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Bruins Edged Late by USC, 5-4

Mar 26, 2021
JT Schwartz (photo: Don Liebig)

LOS ANGELES – USC rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth to claim a walk-off, 5-4 win over No. 10 UCLA on Friday night at Dedeaux Field.

The Trojans (10-7, 4-0 Pac-12) had a pair of big hits during the ninth-inning rally and took advantage of three walks and an error.

UCLA (13-7, 2-2) hadn't trailed until the game-winning hit thanks in large part to seven spectacular innings from senior right-hander Zach Pettway.

Pettway kept the Trojans (9-8, 3-1) in check offensively for the duration of his seven-inning start, allowing just one earned run on three hits.

Besides a second-inning hiccup that saw USC string together two balls into left-center for a run, Pettway allowed just one hit and walked none the rest of the night.

After a leadoff single to start the fourth, Pettway responded by retiring 10 consecutive Trojans batters and ultimately ended up facing the minimum from that point until the end of the seventh (USC had a runner reach on a HBP in the seventh, but he was retired on a caught stealing).

The Bruins got on the board first on Friday, making the Trojans pay for a pair of two-out, four-pitch walks in the second inning as freshman third baseman Kyle Karros laced a 1-1 curveball from USC starter Isaac Esqueda into left field to plate Pat Caulfield.

Though USC would respond with a run in the bottom half of the second – with Ben Ramirez doubling into the left-center field gap to plate John Thomas – the Bruins would go on to re-take the lead in the bottom of the fourth.

A two-out rally produced the go-ahead run for the Bruins, with junior catcher Noah Cardenas shooting a grounder down the third base line and into the left field corner for a double and then scoring moments later after sophomore first baseman JT Schwartz lined a base hit up the middle.

UCLA added a pair of runs in the seventh. Junior shortstop Matt McLain sparked that rally with a triple into the right field corner, scoring on a Schwartz RBI groundout. The Bruins continued to rally after that, with Mikey Perez drawing a four-pitch walk to move Cardenas up into scoring position, which paid dividends as sophomore right fielder Michael Curialle dropped a soft liner into center field to cash him in.

UCLA and USC resume the series on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks and streamed on the Pac-12 Now app.