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Reggie Southall's Timely Blast Keeps USC Undefeated

Jackson Safon |
February 28, 2015 | 9:26 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Reggie Southall's game-winning home run. (via USC Athletics)
Reggie Southall's game-winning home run. (via USC Athletics)

Thanks to a timely home run in a low-scoring deadlock of a game, the USC Trojans (10-0) defeated the Fordham Rams (1-4) by a close score of 3-2 on Friday night, extending their undefeated start to the season. 

Reggie Southall became USC’s unlikely hero at an unlikely time. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Southall blasted a deep home run to right field to give the Trojans the lead. It was the sophomore’s first career homer, and it came as he was only hitting .222 going into the game. 

Southall had no fear however; he came up in a big spot prepared to deliver, “As soon Dante got walked, and then Lacy got the bunt down, I was already telling myself ‘I’m going to win this game.’”

In a game where the Trojans did not get a hit until the fifth inning, it was pitching and defense that kept them in it, but a blast off the bat of a struggling sophomore was what won them the game. 

Starting pitcher Brent Wheatley pitched a very solid game, holding the Fordham Rams scoreless over seven innings while striking out 11 batters along the way. 

Wheatley got himself into a few jams, but was always able to get out of them, usually with a strikeout or two. With the seven shutout innings, Wheatley lowered his season ERA to an outstanding 2.12, and has rounded into form with 25 strikeouts in just 17 innings.

Coach Dan Hubbs recognized this and complimented Wheatley on his ability to get out of tough situations, as well as his growth as a pitcher.

“Brent did a great job. He pitched out of a couple jams and made some big strikeouts, and I don’t know if he would’ve been capable of doing that the last couple years, so that was big to see.”

Along with the pitching, the Trojans played excellent defense, committing no errors. Their stellar defensive effort was capped off by an outstanding play by first baseman Jeremy Martinez in the top of the eighth, as he dove to his left to catch a screaming line drive and dove back to first to double off the runner. 

 “Jeremy made that great play when Marc was pitching, and it would’ve been foul but it was huge to get a double play there and get through the inning,” recalled Hubbs. 

Although Kyle Davis let up two runs in the top of the ninth, the Trojan’s best pitcher was able to come in and close out the game to keep the perfect season alive for USC, and while they were expected to beat the Rams, the pressure is on for the Trojans every night as they look to continue their best start since 1988. 

READ MORE: Trojans Complete The Sweep, Move to 8-0

Though the Rams never led, they had plenty of chances to score but could never capitalize. Fordham had runners in scoring position in four of Wheatley’s seven innings, but they failed to get one across home plate. 

In a game that was centered around the climactic eighth inning, the team’s ability to stay in the game throughout to put themselves in a position to win was important. 

“It shows how resilient and how relentless this team is,” Southall said. “When you’re a good team you gotta find ways to win even when it’s not going your way.” 

Early on it was a pitchers duel, and both teams struggled to score runs with small ball, so Southall’s home run coming after he failed to get a bunt down was just the icing on the cake.

In the midst of the celebrating, however, Coach Hubbs continues to try and make the team better.

“He told me, ‘great job with the home run, but next time get the bunt down,’” recalled Southall. 

The Trojans next look to keep their perfect season alive with two more games at home against Fordham this weekend, Saturday and Sunday at noon on Dedeaux Field. 

Reach Staff Reporter Jackson Safon here.



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