No. 8 USC Beats Top-Ranked Baseball, 2-1, In First Game Of Key Pac-10 Series

April 20, 2001

Los Angeles, Calif. - Sophomore catcher Alberto Concepcion homered over the rightcenter field fence to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning and lift No. 8 USC (28-13, 9-4 Pac-10) to a 2-1 victory over No. 1 Stanford (31-9, 10-3 Pac-10) in the opener of a key three-game Pac-10 series at Dedeaux Field. USC moved to within one game of Stanford in the Pac-10 race as the Cardinal dropped its second game in a row for the first time this season. Mark Prior struck out 12 and tossed his fourth complete game of the season as he outdueled Stanford's Jeremy Guthrie (8-2). Prior scattered five hits and one run, while Guthrie allowed six hits and two runs. Prior (11-1, 1.18) revenged his only loss this season on March 9 at Stanford when Guthrie tossed a complete game shutout to defeat Trojans, 2-0.

Stanford had a final chance off Prior when the Cardinal put runners on first and second with only one out in the top of the ninth inning on a leadoff single by Ryan Garko and a hit batsmen. Prior then came back to force Scott Dragicevich into a fielders choice and struck out Mario Garza to end the game.

'Prior and Guthrie are two of the better pitchers in the Pac-10 and this was a classic pitching matchup,' said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess following the game. 'Obviously, the big homer by Concepcion in the bottom of the eighth is the difference in the game.'

'I was trying to go outside corner on the home run (that Concepcion hit),' said Guthrie. 'He did a good job of hitting the ball into the gap like he's supposed to do.'

Stanford opened the scoring with a run in the first inning when Carlos Quentin hit an RBI double off the rightcenter field fence to score Chris O'Riordan, who had drawn a one out walk and reached second base on his team-leading 13th stolen base of the season.

The Trojans tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning when the first three hitters singled off Guthrie. Brian Barre led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a base hit by Seth Davidson. Anthony Lunetta then singled home Barre and USC had runners on first and third with no outs. Guthrie struck out Bill Peavey for the first out of the inning and retired Josh Persell on a 5-4-3 double play to get out of the jam.

Neither team mounted a serious threat once the score was tied at 1-1 with no runners moving past first base until Concepcion's home run.

Quentin (2-4, 2B, RBI) and USC's Michael Moon (2-3) were the only players for either team with more than one hit.

Stanford and USC will continue their three-game series Saturday (1 pm) with a game to be televised live nationally by FOX Sports Net. The series will conclude on Sunday (1 pm).

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