After beginning the season 7-0 with four of the wins coming by way of walk-off, the USC Trojans were 1-3 heading into their weekend games against Houston, Pepperdine and No. 13 UCLA.
Friday: Houston 6, USC 1
The Trojans returned home to face the Cougars following a midweek loss on the road to UC Irvine. Unfortunately for the Trojans, Cougars ace Aaron Garza was on top of his game. In eight innings of work, Garza limited the Trojans to one run and five hits.
The Cougars scored one run in the first inning, added three more in the sixth, and their final two runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Ashford Fulmer led the way for the Cougars with two RBIs.
Kyle Twomey pitched six innings for the Trojans, allowing four runs and was charged with the loss.
Saturday: Pepperdine 10, USC 4
Riding a two-game losing streak Saturday brought the Waves to Dedeaux Field. The Trojans took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the Waves answered back in the second with two runs on an RBI double from Brad Anderson and singles from Aaron Barnett and Kolten Yamaguchi.
The Trojans then failed to get timely hits in the following innings, going scoreless, but still clinging onto a 3-2 lead heading into the sixth. Behind six hits in the top of the sixth inning, the Waves pushed across five runs to take a 7-3 lead, which the Trojans never recovered from. The Waves would then add three more runs in the eighth.
Wyatt Strahan received his second loss of the season and Kevin Swick managed to continue his hot hitting, going 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Sunday: No. 13 UCLA 5, USC 3
The Trojans hosted the Bruins on Sunday in their first Pac-12 game of the 2014 season. Seemingly in a downward spiral, Bob Wheatley and his 2-0 record to go along with a 0.47 ERA looked to get the Trojans back on track.
The game would remain scoreless going into the bottom of the sixth inning when Blake Lacey doubled in Garrett Stubbs to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead. Still in the inning and with runners on the corners, AJ Ramirez drove in a run on a bunt single to push the lead to 2-0.
Trailing 2-0 at the start of the eighth inning, the Bruins worked a two-out rally with the help of a Trojans error and finished their half of the inning with a 4-2 lead.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Lacey drove in a run on a fielder’s choice to bring the Trojans to within one run, at 4-3.
Chris Keck then hit a home run in the eighth inning to give the Bruins a 5-3 lead. However, the lead would quickly dwindle as the Trojans loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the eighth. After a bunt attempt failed to get a run in, the Trojans tied the game on a fielder’s choice.
The back-and-forth scoring would continue as the Bruins came up to bat in the ninth. With a runner on second and Nigel Nootbaar on the mound, the Bruins took a 6-5 lead. Brent Wheatley took over for Nootbaar and struck out Keck with the bases loaded, keeping the Trojans within one run.
Looking to recapture some of the late-inning magic from earlier this season, Jeremy Martinez stepped in the batter’s box with the tying and winning runs on base and the Trojans down to their last out, but the catcher was unable to get a run across and the Trojans fell to their crosstown rival, 6-5.
The Trojans finished the weekend with an overall record of 8-6 and are a disappointing 1-6 since starting the season undefeated. Next up is Loyola Maramount University on Tuesday before the Trojans head to Oregon for a three-game series, which begins Friday.