USC Holds Off BYU, 13-10, To Win NCAA Baseball Regional Championship

June 3, 2002

LOS ANGELES - No. 17-ranked USC opened up a 9-0 lead, then held on to beat hard-charging BYU, 13-10, in the championship game of the NCAA Baseball Los Angeles Regional before 1,072 fans at USC's Dedeaux Field on Monday afternoon (June 3).

BYU, which trailed 9-0 after 4 innings, rallied back and almost caught the Trojans. The Cougars left the bases loaded in the eighth. USC needed a hidden ball play to end one of BYU's big innings.

The teams combined for 35 hits, including 21 by the Trojans. There were 5 home runs (2 by BYU's Jake Stubblefield and a grand slam by USC's Travis McAndrews), 8 doubles, a triple and 5 players hit by pitches.

The Trojans now advance to the NCAA Super Regional June 7-9 at Stanford in a best-of-3 series against the Cardinal. USC, which finished atop the Pac-10 standings one game ahead of Stanford, has beaten the Cardinal just once in 6 tries this season.

USC improves to 37-22, while BYU ends its season at 31-31-1.

'Well, it was a slugfest, to be sure,' said USC coach Mike Gillespie. 'And the hidden ball play was a big play for us. We got a lot of key things from a lot of players.'

The Trojans, playing as the visiting team, exploded right away against Cougar starter Jacob Chrisman, who entered the game with a 10.67 ERA. Brian Barre singled on Chrisman's first pitch of the game and came home when Michael Moon doubled on the next pitch. Two outs later, Bill Peavey crushed a home run onto the top of the parking structure past the right field wall.

USC added 7 more runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by McAndrews' grand slam. The Trojans brought 10 batters to the plate and had 7 hits. After Joey Metropoulos and Anthony Lunetta singled and Michael Morales was hit by a pitch with no outs, McAndrews took Chrisman's next pitch over the right field fence. Scott Koffman came in after Chrisman gave up a single on the next pitch to Jon Brewster. But Barre greeted Koffman with a double, advancing Brewster to third. One out later, Alberto Concepcion's triple off the center field wall plated Brewster and Barre, then Peavey's double brought home Concepcion.

Cory Campos was key in relief for the Trojans.

BYU finally got on the board in the fifth with 4 runs off starter Jordan Olson. Stubblefield led off with a solo home run. Two outs later, Ranger Wiens doubled, then consecutive singles by Doug Jackson, Cameron Coughlan, Dave Jensen and Matt Carson scored Wiens, Jackson and Coughlan. But Moon, USC's shortstop, tagged out Jensen at second on a hidden ball trick to end the inning.

'We've been working on it, but opposing coaches have picked up on it before,' said Moon about the hidden ball play. 'The key was that the second base umpire knew exactly what was going on. He really saw what I was doing. It was all just instinct.'

Added Olson: 'I knew what Moon was doing and the batter got up early. So it really helped us out. It was a huge play.'

USC added a run in both the sixth and seventh innings. Moon led off the top of the sixth with a home run off of reliever Matt Ward. In the seventh, McAndrews and Brewster were on first and third following singles when Brewster was caught wandering off of first by Cougar reliever Sam Fernley and got in a rundown. McAndrews broke home and scored when catcher Lars Birkeland missed the throw.

'We've been working on it, but opposing coaches have picked up on it before,' said Moon about the hidden ball play. 'The key was that the second base umpire knew exactly what was going on. He really saw what I was doing. It was all just instinct.'

BYU fought back in the bottom of the seventh with 5 more runs. Consecutive one-out singles by Jackson, Coughlan and Jensen scored Jackson, then Coughlan scored on Carson's double to knock reliever Jon Williams out of the game. Jensen then came home on Rob Itri's sacrifice fly off of reliever Brett Bannister. Stubblefield followed with his second homer of the day, a 2-run shot.

The Cougars added another run in the eighth. Birkeland walked, went to third on Jackson's single one out later and, after Cory Campos relieved Williams, Birkeland scored on Coughlan's fielder's choice. Campos then hit Jensen and Carson on full count pitches to load the bases, but struck out Itri looking to get out of the jam.

USC responded with 2 insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Michael Morales singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third when Itri mishandled a throw on McAndrews' bunt. One out later, Barre hit reliever James Ray's first pitch into right field to drive in Morales. Concepcion then walked to load the bases off of reliever Tyler Dabo and Peavey was hit by a pitch, scoring McAndrews.

Olson lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing 8 hits (only 1 through the first four innings) while striking out 5 to up his record to 3-2. Campos got his sixth save. Chrisman, who allowed 7 runs and 8 hits in 3-plus innings, took the loss to fall to 1-3.

Every Trojan batter got at least 1 hit, with Barre, Concepcion, Peavey and Metropoulos getting 3 each. For BYU, Jackson and Coughlan also had 3 hits.

'We just got off to a sluggish start and couldn't climb all the way back,' said BYU coach Vance Law. 'Our guys have way too much character to just have given up when we were down 9. We could have easily done that. But we didn't. We fought.'


Most Outstanding Player: Dave Jensen, BYU

Catcher : Alberto Concepcion, USC
First Base : Dave Jensen, BYU
Second Base : Cameron Coughlan, BYU
Shortstop : Jason Gorman, CS Northridge
Third Base : Ryan Hagg, CS Northridge
Left Field : Jake Stubblefield, BYU
Center Field : Brian Barre, USC
Right Field : Travis McAndrews, USC
Designated Hitter : Joey Metropoulos, USC
Pitcher : Cory Campos, USC
Pitcher : Kameron Loe, CS Northridge

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