USC Takes Game Two With A 16-11 Win

The USC Trojans jumped out to an 11-0 lead after just 1 1/2 innings and then held-on for a 16-11 victory over the Stanford Cardinal on a warm Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond. Tim Cunningham was roughed-up for nine runs in just one inning and the deficit was too big for the Card to come back from despite a season-high five homers from the Stanford hitters. Read on for a recap of this afternoon's slugfest.

On a warm Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond, the USC Trojans defeated the Stanford Cardinal 16-11 to even up the series and set the stage for a pivotal rubber game tomorrow.  The Trojans (20-15, 6-2) jumped out to an 11-0 lead after just 1 1/2 innings and then held-on for the victory.  Stanford starting pitcher Tim Cunningham lasted just one inning (he faced three batters in the second) and gave up nine runs on eight hits.  The Cardinal (24-8, 3-2) offense chipped away at the USC lead, but in the end, they just ran out of innings.

In the top of the first, Anthony Lunetta and Alberto Concepcion reached base consecutively with one out on a walk and a single.  #4 hitter Joey Metropoulos knocked them both home with a three-run blast to straight-away center field and USC was quickly ahead 3-0.  They weren't done in that first inning though as Bill Peavey doubled and then advanced to third on a single off the bat of David Gordon.  Both Peavey and Gordon then both came home when Michael Morales tripled extending the lead to 5-0.  Two batters later, Michael Moon singled home Morales making the score 6-0 USC after just 1/2 of an inning.

After Stanford quickly went down in the bottom of the first, the Trojan hitters went back to work off Cunningham in the second inning.  Concepcion led off with a walk and then consecutive singles by Metropoulos and Peavey made the score 7-0 and ended Cunningham's afternoon.  Coach Marquess summoned freshman Mark Jecmen to pitch and Jecmen didn't fare much better.  The first two batters he faced reached on singles and after the dust had settled, USC had a commanding 11-0 lead after just 1 1/2 innings.

Looking for more of that Sunken Diamond magic, Stanford began their slow climb back into the game in the bottom of the second inning.  With one out, Jason Cooper crushed a home run to deep right field cutting the Trojan lead to ten runs.  Then with two out, Donny Lucy was hit by the pitch and then was brought home when Brian Hall homered to left field making the score 11-3.  At this point, Jecmen settled down on the mound putting up zeros in the third, fourth, and fifth innings while giving up just one hit in the process.  Then in the bottom of the fifth, with the score still 11-3, the Stanford hitters cut into the USC lead some more.  Three straight singles by Hall, Arik VanZandt, and Chris O'Riordan made the score 11-4 and set the table for the heart of the order.  But Sam Fuld grounded into a double play and the chances for a big inning now appeared slim.  But Ryan Garko then walked putting two runners on with two outs which brought Carlos Quentin to the plate.  Quentin delivered with a home run to left-center field cutting the USC lead down to 11-7 and giving Stanford some hope.

That would be the closest the Cardinal would get this afternoon as the USC responded with three scores of their own in the top of the sixth.  Jecmen walked the first two hitters of the inning and then a single loaded the bases for Peavey.  Peavey knocked home one run with a sacrifice fly and then the big hit came from David Gordon who doubled down the left field line scoring two more runs which pushed the lead back up to seven runs.  That would end Jecmen's afternoon as Drew Ehrlich was brought into pitch, but the damage had already been done.

With the score still 14-7 USC, Stanford added a single run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Arik VanZandt home run to left field.  Their best chance to get back into the game came in the seventh inning as the Cardinal put runners on first and second with one out.  But both Quentin and Cooper popped out to first ending the rally and keeping the score at 14-8.  The Trojans added two insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings to extend the lead to 16-8.  Gordon doubled home a run in the eighth off Ehrlich and then in the ninth, Concepcion doubled home a run off Jonny Dyer.

Stanford's last hope came in the bottom of the ninth and Jason Cooper made it somewhat interesting with a three-run homer to right-center field making the score 16-11.  But Cory Campos was then brought into pitch and retired the final two hitters of the game giving USC a crucial Pac-10 victory this afternoon.

Game Notes :
* The five home runs hit by Stanford this afternoon was a season-high.  They've now hit eight homers thus far in this series.

* USC starting pitcher Matt Chico picked up the win on the mound tossing five innings while giving up seven runs and seven hits.

* With the two home runs today, Jason Cooper now has hit a team-high nine on the year.  He also leads the club with a .393 batting average and 36 RBI.

* Chris O'Riordan has been heating up as of late.  He finished the day 3-for-5 and in his last five games he is a sizzling 13-for-23 with three home runs.  His batting average is at a personal season-high of .356.

* This was the second time in their last four games that the Stanford pitching staff has given up 15 or more runs in a game.  They gave up 15 runs in a 15-13 loss to Arizona last Sunday.

USC         6 5 0  0 0 3  0 1 1   -   16  16   1
Stanford    0 3 0  0 4 0  1 0 3   -   11  12   0

The Trojans and Cardinal will conclude this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at Sunken Diamond with first pitch scheduled for 1pm.  Stanford will send righthander John Hudgins (5-0, 4.70) to the mound while USC has not announced a starting pitcher.  The Cardinal will be looking to win their tenth consecutive series to begin the year and their 12th in a row going back to last season.  Stanford has also not lost a regular season home three-game series since April of 1999 (USC).

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