Jeff Clement's Two-Run Homer Leads No. 23 USC To 5-4 Win Over No. 21 Nebraska
March 6, 2005
ROUND ROCK, Texas - Preseason All-America catcher Jeff Clement (Marshalltown, Iowa/Marshalltown HS) hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh Sunday as the USC Trojans (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today Sports Weekly, No. 23 Baseball America) defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today Sports Weekly) by a 5-4 score in final day action at the 2005 Maxwell Auto Group Round Rock Classic at Dell Diamond. The Trojans won their first game of the season in five tries after trailing through six innings.
Clement's second homer of the season was his 33rd career home run, tying him for sixth on USC's all-time list with Mike Robertson (1989-91) and Joey Metropoulos (2002-04). Behind the plate, he also threw out two runners.
USC improved to 7-4 on the season and losing to No. 15 Texas A&M, 3-1, and No. 12 Rice, 12-1, in this weekend's tournament. Nebraska falls to 8-2.
Sophomore Paul Koss (Orange/Orange Lutheran HS) earned his first collegiate win for the Trojans. Koss had his longest stint with 3 1/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs on one hit with two strikeouts. Freshman Nate Smith (Clovis/Clovis HS) threw 1 1/3 perfect innings to register his first collegiate save.
Tony Watson (1-1), who allowed the home run to Clement, took the loss for Nebraska. Starter Brian Duensing threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings for the Huskers, allowing two hits with four walks and one strikeout. USC starter Zack Kalter went 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
With two outs in the Nebraska third and the bases empty, Kalter walked shortstop Joe Simokaitis and third baseman Alex Gordon before allowing an RBI single to designated hitter Brandon Fusilier for the 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Blake Sharpe tried to score on a single by Hart, but was thrown out at the plate by Nebraska right fielder Daniel Bruce to end the inning. Nebraska took a 2-0 lead after Simokaitis hit an RBI single to right in the bottom of the inning.
Hankerd led off the USC sixth with a single up the middle, followed by a walk to right fielder Darin Vieira. Center fielder Daniel Perales tied the game with a two-run double to left center. The Huskers answered quickly after first baseman Brandon Buckman hit his first career home run off USC reliever Paul Koss with a solo shot to left. Buckman went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Sharpe singled to left in the top of the seventh and scored when Clement hit a two-run homer to left. Clement was instrumental in another Trojan run in the eighth with Sharpe at first. A soft ground ball off the end of Clement's bat went to Gordon, who threw the ball wide of first and allowed Sharpe to score for a 5-3 advantage.
Buckman came through for the Huskers again in the eighth with an RBI double off Michael Friedman to plate Gordon. USC's Nate Smith came in the game, though, and got Curtis Ledbetter to pop up to short to end the inning.
In the Nebraska ninth with one out, right fielder Daniel Bruce hit a grounder down the third base line that Hart made a diving, backhanded stab on and threw out Bruce at first.
USC travels to UC Riverside on Tuesday (March 8) before hosting the 2005 Public Storage Classic next weekend at Dedeaux Field. The tournament features Texas Tech, UC Irvine and Wichita State. All four games will be broadcast live, along with Gametracker live stats, on usctrojans.com.
USC 000-002-210---5-8-0NU 001-011-010---4-7-1
WP-Koss (1-0) LP-Watson (1-1) S-Smith (1)T: 3:21 ATT: 506Records: USC (7-4) Nebraska (8-2)
Kalter, Koss (6), Friedman (8), Smith (8) and Clement.Duensing, Timm (5), Watson (6), Wertz (7), Klausing (7), Jensen (8) and Ledbetter, Christy (9).
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