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USC Baseball Hosts Crosstown Showdown With No. 10 UCLA

Mar 24, 2021

Game Notes

THIS WEEK: The USC baseball team hosts crosstown rival No. 10 UCLA for a three-game set starting on Friday. The Trojans then head to LMU for a midweek matchup on Tuesday.
 
GAME SCHEDULE:
Friday - USC vs. No. 10 UCLA (Dedeaux Field), March 26, 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Saturday - USC vs. No. 10 UCLA (Dedeaux Field), March 27, 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Sunday - USC vs. No. 10 UCLA (Dedeaux Field), March 28, 4 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Tuesday - USC at LMU (Page Stadium), March 30, 6 p.m. (LMU Live Stream)
 
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Friday - USC: LHP Isaac Esqueda (2-1, 2.43 ERA) vs. UCLA: RHP Zach Pettway (0-0, 3.75 ERA)
Saturday - USC: RHP Chandler Champlain (1-1, 5.16 ERA) vs. UCLA: RHP Jesse Bergin (3-1, 2.77 ERA)
Sunday - USC: LHP Alex Cornwell (3-1, 3.71 ERA) vs. UCLA: RHP Jared Karros (1-1, 3.86 ERA)
 
BROADCAST INFO: All three games between the Trojans and Bruins will be televised on the Pac-12 Network and Tuesday's game will be streamed on LMULions.com. Links to all of the broadcasts are available on the baseball schedule page at USCTrojans.com.
 
FOLLOW: Fans can also follow the action through live stats on USCTrojans.com. Live, in-game updates will be available for all games from @USC_Baseball on Twitter as well.
 
GET SOCIAL: Follow USC Baseball on social media to get updates on everything going on with the team this season. The Trojans can be found at @USC_Baseball on Twitter, @sctrojans_baseball on Instagram and USC Trojans Baseball on Facebook.
 
MEDIA POLICY: Limited media members will be allowed to apply for credentials to USC baseball home games. Credentialed media members will only have access to a designated media area, and no in-person interviews will be allowed. All postgame and weekly interviews will be conducted virtually and upon request. Please contact Jacob Breems (Breems@usc.edu) for more media information and to apply for credentials.
 
LAST WEEK: The Trojans swept a three-game series on the road at Washington last weekend, extending their winning streak to six games before it was snapped by San Diego on Tuesday when the Toreros came back for a 6-5 win in the ninth.
 
CAREER WEEKEND FOR JT: John Thomas led the way for the Trojans in their sweep of Washington, earning himself Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. Thomas led USC at the plate, going 6-for-10 in the series and driving in a team-high six runs. The senior utility player had a career-best 5-for-5 day at the plate, with four RBI, in a 7-5 comeback win on Saturday. He then drove in the first two runs of the game with a double in Sunday's 11-3 finale victory.
 
POWER SURGE: Jamal O'Guinn has bumped his power numbers considerably over the last two weeks, hitting four homers in his last six games. One of his biggest long balls came in the bottom of the ninth against Nevada in the Saturday game, when he hit a walkoff, two-run homer to propel USC to a 5-4 victory. O'Guinn's five homers, 14 RBI and .571 slugging percentage all lead the Trojans this year.
 
RAINY COMEBACK: The Trojans made an impressive comeback on the road at Washington on Saturday, battling through two separate rain delays to overcome a 3-0 deficit. USC got a huge relief appearance from Garrett Clarke in the game, as the righty transfer tossed 5.0 scoreless innings to hold the line as USC battled back. Jamal O'Guinn and Ben Ramirez homered in the game, and John Thomas drove in the winning runs in the seventh.
 
CLEANING UP THE DEFENSE: A big part of USC winning six of its last seven has been the drastically improved play in the field by the Trojans. USC committed 20 errors through its first nine games this year, but over the last seven have committed only four. One stabalizing force has been the return of senior infielder Tyler Pritchard, who came back from a hamstring injury at the start of the Nevada series to take over at short.
 
2021 SQUAD AT A GLANCE: The 2021 Trojans return 27 lettermen from last year, have three players coming off of redshirt seasons and have added 15 newcomers to the roster.
 
On the position player side, the most notable returning veterans are INF/OF Jamal O'Guinn (.378/.500/.564), 1B/DH Clay Owens (.346/.400/.577) and Ben Ramirez (.310/.375/.552). Another pair of underclassmen returners who impressed during the 15-game 2020 season are Rhylan Thomas (.356/.412/.422) and Tyresse Turner (.257/.372/.371, 6-6 SB).
 
On the pitching side, starters LHP Isaac Esqueda (0-1, 1.20 ERA) and LHP Alex Cornwell (2-1, 3.66 ERA) lead the charge, while RHP Chandler Champlain (1.23 ERA) looks to lock down a starting role as well. The Trojans had five relievers post sub-2.00 ERA's last year, losing just RHP/DH Ben Wanger of the group.
 
DRAFTED/SIGNED: The Trojans lost a pair of key players to the MLB last year. RHP Kyle Hurt was selected in the fifth round of the shortened 2020 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins and chose to sign with the club. Hurt was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers this February. LHP John Beller was later snatched up in the undrafted free agent market by the St. Louis Cardinals.
 
LAST YEAR: The Trojans had their 2020 season cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic, finishing the year 10-5. During the abbreviated season, USC picked up signature wins over No. 2 and defending National Champs Vanderbilt and No. 22 TCU.
 
USC TO THE MLB: No other school can claim a larger number of alumni who have made it to the big leagues, with 116 Trojans having played in the MLB. The list includes three Trojans who have made it to the MLB Hall of Fame (Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver, Pat Gillick), nine Cy Young Awards (Johnson 5 times, Seaver 3 times, Barry Zito once), three Rookie of the Years (Seaver, Fred Lynn, Mark McGwire), one American League MVP (Lynn), one World Series MVP (Johnson), 29 World Series appearances and 67 All-Star Game appearances. In all, 341 Trojans have been selected in the MLB Draft.
 
CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: The Trojans have an unparalleled history of championship success at the College World Series, winning 12 total national titles (1948, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1998). The 12 titles are double any other team in the country and were won in 21 CWS appearances by the Trojans. USC won five straight NCAA Championships from 1970-74, a feat no other program has accomplished.