Baseball loses two of three to start season

first_imgUSC baseball fans who packed Dedeaux Field all weekend long to enjoy their first tastes of hot dogs, peanuts, and this highly anticipated team – ranked No. 12 in the nation – witnessed the Trojans’ first win of season on Sunday in walk-off fashion after the team lost its first two in a three-game series against North Dakota.USC players rushed to home plate to celebrate after a ninth inning single by senior designated hitter Timmy Robinson drove in the game-winning run for his first hit of the season. The Trojans recorded their first win of the season behind a strong five inning performance from junior pitcher Barnardo Flores. Flores allowed seven hits and 4 runs, 3 in the fifth.“That was nice,” said Robinson, who missed all regional practice games and saw his first live at-bats this series due to an injury. “That was relieving. I need to just keep that in my mind. I just need to keep going back to that and remember how that felt and take that in with every at bat with a positive attitude.”After struggling from the plate in their first two games, the Men of Troy responded with their most hits of the season with 11 Sunday.To contrast, USC struggled from the plate Friday, collecting three hits in its opening game that featured a matchup between both clubs’ strongest pitchers, and four hits on Saturday. Head coach Dan Hubbs credited North Dakota pitcher Zach Muckenhirn – who allowed 3 hits and remained in the game all nine innings Friday – for his ability to throw the ball high in the strike zone, causing his players to constantly get contact but fly out.  The Trojans, who lost 1-0, remained largely competitive as a result of senior starting pitcher Kyle Davis, who threw eight innings, allowing five hits.“You are going to win some and you are going to lose some in close games and when a guy is on a roll, he can shut you down,” Hubbs said, “Whether he was doing a great job of heightening the ball or whether we were having trouble deciphering whether the ball was up or down, the whole focus was to get a ball down in the zone to hit and we did not execute that.”In addition to losing 30 pounds in preparation for the season, Davis said that he has worked tirelessly with Coach Hubbs on his two-seamer pitch since the fall. Though Davis is known for his curveball and four-seamer, he noted that his strong eight-inning performance was a testament to the new pitch that allows him to accumulate easy outs from fly rather than ground balls. Davis struck out 10 North Dakota hitters who Coach Hubbs described as “really aggressive” and “swinging a ton,” but admitted that the Hawks were able to capitalize on one of his few mistakes in the game when North Dakota’s Miles Lewis scored a runner off a two-seamer which he left high.Davis, who was pleased with his performance in the season’s first game because he kept his team competitive, is confident that his teammates will create hits and learn to play in the framework of the team in order to accomplish their individual goals.“Personally, I want to be Pac-12 pitcher of the year,” Davis said. “I want to be an All-American. I want to do everything I possibly can, so I am pretty excited for the season.”On Saturday, the Trojans fell 5-4, failing to tie the game late despite a rally in the bottom of the ninth.Hubbs, Robinson, and junior catcher Jeremy Martinez all mentioned that the Trojan team plays its best when they are relaxed and having fun. Each said that the team might have had jitters in their opening games but hope that this first win will allow players to exhale and better prepare for their highly anticipated season.“As long as we play our game we are going to do fine,” Martinez said. “We know there are going to be close ball games that you can win or lose, so you can never be too happy to take a win. But every win we take this year we are going to be happy, whether they are the one-run games or the 10-run games. We just need to keep improving and hopefully we can take it into the playoffs at the end of the year.”last_img

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