WSU spoils three-run lead in ninth inning
USC scored eight times in the ninth inning against the Washington State bullpen and the Trojans rallied for a 15-10 victory in Pac-12 baseball, Friday at Bailey-Brayton Field.
Anthony Drobnick (2-1) began the ninth, his second inning of work, with the Cougars (12-11, 2-5 Pac-12) on top 10-7. A single, ground out, wild pitch and single cut the USC (16-8, 3-4 Pac-12) deficit to 10-8. After recording the second out, Washington State was one strike away from a win before a single kept the Trojans alive.
A walk loaded the bases and Adam Landecker’s two-run single tied the game 10-10. Richie Ochoa came out of the bullpen and promptly walked two men to force home the go-ahead run. Dante Flores followed with a three-run double and Kevin Swick greeted Sean Hartnett with a run-scoring double to cap the rally.
“We didn’t get a good start from J.D. (Leckenby) tonight and our bullpen didn’t do a good job,” Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut said. “When you are up 10-7 in the ninth at home and lose 15-10, nothing good comes out of the game.”
After USC scored in the top of the first, the Cougars tied the game on a two-out, RBI-single by Derek Jones. In the third, Jason Monda reached on a three-base error to open the frame. Taylor Ard doubled to score Monda and Jones followed with his sixth home run of the season to put the Cougars on top 4-1.
Washington State added a run in the fourth for a 5-1 lead. Ian Sagdal and Nate Blackham singled to open the frame. Two batters later, Sagdal scampered home on a wild pitch.
USC chased Leckenby in the sixth. The Trojans put together five-straight hits to score three runs and put runners at second and third before the Cougar right-hander recorded an out in the inning. Scott Simon relieved Leckenby and gave up a double that for a moment gave USC the lead. However, Brandon Garcia missed third base and was called out on appeal leaving the game tied 5-5. A wild pitch and successful squeeze bunt pushed across the go-ahead run.
The Cougars responded with five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 10-6 lead. Sagdal drew a leadoff walk and moved to second with two outs on a ground out. After Monda was intentionally walked, a throwing error on a ground ball by Ard allowed two runs to score and Ard reached third. Jones was intentionally walked before moving to second on a passed ball as Ard scored the third run of the inning. Adam Nelubowich walked and Tommy Richards singled to load the bases. Patrick Claussen’s two-run single gave the Cougars their four-run advantage.
The Trojans started their comeback with a run in the seventh against Simon and Nigel Nootbaar (1-0) earned the victory with two innings of shutout relief.