the fifth on three hits with one error.
After Russ’ home run in the sixth inning, the Trojans once again took advantage of an error in the eighth inning, plating a 12th run on one hit with one error.
Cougar starter Damon Jones was lifted in the fifth inning after just 4.2 innings of work, allowing 10 runs, but only three earned, on 11 hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Overall just four of the 12 runs scored by the Trojans were earned runs for the Cougars.
The Trojans will be back in action on Saturday, hosting the Cougars for game two of the series at 2 p.m. PT.