Trojans Slip Past Cats in Pitcher’s Duel

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Wyatt Strahan outdueled James Farris, and the University of Southern California baseball team savored a first-inning run en route to a 1-0 victory over visiting Arizona on Thursday night in the opener of a three-game series at Dedeaux Field.

Strahan (W, 3-3) went the distance, scattering five hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts in the complete game effort. The hard-throwing right-hander kept the Wildcats off balance with his breaking ball, and allowed only one hit after the fourth inning.

USC (18-17, 7-9 Pac-12) produced all of the offense it needed in the first inning, sparked by a leadoff single from Garrett Stubbs. He was bunted to second by Timmy Robinson, and Jeremy Martinez followed with a run-scoring single.

Arizona (17-21, 6-10 Pac-12) bounced back and threatened to mount a big inning in the second, but Strahan dodged trouble.

Willie Calhoun singled, Tyler Krause walked and Kenny Meimerstorf was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. After a visit to the mound, Strahan found his control and struck out Joseph Maggi and Zach Gibbons to leave the bags packed and USC’s one-run lead intact.

Strahan cruised throughout much of the game, setting down 13 hitters in a row from the fourth through the eighth innings. The streak was snapped with down in the eighth by Trent Gilbert, who singled to right field.

Despite the early run, Farris (L, 4-5) did his part in the head-to-head pitcher’s duel. The senior right-hander allowed only six hits and did not walk a batter, while registering six strikeouts.

Indeed, the difference in the ballgame was one timely hit. Martinez, who was 3-for-3 in the game, gave USC the game’s only hit with a runner in scoring position. The Trojans had just two chances all night.

The Wildcats had their chances early. Gilbert and Kevin Newman, who were each 2-for-4, collected back-to-back one-out singles in the first, but Riley Moore grounded into an inning-ending double play. Then in the second, two bases-loaded strikeouts left Arizona 0-for-3 batting with runners in scoring position, which would be the only three such opportunities in the game.

Arizona left seven runners on base, including one in each of the last two frames. USC stranded two over the eight inning it sent men to the plate.

The series will continue on Friday evening at 7 p.m. (PDT) and will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network. A live radio broadcast is also available on 1290 AM in Tucson, Ariz.

Game Notes: Arizona's leading hitter, Scott Kingery (.390), did not play due to a ankle/foot injury sustained against UCLA last Sunday. The sophomore was available to pinch hit and was listed as day-to-day by the coaching staff entering play. He had started all 37 games entering Thursday ... The game was completed in a brisk two hours -- Arizona's quickest game of the season by 10 minutes. First pitch was at 7:05 (PDT) and the final out was recorded at 9:05 p.m. ... James Farris was credited with his third complete game of the season, but pitched just eight innings in the losing effort. The senior now has seven complete games in his career ... The Wildcats were shut out for the fourth time ... Arizona has played three-straight one-run games having won two to close the UCLA series last weekend in Tucson. Four of the last five games have been one-run contests, with the Wildcats 3-1 in those games. The club is now 4-5 in such games this season.