No. 1 UC Irvine Rallies For 6-5 Win Over USC

April 28, 2009

IRVINE, Calif. - Jeff Cusick, who was 0-for-4 prior to his at-bat, hit a two-run single up the middle Tuesday as the No. 1 UC Irvine Anteaters rallied with five runs in the ninth for the 6-5 non conference win over the USC Trojans. UC Irvine improved to 31-11 on the season with the late rally after the Anteaters had just one run and five hits through the first eight innings.

The loss by the Trojans (21-20) overshadowed a fine effort by freshman starter Chad Smith (Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks HS), who allowed only one run on two hits by the top-ranked Anteaters in six innings of work.

Freshman first baseman/pitcher Ricky Oropesa went 3-for-4 for the Trojans while senior center fielder/pitcher Anthony Vasquez and junior third baseman Billy Pinkerton had two RBI each.

Oropesa led off the USC second with a walk and Anthony Vasquez singled to center for runners at first and second with no outs. Hector Rabago sacrificed to advance both runners and Pinkerton made it a 1-0 score with a ground out to second. Oropesa hit a line drive double in the fourth and moved to third on Vasquez's groundout. Pinkerton came through again with an RBI single to center for a two-run lead.

The Anteaters scored a run in the fourth when Eric Deragisch scored on Francis Larson's sacrifice fly. Deragisch singled and advanced on a wild pitch, moving to third on a ground out by Cusick before scoring.

Grant Green and Oropesa recorded back-to-back singles in the sixth and Vasquez made it 3-1 when he hit a pop up into shallow right that was deep enough to score Green from third.

After USC reliever Kevin Couture hit Casey Stevenson with a pitch, Ronnie Shaeffer singled with one out. A wild pitch moved Stevenson to third and Tommy Reyes walked to load the bases. Couture then induced a 6-4-3 double play from pinch hitter Ryan Fisher as USC held on to the two-run lead.

With an out in the eighth, Oropesa again singled Green to third and Vasquez laid down a safety squeeze down the first base line to plate Green for the 4-1 advantage. Rabago then tripled off Brock Bardeen to score Oropesa for the Trojans' fifth run of the game.

Ben Orloff and Deragisch singled with one out in the eighth off Trojan reliever Daniel Cooper, but Cooper came back to retire Cusick and strike out Larson to preserve the lead. Green hit a triple in the top of the ninth off UCI reliever Eric Pettis (4-1), but did not score in the frame. Green's 20th career triple moved him into a tie for fifth place on the all-time Pac-10 Conference list.

Oropesa started the ninth on the mound and was promptly greeted by Stevenson's double to left. Shaeffer then walked after Oropesa was called for a balk and pinch hitter Dillon Bell singled to center to score the Anteaters' first run of the inning. Vasquez, who had moved to first base when Oropesa went to pitch, then took the mound for the Trojans. Pinch hitter Ryan Fisher singled off Vasquez to left to load the bases, followed by Jordan Leyland's RBI single to right for the 5-3 deficit. With the bases loaded and a full count against him, Orloff hit a suicide squeeze back to the pitcher as Bell scored to make it a one-run game Deragisch was intentionally walked to load the bases before Cusick came to the plate. Cusick had two strikes against him and hit a slow roller that just missed the bag at first and went foul before he delivered the game-winner grounder that just scooted underneath of a diving Green up the middle.

USC continues its five-game road trip tomorrow at No. 6 Cal State Fullerton with a 6 p.m. game before a Pac-10 Conference series at Washington this weekend, Friday-Sunday (May 1-3). Friday's game starts at 6:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. start on Saturday and 1 p.m. start on Sunday. All four games will be broadcast live on

USC	 010-101-020---5-8-1UCI	 000-100-005---6-10-0

Note: 1 out, 2 runners LOB when winning run scored.

WP - Pettis (4-1) LP - Vasquez (2-4)T - 3:00 ATT - 1,152Records: USC (21-20), UC Irvine (31-11)

Smith, Couture (7), Cooper (8), Oropesa (9), Vasquez (9) and Rabago.Slaught, Necke (4), Avison (6), Bardeen (8), Pettis (9) and Larson.

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