D'Andre Smith's Homer Powers USC Baseball Past Santa Clara in Season Opener
LOS ANGELES – D'Andre Smith hit a two-run homer in the first and Isaac Esqueda and Carson Lambert made it stand up on the mound as the USC baseball team beat Santa Clara 2-0 in their season opener at Dedeaux Field on Friday night.
In what was the 135th meeting between the two clubs, the Trojans held Santa Clara to just two hits on the day and stranded seven Bronco runners to start the season 1-0. It was the first opening day shutout by USC since 2005.
Smith was the second batter of the game and, following a leadoff walk by Rhylan Thomas, he launched a no-doubter out to left field to set off a celebration by the crowd of 1,374 fans.
Despite a slow night offensively the rest of the way, USC would also finish with two hits, Esqueda and Lambert made sure to limit the damage and keep the visitors scoreless, getting plenty of help from their defense on the night. Esqueda, who was making his second consecutive opening day start for USC, had to strand a pair of runners in both the first and second, but settled in and allowed just one baserunner over the next three innings. He retired the last eight batters he faced before exiting prior to the sixth.
Johnny Olmstead laid out for a grounder at third to end the first inning and keep Santa Clara off the board, and Miko Rodriguez made a diving grab in foul territory in the third to help strand a runner. Olmstead also started the game-ending double-play in the ninth.
Lambert stranded runners on first in the sixth and seventh, before tossing a perfect eighth. The Broncos worked a one-out walk in the ninth, but Olmstead erased it with the 5-4-3 double play. Both pitchers struck out a pair in the game.
- D'Andre Smith: 1-for-2, 2-R HR, BB
- Isaac Esqueda: 5.0 IP, 0R, H, 3BB, 2K
- Carson Lambert: 4.0 IP, 0R, H, 2BB, 2K
The Trojans and Broncos play Saturday at 2 p.m. and then wrap their series up on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on Pac-12+ via USCTrojans.com.
— USC Baseball (@USC_Baseball) February 19, 2022