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USC Baseball Closes Season at Utah

May 26, 2021

THIS WEEK: The USC baseball team hits the road for its final series of the season, heading to Utah for a three-game Pac-12 set starting on Thursday.
 
GAME SCHEDULE:
Thursday - USC at Utah (Ogden, Utah), May 27, 5 p.m. PT (Utah Live Stream)
Friday - USC at Utah (Ogden, Utah), May 28, 5 p.m. PT (Utah Live Stream)
Saturday - USC at Utah (Ogden, Utah), May 29, 10 a.m. PT (Utah Live Stream)
 
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Friday - USC: LHP Isaac Esqueda (5-3, 3.43 ERA) vs. UTAH: RHP Justin Kelly (1-9, 7.16 ERA)
Saturday - USC: RHP Chandler Champlain (4-4, 5.45 ERA) vs. UTAH: LHP Brayson Hurdsman (2-2, 3.86 ERA)
Sunday - USC: LHP Alex Cornwell (5-6, 5.04 ERA) vs. UTAH: RHP David Watson (2-8, 5.68 ERA)
 
BROADCAST INFO: All three games in Utah will be streamed on Pac-12+ via utahutes.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.
 
LAST WEEK: The Trojans hosted No. 25 Arizona State last weekend, dropping two of three to the Sun Devils. ASU took the opener and the finale, while the Trojans won Saturday's contest behind a strong 6.1 innings on the mound from Chandler Champlain.
 
SERIES VS. UTAH: USC leads the all-time series between the teams, 21-12, with the programs first playing back in 1951. The teams last played in Utah back in 2019, with the Utes taking two of three.
 
BEN RAMIREZ: Amongst regular starters, Ramirez leads the Trojans with a .307 batting average and .894 OPS. He has been the most consistent run producer for USC this year driving in 49 runs and scoring 22. Ramirez owns the second longest hitting streak of the season for USC at 10 games, and has the most multi-RBI games (13) and multi-hit games (18) in the Trojan lineup. Graduating this year, Ramirez put on a show at Senior Day on Sunday, hitting a pair of homers and driving in five runs.
 
RHYLAN THOMAS: Thomas has been the most difficult player in the Pac-12 and 17th most difficult in the country to strike out this season, averaging 12.4 at-bats per strikeout this year. Thomas also posted a team-best 25 game reached base streak and 12 game hitting streak earlier this season. Thomas is second on the team with a .306 batting average this year.
 
STAT RANKINGS:
Batting
Walks - Jamal O'Guinn (32) - 8th Pac-12
Home Runs - Clay Owens (11) - 8th Pac-12
RBI - Ben Ramirez (49) - 6th Pac-12
Stolen Bases - Tyresse Turner (19) - 4th Pac-12
Toughest to K - Rhylan Thomas (12.4 ab/k) - 1st Pac-12/17th NCAA
Toughest to K - John Thomas (10.8 ab/k) - 2nd Pac-12/31st NCAA
Triples - Ben Ramirez (3) - 4th Pac-12
Pitching
ERA - Isaac Esqueda (3.43) - 6th Pac-12
Saves - Nate Clow (6) - 5th Pac-12
 
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST VS. DIXIE: The Trojans put on an offensive show vs. Dixie State earlier this year, beating the Trailblazers by a combined score of 30-9. The Trojans scored 14 runs and had 16 hits in the opener, then put up 10 runs on 13 hits in the Saturday contest and closed the weekend with six runs on nine hits. The 14 runs and 16 hits in the opener were both season highs for USC.
 
RALLY VS. THE BRUINS: The Trojans made an improbable comeback against then-No. 10 UCLA in the series opener, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4 in walkoff fashion. John Thomas led the inning off with a single, then after two walks Tyler Pritchard drew a third walk to bring home Thomas. Jamal O'Guinn followed with a two-run, two-out single to tie the game, then a throwing error on a grounder to short allowed Pritchard to score the winning run.
 
RAINY COMEBACK: The Trojans made an impressive comeback on the road at Washington in the Saturday game, 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.
 
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.