Sun Devil Bullpen Collapses In Baseball's 9-5 Loss To USC

May 18, 2002

MESA, Ariz. -- The 19th-ranked and Pac-10 leading USC Trojans scored all nine of its runs in the last three innings off the Arizona State bullpen to record a 9-5 victory over the No. 20 Sun Devils Saturday night in the second game of a three-game Pac-10 series at Hohokam Stadium.

The Trojan victory evens the crucial Pac-10 series at one game apiece, setting up the rubber match Sunday at 1 p.m. Arizona State won the opener 3-1 Friday night. USC had its brief two-game losing streak come to an end to improve to 31-21 overall and remain a game up on Washington (13-3 winner over Oregon State) for first place in the conference. ASU had its three-game winning streak snapped and now stand at 31-19 overall and in fourth place in the Pac-10 at 11-9.

The Devils held a 2-1 lead after six innings, but a three-run home run by USC shortstop Michael Moon proved to be the game winner. Sun Devil relief pitcher Mark Sopko (2-2) took the loss while giving up the three runs on the Moon home run. Starter Robbie McClellan once again pitched well, leaving the game with a 2-1 lead in the seventh, allowing only three hits and two runs in six-plus innings of work.

USC reliever Jordan Olson picked up the win out of the bullpen to improve to 2-2 on the year. Olson, in on relief of freshman starter Matt Chico (3. 0 IP, 5 H, 2 R), did not allow a hit in three and a third scoreless innings.

The Devils took the early lead with a run in the bottom of the first. After a controversial double play that involved a batter's interference call took away a runner on third base with no outs, the Devils came alive by scoring their 193rd two-out run of the year. Freshman shortstop Dustin Pedroia started the rally with a single up the middle and scored all the way from first base on a triple to the left field gap from sophomore first baseman Jeremy West.

The Trojans tied the game in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly from senior first baseman Bill Peavey. ASU came right back in the home half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. Freshman right fielder Nick Cadena roped a ball down the third base line with the bases loaded that could have scored all three runs, but plated only one after the ball caromed off third base. Sergio Garcia scored on the play, but it was ruled that West did not cross the plate before Jeff Larish was thrown out at third base on the same play.

USC took its first lead of the game with a big three-run home run from Moon in the top of the seventh. The Trojans led off the inning by reaching on a fielding error by McClellan and put runners on first and second with one out after a walk by Sopko. Moon then belted his fourth home run of the year deep over the right field fence.

After Rod Allen ended a potential ASU rally by bouncing into a double play to end the seventh inning, the Trojans forged ahead with three more runs in the home half of the eighth to extend their lead to 7-2. Pac-10 Freshman of the Year candidate Joey Metropoulos added a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to cushion the USC lead.

The Devils provided a little excitement in the ninth by scoring three runs. Pinch-hitter Nick Walsh scored on a bases loaded wild pitch and Pedroia provided an RBI single to right field to cap the ASU comeback attempt. Pedroia, Garcia and West all finished with two hits apiece as the rest of the ASU lineup went a combined 1-for-18.

ASU scheduled Sunday starter Mike Esposito will not likely make his 15th start of the year due to elbow soreness, but is expected to see some pitching action tomorrow. The Sun Devils will likely start junior left-hander Carlos Arguello (2-1, 2.08). The Trojans will start freshman right-hander and Paradise Valley (Chaparral) product Brett Bannister (5-2, 3.39).

USC 9, Arizona State 5 (May 18, 2002 at Mesa, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------USC................. 001 000 332  -  9  8  2      (31-21, 14-6 PAC-10)Arizona State....... 101 000 003  -  5  7  1      (31-19, 11-9 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: USC - Chico; Olson(4); Williams(7); Campos(9).Arizona State - McClellan; Sopko(7); Kartler(8); Perrault(9).Win-Olson(2-2)  Loss-Sopko(2-2)  T-3:21  A-2887HR USC - Moon (4); Metropoulos (11).

--Sun Devil Baseball--
Now on Pac-12 Network
1:30 PM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder