It's no secret that we've been a little critical of the USC baseball program in recent months, particularly manager Chad Kreuter who has orchestrated some of the worst single season performances in school history. Well, over the weekend, USC traveled to Pullman, Washington, only to be swept by No. 24 Washington State by a combined score of 46-13. Yes, you read that correctly. On Friday, the Cougars posted 20 runs, and a day later, that looked just as strong by putting 18 runs on the board. Remarkably, Sunday was the Trojans' most competitive outing, as they lost by a mere 6 runs. Hey, there's the progress we've all been looking for. Jeff Nusser from CougCenter.com, SB Nation's Washington State blog, points out the carnage from the weekend series:
USC isn't a great team, but nobody has done to the Trojans what we did this weekend in outscoring them 46-13. (Only UCLA, which outscored them 30-10, even came close.)
Essentially, Kreuter and company's dismal performance against the Cougars was a microcosm of the failures that have been pervasive ever since the former Dodgers catcher took over for his father-in-law Mike Gillespie four years ago. And this season has arguably been one of the worst in school history. Per Pedro Moura of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
After losing 20-7 on Friday and 18-4 on Saturday, USC (25-31, 5-19 in the Pac-10) allowed more runs in the weekend series than it had in any other three-game series in the history of the program.
The Trojans are also now locked into the last spot in the conference standings - at 5-19, with a conference winning percentage of .208, USC is a full five games behind ninth-place Oregon State. And, barring a three-game sweep of the Washington Huskies next weekend, coach Chad Kreuter's team will also be the only conference squad to register an under-.500 record on the season.
USC now needs to win each of its last four games in order to avoid the worst regular season of Kreuter's four-year tenure, with a mid-week game with Big West power UC Irvine looming Tuesday before the Washington series.
It's hard to envision any scenario in which Kreuter retains his job. Where's the improvement and positive direction after four years as head of the program? I don't want this to turn into another "Bash Kreuter" piece, but after a weekend like this, there isn't a whole lot to say.
Not to pile it on, but Michael Lev of the Orange County Register has his two-cents on the recent troubles regarding Trojan hardball:
The Trojans are an astoundingly awful 5-19 in Pac-10 play, guaranteeing their first last-place finish since 2007, Chat Kreuter's first year as coach. Kreuter is now 37-62 in league play. I have to believe this will be his last year, although with Mike Garrett making that call, you never know.
USC "clinched" last place by getting swept at Washington State over the weekend. It was the first sweep for the Cougars over the Trojans, and the 46 runs USC yielded were the most allowed in a three-game series in the history of the program.
Something needs to be fixed here. What do you think is wrong with the USC baseball program, and how would you go about repairing it?
While it doesn't take a baseball scout to point out that something is wrong with the program, it is important to realize that some sort of change needs to imminent whether that involves firing Kreuter or not. USC is a program with 12 national champions, far and away the most of any collegiate institution on the Division-1 level. In turn, to be finishing in last place in the Pac-10 is flat out unacceptable. With all the history and success on the diamond, it's entirely pathetic for the Trojans to not only finish in the bottom half of the league, but to be embarrassed by schools like Washington State, which just started its program two years ago.
Somethings needs to be done about all of this. And Mike Garrett, I'm looking at you.