Trojans Fall 6-5 in Heartbreaking Walkoff Fashion in Game Three at Utah|
May 15, 2017
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Trojans dropped a heartbreaker at Utah in game three of the series, as a walkoff two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth pushed the Utes over the Trojans, 6-5 on Monday evening.
The Trojans (19-28, 6-18 Pac-12) were down 3-0 after the second inning, but chipped away at the lead, tallying one run in the top of the third inning on a Frankie Rios (Lakewood, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) double. The Utes (24-21, 12-12 Pac-12) answered with one more in the bottom of the third, pushing their lead to 4-1.
The Trojans then answered in a big way in the top of the fourth inning, tallying four runs to take a 5-4 lead. Lars Nootbaar (El Segundo, Calif./El Segundo HS) tallied a two-run triple, his second of the game. On the day he tallied three extra-base hits, two triples and one double. Brandon Perez (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei HS) then homered with two outs to left center, bringing home two more runs to give the Trojans a 5-4 lead. The two-run homer was the first long ball of B. Perez’s career.
A highlight for the Trojans in the loss was right-handed reliever Solomon Bates (Victorville, Calif./Oak Hills HS). After starter Marrick Crouse (Dana Point, Calif./Dana Hills HS) was touched up for three runs on four hits with three walks in just 1.2 innings of work, Bates came in and shored things up for the Trojans. He threw a career-high 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts, tying his career high.
The Trojans had a chance for an insurance run in the sixth and ninth innings,
but were unable to plate more runs.
Trojan reliever Connor Lunn (Carlsbad, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) entered in the eighth and put up a zero for the Trojans. Then in the ninth, despite a leadoff single, he looked to be getting out of the jam. After a sac bunt to advance the runner, Lunn got a big second out in a strikeout of Zack Moeller. He then had Wade Gulden down to his last strike, but after a very long at bat, Gulden got the best of Lunn, hitting a two-run homer to right to walkoff the Trojans, 6-5.
Utah reliever Tanner Thomas, who put up a zero in the ninth earned the win.
The Trojans will head home to the friendly confines of Dedeaux Field for one last homestand on the year. First the Trojans host UC Santa Barbara at 6 p.m. PT on Wednesday, May 17. The game will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.