USC Shuts Down No. 17 Long Beach State Early For 4-3 Win

Feb. 12, 2005

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Freshman right fielder Roberto Lopez (La Mesa/Rancho Bernardo HS) went 2-for-4 with two RBI Saturday as the USC Trojans defeated the No. 17 Long Beach State 49ers, 4-3, in nonconference action at Blair Field. USC sophomore right-hander Ian Kennedy (Huntington Beach/Marina HS) outdueled Long Beach State starter Cesar Ramos with six innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Kennedy and Ramos were teammates last summer for the 2004 U.S. National Team.

USC is now 2-0 overall while Long Beach State falls to 5-2.

The Trojans got consecutive singles by Billy Hart, Cyle Hankerd and Lopez in the second to produce the first run with the single by Lopez coming on a hit-and-run play. A passed ball by Long Beach State catcher Tito Cruz allowed Hankerd to score from third for a 2-0 lead. A walk to sophomore shortstop Hector Estrella put runners at the corners for freshman leadoff hitter Matt Cusick. Cusick blasted a Ramos pitch to deep right, but 49er right fielder Steve Velazco made the catch on the run to end the Trojans' threat.

With two outs in the third, the 49ers got back-to-back singles by Chuck Sindlinger and Velazco before Kennedy got shortstop Evan Longoria to hit a ground ball back to the mound for the third out.

Lopez hit an RBI double in the fourth to score Hankerd and a sacrifice fly by Hart scored first baseman Blake Sharpe, giving the Trojans a 4-0 advantage. Dirtbag reliever Marco Estrada, however, stopped the USC lineup with four perfect innings as he retired 12 straight batters.

The Dirtbags scored their first run in the sixth on a two-out rally. Pinch hitter Scott Bradley walked and advanced to third when Cruz's single to left was bobbled by Hankerd. Kennedy was called for a balk to score Bradley.

Long Beach continued its momentum in the eighth. With runners at first and second, Cruz drilled a fly ball deep to left with Hankerd making the catch against the wall and advancing Velazco to third. A single up the middle by first baseman Brandon Godfrey scored Velazco, followed by another RBI single by third baseman Danny Mocny for a 4-3 lead. Godfrey and Mocny advanced on a wild pitch by sophomore reliever Paul Koss (Orange/Orange Lutheran HS) to put runners at second and third, but Koss ended the inning on a called third strike against designated Tom Sarti.

Koss threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first collegiate save.

Both teams will play at 1 p.m. game tomorrow at Dedeaux Field. The game will be broadcast, along with Gametracker live stats, on

USC	020-110-000 -- 4-6-1LBS	000-001-020 -- 3-8-1

WP -- Kennedy (1-0) LP -- Ramos (2-1) S -- Koss (1)Kennedy, Spradlin (7), Koss (8) and Clement.Ramos, Estrada (6) and Cruz.T - 2:54 ATT - 1,987

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