USC Beats Long Beach State, 5-3, In Season Opener

Feb. 20, 2009

LOS ANGELES - Junior right-hander Brad Boxberger (Tustin/Foothill HS) allowed just one hit in six innings, recording career-highs with six walks and 11 strikeouts as the USC Trojans opened the 2009 regular season with a 5-3 win over the Long Beach State 49ers at Dedeaux Field. Junior catcher/pitcher Robert Stock (Westlake Village/Agoura HS) went 2-for-3, threw out two runners and came in to pitch a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.

Mike O'Neill also had two hits for the Trojans (1-0). Tyler Topp lasted just 3 1/3 innings for the 49ers (0-1), allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Both teams combined for 28 strikeouts on the evening.

Tre Dennis led off the game with a walk for the 49ers. Jordan Casas then hit a ground ball that handcuffed USC third baseman Billy Pinkerton as his subsequent throw to second went into center field for two errors. With runners at second and third and no outs, Boxberger came back to strike out the side in order.

The Trojans had their chance in the second inning when Stock led off with a double to right center. Anthony Vasquez lifted a fly ball to left, but Dennis misplayed the ball to put runners at second and third. Keith Castillo walked to load the bases, but Pinkerton grounded into a fielder's choice as Stock was retired at the plate and Ricky Oropesa grounded into the 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Rabago's RBI double down the first base line scored O'Neill from first in the bottom of the third for USC's first run. Stock and Vasquez both walked to lead off the fourth and advanced on Castillo's sacrifice. Pinkerton then blooped a two-run single to right over the drawn-in infield for a 3-0 lead.

O'Neill singled home Oropesa in the sixth and Vasquez drilled a line drive over the fence in right as his solo shot gave USC the 5-0 advantage in the seventh.

In the top of the eighth, Casas and Jonathan Jones singled off Trojan freshman reliever Danny Coulombe. 49er first baseman Taylor Krick then drilled a three-run homer to left, cutting the deficit to two runs. Stock headed to the mound and recorded two straight strikeouts before getting Dennis to ground out to third to secure the victory.

The weekend series will continue tomorrow night at Blair Field in Long Beach, starting at 5 p.m., before the series finale on Sunday (Feb. 22) at Dedeaux Field, starting at 1 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com with Sunday's game broadcast with a live video webcast, courtesy of TrojanTV All-Access.

Notes: Boxberger's previous career high for strikeouts in a game was nine (three times in 2007 - March 24 vs. Arizona State, April 20 at Washington and April 27 vs. Washington State)...in Boxberger's season-opening start last year, he allowed four runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in a 16-9 win at Florida International...USC started its 115th season of play tonight...since 1979, USC is 21-10 in season openers...four freshmen made their collegiate debuts for USC (Oropesa, Coulombe, Greg Zebrack and Beau Brett).

LBS	 000-000-030---3-4-2USC	 001-201-10x---5-8-2

WP - Boxberger (1-0) LP - Topp (0-1) S - Stock (1)T - 3:27 ATT - 984Records: USC (1-0), Long Beach State (0-1)

Topp, Brown (4), Wilk (5), Rasco (8) and Hill.Boxberger, Cabral (7), Coulombe (7), Stock (9) and Stock, Rabago (9).

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