Lucky Seven For Trojans As USC Advances To NCAA Super Regional With 5-2 Win
June 6, 2005
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Sophomore second baseman Hector Estrella hit a key two-run triple in the sixth Monday as the USC Trojans defeated the Pepperdine Waves, 5-2, in the regional championship at Blair Field. The Trojans will travel to Corvallis, Ore., next weekend for an NCAA Super Regional series against host Oregon State.
USC (40-20) has now won six consecutive regional championships, not including the Super Regional. The Trojans made back-to-back appearances at the 2000 and 2001 College World Series in their last appearances in Omaha.
With tonight's win, the Trojans reach the 40-win plateau for the 11th time in 19 years under head coach Mike Gillespie.
'We just wanted to leave it on the field tonight,' said Estrella. 'I was just looking for an away pitch to drive.'
Anthony Encinas (7-4) earned the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Sophomore closer Paul Koss threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed three hits to earn his 14th save of the season.
USC junior left-hander Jack Spradlin, who did not figure in the decision, kept the Trojans ahead with 4 2/3 innings in tonight's start with just two days' rest. He threw 183 pitches in two starts, including Friday's win against Pepperdine.
'We got great pitching from all three guys tonight,' said Gillespie. 'I honestly believe that no team of mine, at any level, has made as many great plays defensively as our team did tonight.'
Trojan freshman first baseman Matt Cusick was 0-for-2 with two walks, but was named regional most valuable player after going 9-for-12 (.750) in the tournament.
The Waves finish the season with a 41-23 record as USC is now 9-4 all-time in postseason play against Pepperdine.
Paul Coleman, who also pitched on Friday for the Waves, threw 4 2/3 innings in relief, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits. Freshman Adam Olbrychowski (2-1) made his first career start for the Waves and gave up two runs in 1 1/3 no-hit innings, but walked four. Pepperdine on the evening walked a total of nine Trojans and hit two batters.
The Trojans scored twice in the first without getting a hit. On the first pitch of the game, Olbrychowski hit shortstop Blake Sharpe and walked Cusick to put runners at first and second. Olbrychowski then struck out All-America catcher Jeff Clement on a 3-2 fastball for the first out, but was called for a balk while pitching to third baseman Billy Hart to move the runners 90 feet. A wild pitch on ball four to Hart scored Sharpe and freshman Roberto Lopez followed with a sacrifice fly to right as Cusick was able to run around catcher Chad Tracy to score the second run.
Pepperdine answered in the third when David Uribes hit an 0-2 pitch into left field to score Donald Brown. Brown led off the inning with a double to right and moved to third when Spradlin was called for a balk.
Cusick scored the Trojans' third run in the bottom of the third. Lopez hit a ground ball to short for a possible inning-ending double play, but Uribes threw the ball away to allow the run.
Pepperdine loaded the bases in the fourth on Justin Sandberg's single to right. Brown hit a ground ball that tailed away from Estrella, but Estrella made a throw across his body to Sharpe at second for the second out as Steve Kleen scored, making it a 3-2 USC score. Patrick Rooney grounded to third as the Waves stranded a runner at third.
Adrian Ortiz singled to lead off the top of the fifth before Spradlin retired the final two batters he faced. Encinas entered and walked catcher Chad Tracy intentionally after running the count to 3-0, but retired Kleen for the third out on the fielder's choice as Hart recorded the 5-4 putout.
Lopez and Baron Frost walked in the sixth. Facing an 0-2 count with two outs against Coleman, Estrella lined the triple down the right field line to complete the scoring. The Trojans stopped Wave rallies in the seventh and eighth with the key outs coming in the eighth. Pepperdine led off with back-to-back singles by Tracy and Kleen, but Koss struck out Jason Dominguez, got Luke Salas to ground out into a 1-6 fielder's choice and got Brown to fly out to left to end the rally.
Uribes flied out to right for the final out of the game as the Trojans earned the championship with a 3-1 record.
PEP 001-100-000---2-8-2USC 201-002-00x---5-4-1
WP-Encinas (7-4) LP-Olbrychowski (2-1) S-Koss (14)T: 3:15 ATT: 2,275Records: USC (40-20), PEP (41-23)
Olbrychowski, Coleman (2), Kometani (8) and Tracy.Spradlin, Encinas (5), Koss (7) and Clement.
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