Trojans Edge Cardinal in Finale
LOS ANGELES – Playing yet another close game on Sunday, Stanford (24-9, 10-5 Pac-12) dropped a 2-1 decision to USC (19-19, 7-11 Pac-12) from Dedeaux Field.
Runs proved hard to come by in the finale, with USC breaking a scoreless game with a solo home run from Clay Owens in the seventh inning.
The round-tripper came after a controversial call went the way of the Trojans in the top of the seventh. Senior Nick Brueser hit a ball off the top of the wall in right field that looked to have bounced up and off the scoreboard before coming back into play. The ball was ruled to have stayed in the park, and Stanford stranded Brueser at third on the ensuing play.
Senior Tim Tawa tied the game at one with a solo homer in the top of the eighth – launching his sixth of the season out to left-center field.
Responding right away, USC scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth as Tyler Pritchard led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on sac bunt for the first out. Stanford elected to bring in an extra infielder to try to cut off the run at the plate, but Rhylan Thomas executed a perfect squeeze bunt to hand USC the lead at 2-1.
Alex Cornewell was stellar as USC's starting pitcher, allowing just one run on eight hits with four strikeouts to pick up the win and move to 5-4. Nate Clow contributed a scoreless ninth inning to earn his fourth save.
Freshman Brandt Pancer was saddled with the loss after being charged with the run in the eighth. Pancer dropped to 4-2 with the setback.
Starter Alex Williams tossed four shutout frames for the Cardinal, allowing just one hit and two walks with four strikeouts. Joey Dixon was the first out of the bullpen, logging two scoreless innings of work.
Stanford will return to action on Friday when it hosts Arizona in a three-game Pac-12 series from Sunken Diamond. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.