Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
Bruins sophomore Grant Watson performed on the hill, while the USC relievers struggled immensely.
Due to the current renovations going on at Dodger Stadium, this year's Dodgertown Classic between the USC and UCLA baseball teams was cancelled, and the Trojans traveled across town to Jackie Robinson Stadium to face the Bruins after breaking even in non-conference play with a 7-7 record. Unfortunately, USC was no match for the nationally-ranked Bruins, losing 6-1 in a game that got lopsided in the late going.
The tone of the match was set early, as UCLA leadoff hitter Brian Carroll made a base hit and was bunted over to second. Then, when he attempted to steal third, Carroll's slide prevented USC's James Roberts from making the catch, allowing the ball to roll into foul territory and for Carroll to score the first run of the game for UCLA.
For the next four innings, the game settled into a rhythm. USC only got two men on base through the first five innings, as sophomore pitcher Grant Watson kept the Trojans hitless until the fifth inning. Meanwhile, SC's freshman starter Kyle Twomey repeatedly found himself pitching out of a jam. The pattern broke in the sixth inning, when USC tied the game thanks to a home run by right fielder Vahn Bozoian, his first as a Trojan.
But in the bottom half of the sixth, Twomey was given the hook after 112 pitches and replaced by freshman reliever Sean Adler. After a walk, a single, and a hit by pitch loaded the bases, UCLA sophomore Kevin Kramer knocked one down the first base line that resulted in a 3-run RBI double. The Bruins would not look back, adding two more insurance runs in the eighth to eliminate the need for a save attempt. Adler was handed the loss, while Watson took the win and improved to 3-0 after an impressive seven inning performance in which he only allowed one run and three hits while pitching three strikeouts and no walks.
If you need any further evidence that USC's revenue sports have gone completely down the tubes, then here's a stat for you: in the last 25 games played, USC is 5-20 against UCLA, and has not won a season series against them since 2004. Keep in mind that in that nine year span, UCLA has made seven postseason appearances and reached the College World Series twice, while USC has not reached the postseason since 2005.
At the present, USC has hit a slump at the worst possible time, losing five of their last six. The only victory in that span was a 5-3 victory in the rain against #10 Oklahoma. After a Tuesday night game against Pepperdine, the Trojans will have their first Pac-12 series with a three game home stand against Oregon, who is ranked #12. In fact, USC will be facing SIX Pac-12 teams that are currently ranked in the top 30. Along with the Ducks and Bruins, there's Oregon State, Stanford, ASU, and the defending national champions, Arizona.
Get ready. This season could be a long one.