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Trojans' Comeback Not Enough, Lose To Oregon State 4-3

Brian Sumers |
April 3, 2010 | 8:50 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

USC launched a late-inning comeback Saturday but still lost
to Oregon State..

Perhaps if Matt Foat had taken an acting class or two at USC, Saturday's baseball outcome might have been different.

Foat, the Trojans' left fielder, watched in the first inning as a hit from Oregon State's Michael Miller rolled next to the tarpaulin inside the foul line. Foat ran to the ball, then raised his hands to ask the play be ruled a ground rule double. But the umpire did not agree, and Miller had a two-run inside-the-park home run.

Rarely are baseball games decided so early, but Saturday was one of those days for the USC baseball team, which fell behind by three runs in the first and could not recover. The Trojans lost 4-3, dropping two of three games at home to the No. 21 Beavers.

Despite the first-inning troubles, the Trojans (14-14, 2-4 Pac-10) came remarkably close to a comeback victory. They loaded the bases in the ninth and scored one run before second baseman Joe De Pinto struck out to end the game.

"We could have at least taken two of three in this series," USC coach Chad Kreuter said. "We were one swing of the bat from winning today."

A timely hit may have helped the Trojans in the ninth, but it was their pitching that kept them close throughout the rest of the game.

Starter Andrew Triggs (1-4) coasted after the first, at one point retiring 11 consecutive batters. He pitched seven innings, striking out six and walking one. Triggs, who threw more curveballs and changeups as the game progressed, said he tried to forget what happened early.

"You have to," he said, "especially when you give up a three spot in the first inning."

Neither Triggs nor Kreuter wanted to dwell on the umpire's judgment call in the first inning. When it happened, Kreuter jogged to the field to discuss it, but returned to the dugout after a short chat. It appeared the ball was playable, even though Foat raised his hands.

Kreuter noted the Trojans were the beneficiaries of a similar play earlier this season against UCLA, when De Pinto hit a triple that lodged in the tarpaulin at Dodger Stadium.

Kreuter said he was more disappointed by what happened in the ninth with the Beavers batting and USC trailing 3-2. With no one out and a runner at first, Oregon State's Parker Berberet bunted, but the Trojans threw to second base, where they were unable to force the runner.

The Beavers (18-6, 2-1) then loaded the bases before USC reliever Brandon Garcia hit Stefen Romero, forcing in a valuable insurance run.

Without the extra run, USC would have faced a less daunting one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth and the outcome of the game may have been different.

"We were close, but close doesn't make me feel any better," Kreuter said.



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