Trojans a Bright Spot Through the Rain as They Defeat Utah 5-2 |
April 8, 2016
LOS ANGELES – The Trojans with an all-around 5-2 team victory over Pac-12 leader Utah in game one of the three-game series on a rainy Friday evening at Dedeaux Field.
The Trojans (14-14, 4-3 Pac-12) took the lead in the fifth inning and never looked back, adding an insurance run in the sixth and two in the eighth to take game one over the Utes (10-16, 7-3 Pac-12).
AJ Ramirez (Phoenix, Ariz./Bakersfield Christian HS) led the Trojans with a 2-for-3 day at the plate, scoring two runs and driving in another on a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning to tie the game.
Overall the Trojans tallied five runs on five hits, with David Oppenheim (Mercer Island, Wash./College of the Canyons), Jeremy Martinez (Fountain Valley, Calif./Mater Dei HS) and Timmy Robinson (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View HS) each had one hit on the day to go with Ramirez’s two. Martinez led the way by driving in two runs.
Starter Joe Navilhon (Brentwood, Calif./Chabot College) was gleaming in his fourth start of the year, throwing seven complete innings (longest outing to-date), allowing just two runs on eight hits, while walking just two and striking out a career high nine in the victory.
After Navilhon minimized damage in the second inning, holding the Utes to just one run, Ramirez tied the game up with one swift swing of the bat in the bottom half of the inning, blasting a solo shot for his fourth home run of the year.
In the fifth inning, Reggie Southall (Inglewood, Calif./Serra HS) came through with an RBI ground out to take the lead, 2-1.
After the Utes answered with another run of their own in the sixth off a Max Schuman single, to tie the game at 2-2, the Trojans took the lead back for good in the bottom half of the inning, with Martinez delivering the RBI groundout to plate Corey Dempster (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS), who reached on an error to lead off the inning.
With a 3-2 lead, the Trojans got to the Utes’ bullpen in the eighth inning, touching up reliever Andre Jackson for two runs as Martinez and Robinson delivered an RBI double and single, respectively, to push the lead to 5-2.
Trojan closer Brooks Kriske (Palm Desert, Calif./Palm Desert HS) entered with two down and a runner on 2nd in the eighth inning in relief of Jeff Paschke (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS). Kriske allowed two hits, but all four of the outs he recorded were strikeouts to collect his team-leading fifth save of the year.
Ute starter Jayson Rose took the loss after going 7.0 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Game two of the series, weather permitting, is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT on Saturday (April 8). Please check back at usctrojans.com and on Twitter (@USC_Baseball) for any weather-related game time updates that may arise.