No. 20/21 USC Pushes Across Two In The Ninth For 2-1 Win

March 10, 2007

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Hector Estrella's RBI single in the ninth capped a two-run rally as the No. 20/21 USC Trojans recorded the 2-1 victory over the host Stanford Cardinal in nonconference action at Sunken Diamond. The Trojans, who mustered only three hits off Stanford starter Jeremy Bleich through eight innings, scored twice off him in the ninth for the win.

USC (15-8) has won eight of its last 10 games and its fifth straight weekend series of the season (No. 17 San Diego, San Diego State, Tulane and Georgia). The Trojans have also won their fourth straight series against the Cardinal (10-8).

Saturday's rally was the second time this season that USC has won a game after trailing through eight innings. The Trojans are 7-1 this season in one-run games and 8-3 on the road.

Lucas Duda, who is 5-for-9 this weekend, had his first three-hit game for the Trojans this season and hit a game-tying RBI single in the ninth to score pinch runner Spencer Pabst. Pabst entered the game for junior second baseman Matt Cusick, who singled off Bleich to lead off the ninth. Duda later stole second and after Darren Gemoll walked, Estrella singled under the glove of first baseman Jason Castro for the game-winner.

Freshman Kevin Couture (Coronado/Coronado HS) took the win for the Trojans after throwing 1 2/3 perfect innings before giving way to senior closer Paul Koss (Orange/Orange Lutheran HS) in the ninth. Koss retired the side in order to garner his second save in as many days, the 10th of the season and the 30th of his career. This season, Koss is 1-1 with a 0.71 ERA (12 2/3 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, .234 opponents' batting average).

Trojan freshman right-hander Brad Boxberger (Tustin/Foothill HS) battled in a pitchers' duel with Bleich, giving up only one run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. On the season, Boxberger has made six starts (five on the road) and is 1-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 35 2/3 innings with opponents hitting a measly .189 against him.

Bleich (1-2), who entered the game with a 5.79 ERA, was the hard-luck loser despite giving up the two runs in the ninth and retiring the side in order three times on the afternoon.

Stanford led off the second and third innings with a double, but Boxberger was able to get out of both innings unscathed. The Cardinal scored its lone run in the seventh on an RBI single from shortstop Adam Gaylord.

The series concludes tomorrow at 1 p.m. The Trojans return home to host Portland on Wednesday (March 14) at 5 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com.

USC	 000-000-002---2-6-0STAN	 000-000-100---1-6-0

WP - Couture (2-0) LP - Bleich (1-2) S - Koss (10)T - 2:42 ATT - 1,856Records: USC (15-8), Stanford (10-8)

Boxberger, Couture (7), Koss (9) and Bowden.Bleich, Fearnow (9) and Juhl.

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