Baseball suffers first sweep of season at No. 13 Arizona
Katie Chin | Daily Trojan Looking ahead · Freshman catcher Blake Sabol and USC will look to rebound quickly after taking a tough sweep at Arizona last weekend.The baseball team was swept over the weekend on the road by No. 13 Arizona, unable to salvage a game on Sunday in a 8-1 loss to the Wildcats. The Trojans (15-11, 4-5) had dropped the first two games of the weekend 9-4 and 5-1, and they came up short again in the series finale to suffer their first series sweep this season.The Trojans started Game 1 strong, leading off the top of the first inning with a single by redshirt junior shortstop Frankie Rios and the bottom of the first inning with a strikeout by freshman starter Chris Clarke. Clarke went 4.2 innings on 98 pitches, 62 of them strikes. He had good control during his outing, giving up only one walk and striking out three. The Trojans had kept the game close through four innings. After giving up two early runs in the first inning (only one earned), USC got them back on a solo home run by senior designated hitter Cris Perez in the third inning, his second of the year, and a double by freshman centerfielder Matthew Acosta that scored sophomore second baseman Brandon Perez in the fourth inning. Clarke ran into trouble in the fifth, however, and was pulled after giving up five runs. Sophomore pitcher Solomon Bates entered in relief, going 1.1 innings. Bates gave up two runs in the seventh to end his night and he was relieved by freshman pitcher Connor Lunn, and Lunn closed out the game for USC with two scoreless innings. The Trojans were presented with several scoring opportunities throughout the game but were unable to capitalize, and they stranded two more runners in the ninth to seal a 9-4 loss.Sophomore CJ Stubbs started Game 2 on Saturday in his first career weekend start. Like in Game 1, the Trojans were able to get the leadoff batter on, a walk for redshirt senior infielder David Edson. Nootbaar then hit a triple to drive him in and give USC a 1-0 lead. Despite giving up his first walk of the season, Stubbs worked his way out of the first inning by getting junior centerfielder Jared Oliva to hit into an inning-ending double play. Stubbs got into a little trouble in the bottom of the third inning. After issuing his third walk of the day, he gave up two runs on singles and a wild pitch. He got out of the inning with his first strikeout of the day.Stubbs’ day ended after the fifth inning, where he gave up three more runs on a 2-run home run and an RBI single. Junior pitcher Brad Wegman took over in the sixth, going three hitless innings with two strikeouts. The remainder of the game went quietly, with no hits on either side. In Game 3, the struggle to score continued to plague the Trojans as they stranded runners in scoring position in multiple innings. Arizona tagged Crouse for a run early, capitalizing on two walks with a 2-out bloop single; however, Crouse limited the damage with a flyout to left field. He ran into trouble again in the third however, giving up another run on a walk and a single. Freshman pitcher Austin Manning came in to relieve Crouse in the third with two down and a runner on first. Manning gave up two runs on two hits to put the Wildcats ahead 4-0 in the bottom of the third. Arizona continued to cash in the free passes, scoring another run in the fifth after a walk and a run scoring single off of Manning. The usually spot-on defense had a small stumble on Sunday, letting a few runs score on passed balls and a fielding error. The Trojans offense was present in every inning, getting at least one base runner on. But their only run came off of a solo home run by in the eighth inning, his third of the year. Though the Trojans dropped the series finale to the Wildcats 8-1, they managed to outhit Arizona 10 to 8. There were home runs by Perez and Dempster as well as positive outings from pitchers Lunn, Wegman and Longrie. The Trojans evidently have few issues getting guys on base; however, they are struggling with bringing runners in. The Trojans next face Long Beach State at Long Beach on Tuesday at 6 p.m.A previous version of this article stated that pitcher Connor Lunn was a sophomore. He is a freshman. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.