USC Completes Sweep
May 26, 2002
LOS ANGELES - USC defeated UCLA 13-3 to win the Pac-10 Championship this afternoon at Jackie Robinson Stadium. By sweeping the Bruins, USC also is the first winner of the inaugural Lexus Gauntlet, a year-long all-sports competition between the two schools. The game was close throughout, but USC broke it open in the top of the eighth, scoring six runs, and adding two more in the ninth for the victory. UCLA finishes its season 26-35, 9-15 in Pac-10 play and ties Arizona for seventh place in the conference. USC concludes its regular season with a 34-22 record and a 17-7 conference record, a game ahead of second place Stanford.
UCLA jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Adam Berry scored from second on Brandon Averill's single through the left side. The Bruins extended their lead in the third when Rashad Parker hit a solo home run to right field, his fourth of the season.
Chris Cordeiro (2-7) started the game for UCLA and was perfect through three innings. But in the fourth, the Trojans were able to finally get a hit and score some runs. Joey Metropoulos hit a three-run home run to give USC a 3-2 lead that they would never relinquish. The Trojans added two more runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly and a solo home run from Brian Barre.
UCLA cut the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth when freshman Wes Whisler hit his 18th home run of the season. He finishes tied with teammate Adam Berry atop the Pac-10 home run board. Amazingly, 13 of Whisler's home runs came in conference play, and the freshman from Noblesville, IN, had a .950 slugging percentage in the Pac-10 games.
The game was tied 5-3 until the top of the eighth. The Trojans scored six runs to extend the lead, highlighted by Michael Morales' three-run home run. It was his first career homer in his last regular season game. The Trojans added two more runs in the top of the ninth on Metropoulos' two-RBI double. The freshman designated hitter finished the game with seven RBI.
Brett Bannister was credited with the win after pitching 3.1 innings of relief. Cordeiro suffered the loss after allowing seven runs on eight hits in 7.0 innings.
Today was Senior Day at Jackie Robinson Stadium, as six seniors finished their careers. Josh Arhart, Adam Berry, Casey Grzecka, Nick Lyon, Rashad Parker and Ryan Rasmussen were all honored before the game.