Trojans Open Pac-10 Play With 9-8 Win Over Arizona State

March 24, 2005

LOS ANGELES - Sophomore reliever Paul Koss threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings Thursday as the No. 23/21 USC Trojans held on for the 9-8 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils in the Pac-10 Conference opener for both teams. The Trojans extend their winning streak to a season-high five games.

Koss allowed just one hit and is now 2-0 on the season with a 1.00 ERA and four saves.

USC (14-6, 1-0) took advantage as Arizona State (16-13, 0-1) pitchers allowed nine walks and hit three batters on the evening. Ian Kennedy improved to 3-1 on the season for the Trojans, going six innings and allowing four runs on five hits with four walks and nine strikeouts.

Starter Zechry Zinicola went two innings for ASU before leaving the game in the bottom of the third inning after taking a Baron Frost line drive off his right leg in the Trojans' second.

Blake Sharpe went 3-for-4 for the Trojans while sophomore Cyle Hankerd went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Hankerd is now batting .406 for USC. Travis Buck led the Sun Devils with a 3-for-5 evening that included two doubles.

ASU scored twice in the third. With the bases loaded, Buck reached on a fielder's choice to score first baseman Joe Persichina. Freshman shortstop Andrew Romine scored from third on a Kennedy wild pitch. Sharpe hit his triple in the third, followed by an RBI groundout from catcher Jeff Clement for the Trojans' first run. USC tied the game in the fourth when Hankerd scored on an error by Persichina.

Buck scored on another wild pitch by Kennedy in the fifth as the Sun Devils took the lead, adding another run on an RBI single by Gosewisch for a 4-2 advantage before the Trojans answered with four in the bottom half.

The Trojans loaded the bases on lead off walks to Matt Cusick and Sharpe while Clement was hit by a pitch. Reliever Brett Bordes walked third baseman Billy Hart and Hankerd to force in two runs. Seth Garrison entered the game and allowed back-to-back singles from Lucas Duda and Baron Frost to finish the scoring. USC scored three more times in the sixth with two bases-loaded walks to Hankerd and Duda, followed by an RBI single to left by Darin Vieira.

Bordes (1-3) took the loss, allowing two runs without recording an out for the Sun Devils.

USC reliever Michael Friedman was greeted in the seventh by back-to-back doubles by Buck and center fielder Colin Curtis. The Sun Devils got three straight hits off USC's Nate Smith to score three runs with a single by Gosewisch and doubles from Rocky Laguna and Seth Dhaenens. With the potential tying run at third, Koss entered the game and retired Persichina and Romine to end the inning.

Jeff Larish led off the ASU ninth with a walk off Koss. On an 0-1 count to Gosewisch, USC called for a pitch out as Clement was able to retire Larish at second. Gosewisch struck out and Laguna flied out to right to complete a marathon first game that lasted just a tick over four hours.

Buck got his third hit of the game with a single in the eighth with one away, but Koss retired the Sun Devils with a 4-6-3 double play on Curtis' ground ball.

The series continues tomorrow at 6 p.m. and concludes on Saturday (March 26) at 1 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live, along with Gametracker live stats, on usctrojans.com.

ASU	002-020-400---8-11-1USC	001-143-00x---9-10-0

WP-Kennedy (3-1) LP-B. Bordes (1-3) S-Koss (4)T: 4:01 ATT: 318Records: USC (14-6, 1-0) Arizona State (16-13, 0-1)

Zinicola, Averill (3), B. Bordes (5), Garrison (5), Barnette (5), Marotz (6) and Gosewisch.Kennedy, Friedman (7), Smith (7), Williams (7), Koss (7) and Clement.

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