USC baseball can't complete series sweep at Utah

USC baseball wins series at Utah, but can't complete sweep

USC was just two outs away from a road series sweep at Utah, but couldn't finish off the scrappy Utes, falling Sunday afternoon at Smith's Ballpark, 8-5.

Closer Kyle Davis entered the game in the ninth inning with two men on, one out and USC holding a 5-4 lead. Davis induced an inning-ending double play, but it was one batter too late as Dallas Carroll had promptly greeted Davis with an RBI single up the middle to tie the game.

Things didn't get better for Davis in extra innings. Max Schuman led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a single. A sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk brought pinch-hitter Biss Larsen to the plate. Larsen got a 2-1 fastball on the inner half and jumped all over it, crushing it over the left-field fence for a walk-off, three-run homer.

Twelfth-ranked USC (32-14) opened the game up by scoring two runs in the first inning on a Timmy Robinson run-scoring single and an RBI double from Dante Flores. A.J. Ramirez's two-run triple in the third inning put the Trojans ahead, 4-1, but Utah (15-27) got two runs back in the bottom half of the inning.

Ramirez singled home another run to make it 5-3 in his next at bat. However, the Utes wouldn't go away, scoring a run in the seventh inning before tying it in the ninth, leading to the 10th-inning dramatics.

It was a disappointing finish to the weekend for the Trojans after they took the first two games to assure a series victory.

Ramirez, who had been in and out of the lineup after struggling the last month, had a monster weekend to lead an offensive attack that tallied 25 runs on 35 hits. He finished the weekend notching seven hits with five of them going for extra bases -- two doubles, two triples and a homer. He drove in 10 runs.

Five of Ramirez's RBIs came Saturday. He blasted a grand slam in a five-run fourth inning. Two innings later, he hit an RBI triple and scored later in the inning on Garrett Stubbs' two-run double that put USC up, 8-1. The Utes scored four runs in the seventh inning but couldn't get any closer than that, falling, 8-5.

The Trojans took a 12-7 win in the series opener Friday night. Brent Wheatley came out of the bullpen to pitch six solid innings, giving up two runs and five hits to pick up his third win. Jeremy Martinez had three hits and was one of five USC batters to collect two RBIs.

With the series win, USC improved to 13-8 in Pac-12 play and currently sits in fourth place, three games behind UCLA. The Trojans return home to host UC Irvine on Tuesday at 6 p.m. It is the final midweek game for USC and there shouldn't be a lack of motivation. The Anteaters have beaten USC the last three games and were the final team to make the NCAA tournament last season, just ahead of the Trojans.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
55°