Baseball Wins Pac-10 Conference Outright Title With 13-3 Win At UCLA
May 26, 2002
LOS ANGELES - Freshman Joey Metropoulos went 3-for-5 with a double, home run and seven RBI Sunday and the No. 21 USC Trojans won the Pac-10 Conference title outright with a 13-3 win against the host UCLA Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Trojans won back-to-back conference titles for the first time since the 1995-1996 seasons and their fourth title in the last eight years. It was the fifth title under head coach Mike Gillespie and 38th in school history. USC also secured the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
USC finishes the 2002 regular season with a 34-22 record and 17-7 conference record while UCLA finishes 26-35 overall and 9-15 in the Pac-10. The Trojans are now 15-3 against the Bruins in the last three years. USC swept UCLA in all six games for only the second time since 1972 when the format of playing home-and-home series changed (USC went 6-0 against UCLA in 1984).
With the win, USC also clinched the first-annual Lexus Gauntlet trophy presented to the Trojans by the Southern California Lexus Dealer Association. Although both teams scored 55 points in the yearlong all-sports competition, USC's baseball sweep gave the Trojans the advantage in the tiebreaker.
The battle for the Lexus Gauntlet trophy saw the Trojans and Bruins compete against each other in 18 sports. Five points were awarded to the winner of the each sport's season series or, for those sports that did not meet head-to-head, the team that placed higher in the conference championship (10 points were awarded in football, men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball).
After starting the season with 22 games on the road due to renovations at Dedeaux Field, the Trojans ended the regular season by winning 22 of their last 31 games.
Freshman Brett Bannister (7-3) picked up his second win in three games with 3 1/3 innings in relief, allowing one run on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts. He pitched six scoreless innings in Friday's 5-4 win in 12 innings (6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 SO). Junior Cory Campos picked up his fifth save of the season with 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits.
UCLA took a 2-0 lead after three innings on an RBI single by third baseman Brandon Averill and solo home run by center fielder Rashad Parker off USC starter Matt Chico. Bruin starter Chris Cordeiro retired the first nine batters he faced before the Trojans took the lead for good in the fourth.
With runners at first and second, Metropoulos hit his 13th homer of the season with a three-run shot to left center for a 3-2 USC lead. Right fielder Travis McAndrews led off the fifth with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice by left fielder Michael Morales. Third baseman Jon Brewster hit a sacrifice fly ball to left, scoring Morales. Senior center fielder Brian Barre followed with a solo shot to right, his 11th of the season.
Freshman Wes Whisler cut the Trojans' lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth with his 18th home run of the season after hitting a solo shot to left center.
In the top of the eighth, Bill Peavey was walked intentionally to load the bases for Metropoulos. He hit a line drive over Parker's head in left center for a two-run single as Peavey was thrown out at third on the relay. Morales finished the six-run eighth with his first career home run with a three-run shot to left.
Metropoulos completed his day with a two-run double to center in the ninth, one RBI away from the school record for most in one game.
The Trojans will find out their postseason fate tomorrow (May 27) when the NCAA Tournament pairings, along with the 16 host sites for the NCAA First-Round Regional, will be announced live at 9:30 a.m. on ESPN 2.
USC 000-320-062 - 13-13-2UCLA 011-010-000 - 3-10-1
WP - Bt. Bannister (7-3) LP - Cordeiro (2-7) S - Campos (5)Chico, Bt. Bannister (4), Campos (7) and Concepcion.Cordeiro, Susdorf (8), Beck (9) and Arhart.T - 2:41 ATT - 1,163
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