USC Beats Cal State Northridge In NCAA Baseball Regional, 7-5

June 1, 2002

LOS ANGELES- No. 17 USC used clutch pitching by Cory Campos, Jon Williams and Jordan Olson to survive a 12-hit attack by No. 15 Cal State Northridge and hand the Matadors a 7-5 loss in the fourth game of the NCAA Baseball Los Angeles Regional before 1,961 fans at USC's Dedeaux Field on Saturday afternoon (June 1).

USC improved to 36-22, while CSN fell to 41-16. The Trojans advance to the regional's championship game at noon on either Sunday (June 2) if CSN is the opponent or on Monday (June 3) if BYU is the opponent. The Matadors must play again on Saturday in a 7 p.m. elimination game against BYU, a 12-5 winner over Maine in the first game on Saturday that sent the Black Bears home.

Both teams suffered untimely breakdowns. USC had 9 hits, but stranded 13 runners and had 4 baserunning miscues, while CSN left 10 runners on base, issued 11 walks and hit 2 Trojans. There were 3 errors, 2 by CSN.

However, USC's three pitchers struck out 10 Matadors and walked only 2. Campos, making his first start of the season and getting the win to improve to 6-2, gave up 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings, his longest stint of the year, but struck out 7. Williams and Olson allowed only two baserunners the rest of the way, with Olson getting his second save.

'The key for us was really good pitching from all three guys and some timely big hits,' said USC coach Mike Gillespie. 'It looked like it would be a frustrating day offensively. Like we'd drive the length of the field and be forced to punt and we'd drive the length of the field and go wide right. But our pitching gave us a chance to win this one.'

USC jumped on CSN starter Bill Murphy right away. With one out in the first inning, Brian Barre and Alberto Concepcion walked and Bill Peavey was hit by a pitch. Barre scored on Joey Metropoulos' sacrifice fly.

Troy added another run in the second and two more in the third. With two outs in the second, Michael Morales was hit by a pitch, Jon Brewster singled, Anthony Lunetta had an infield single and Barre walked, forcing in Morales. The next inning, after Peavey got aboard on an infield error and Metropoulos doubled, Michael Moon drove them both in with a double down the right field line.

Cal State Northridge responded with a run in the third and fourth. Ryan Haag opened the third inning with a double, Jason Gorman moved him to third with a bunt single and Shaun Larkin's double scored Haag. Then with two outs in the fourth, consecutive singles by Rudy Simpson, Haag and Gorman plated Simpson.

USC came right back and added a run in the fifth. David Gordon doubled, moved to third on a bunt by Morales and then scored one out later on Barre's fielder's choice.

CSN closed to 5-4 in the seventh. Gorman had an infield single, Larkin walked and Eric Verbryke singled home Gorman. One out later, with Williams pitching, Jason Allec's sacrifice fly brought in Larkin.

USC added two insurance runs in the ninth off of reliever Andy Davidson. Morales doubled in Moon, who got aboard on a fielder's choice, and then Brewster's single brought home Morales.

The Matadors left the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Gorman singled to open the inning and, one out later, stole second and scored on Verbryke's single. Olson came in for Williams and got the last two outs, including striking out Allec looking to end the game.

Lunetta and Metropoulos were the only Trojans with 2 hits.

Gorman was 5-for-5, while Haag, Verbryke and Simpson added 2 hits each. Murphy allowed 9 walks and hit 2 batters in 4-plus innings of work. He took the loss, dropping to 9-4.

'Yesterday we talked about throwing strikes as the reason we won,' said Cal State Northridge coach Mike Batesole, whose team beat Maine on Friday, 7-4, while throwing 10 strikeouts and giving up just 1 walk. 'It's the same reason we didn't win today. We struggled with the strike zone all day. We made adjustments, and more adjustments, but had a hard time getting it done.'

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