Baseball makes short trek to Pepperdine

first_imgThe baseball team prepares for a short trip up to Malibu on Tuesday night, as the Trojans face Pepperdine for the second time in as many weeks. USC won last Tuesday’s game against the Waves at Dedeaux Field in extra innings thanks to a walk-off single from senior Timmy Robinson. Robinson and company will now look to make it two in a row against Pepperdine at Eddy D. Field Stadium.The Trojans are coming off a weekend series win over Utah, which improved their record in Pac-12 play to 5-4 and 15-15 overall. After taking two impressive victories to open the three-game set, USC suffered a 14-8 blowout at the hands of the Utes in the series finale. The team remains upbeat, however, having notched another Pac-12 series win.“We obviously wanted a sweep [against Utah],” senior AJ Ramirez said. “But taking a series against one of the top teams in the conference gives us momentum going forward.”Head coach Dan Hubbs agreed that the series win was paramount, but he also criticized his pitching staff for not making opponents work to get on base, particularly in Sunday’s finale.“We have to minimize the free bases we give up — it’s as simple as that,” Hubbs said. “When we don’t pitch, anyone is going to beat us.”Junior Bernardo Flores, who tossed six scoreless frames in relief on Saturday, agreed with his coach and praised senior pitcher Kyle Davis for firing up the rest of the Trojan arms to step up their game over the course of the season.“He’s always out there pushing us and helping us strive to get better,” Flores said. “It’s one of those things you see in a leader, and it’s what has motivated us to go out there and perform.”Hubbs, as he has often repeated throughout the spring, said that he wanted his players to trust their own abilities and stop pressing, both at the plate and on the mound.“When we try and get big and try to do too much, that’s when we get into trouble,” Hubbs said.Perhaps a familiar foe will calm USC’s nerves on Tuesday. After last week’s loss pushed them below .500, the Waves rebounded over the weekend to take two out of three against Santa Clara, and Pepperdine will enter its matchup against the Trojans with an identical 15-15 record. The Waves are definitely comfortable at home, with 12 of their 15 wins of the spring coming at Eddy D. Field Stadium and this USC squad needs no reminder, after being pushed to 12 innings last year and escaping Malibu with a 2-0 victory.Despite the disappointing end to the weekend, Ramirez was confident that the squad would come out firing against Pepperdine.“We can compete with anyone in the country,” Ramirez said. “We know we can hit as a team, and we know we can pitch as a team.”First pitch at Eddy D. Field Stadium will be at 3 p.m. After taking on the Waves, the Trojans will prep for a grueling weekend series in Eugene, when USC plays Oregon in its third in-conference series of the season.last_img