Trojans Drop A Heartbreaker To Miami, 4-3

June 11, 2001

AP Sports Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Charlton Jimerson hit one ball out of the park and pulled another back in to keep Miami unbeaten in the College World Series.

Jimerson led off the game with a home run for the second straight time and made a spectacular catch to rob a homer as the Hurricanes extended their winning streak to 15 games with a 4-3 victory over Southern California on Monday night.

'I'm looking to get my team started. Whatever it turns out to be,' Jimerson said. 'Believe it or not I'm not trying to hit home runs.'

The Hurricanes (51-12) also got a strong performance from the bullpen, which was shaky two nights before in a 21-13 win over Tennessee. In 4 2-3 innings, four Miami relievers held the Trojans to two hits and the slim lead was enough.

'The hitters carried us (Saturday) and today we just hoped to return the favor and carry them,' said George Huguet, who pitched the final 1 2-3 innings for his 14th save.

Greg Lovelady had a two-run double for Miami (51-12), which will play again Thursday against USC or Tennessee, which play in an elimination game Tuesday night.

Brian Walker (12-1) pitched 5 1-3 innings for the win with big assists to relievers Chris Sheffield, Luke DeBold, Andrew Cohn and Huguet.

USC, which blew a great scoring opportunity in the seventh inning, had runners first and second with two outs in the ninth, but Huguet got Alberto Concepcion to pop out to right and end the game.

'When you're on the losing end of a game like this, it's hard to appreciate just how good of a game it was,' USC coach Mike Gillespie said.

Concepcion and Josh Persell each homered for the Trojans (45-18), who had won seven straight.

The Hurricanes took the lead on Jimerson's homer off Rik Currier (12-2) and never gave it up, thanks to Jimerson's leaping catch that robbed Brian Barre of a homer in the top of the fifth. The speedy center fielder timed his jump perfectly and, with his head and shoulders above the 7-foot wall in right-center, pulled the ball back.

Jimerson said he had watched earlier games where outfielders struggled with balls hit just over the Rosenblatt Stadium fences.

'I just wanted to get myself a good chance to take that home run away and that's what I did,' he said. 'I felt like I was up in the air for a while. I think there were a lot of great plays and I hate to put all the credit on that play.'

Barre, who has 13 home runs, said the wind was pushing the ball out, but not quite far enough.

'Two nights ago everything clicked. It didn't happen for us tonight,' Barre said.

Jimerson's catch seemed to revive the offense for the Hurricanes, who had just two hits through the first four innings.

Kevin Brown led off the bottom of the fifth with a double, Kris Clute walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Lovelady drove them both in with a double down the third-base line and he scored on a two-out single by Javy Rodriguez.

Concepcion and Persell got USC back into the game with home runs in the sixth. Concepcion led off with a shot to left, then with Anthony Lunetta on first and one out, Persell launched one that cleared the bleachers in left to cut the lead to 4-3.

Southern California blew a great opportunity to tie it or take the lead in the seventh. Seth Davidson led off with a walk and went to second on Barre's double to right. But Davidson was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice and Lovelady threw out Barre when he tried to steal third.

'I'm always looking to throw guys out because it's the best part of catching,' Lovelady said. 'I'm back there praying somebody's going to run on me.'

Walker got out of a huge jam in the first after walking Barre and Concepcion, then hit Lunetta with a pitch to load the bases for Bill Peavey, who grounded into a double play.

Jimerson, who said he grew up in Hayward, Calif., watching major league leadoff home run record-holder Rickey Henderson, also homered to lead off the Hurricanes' 21-13 win over Tennessee on Saturday.

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