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COLLEGE ROUNDUP

USC Falls From First After Rout

April 15, 2002|ERIC STEPHENS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Stanford, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation, used the long ball to batter USC pitching all weekend in knocking the Trojans out of the Pacific 10 Conference lead.

The Cardinal took two of three games at Stanford's Sunken Diamond by blowing out USC, 15-4, Sunday behind three-run home runs by Arik VanZandt, Brian Hall and Jason Cooper. All three hit homers in USC's 16-11 victory Saturday and Stanford had 11 home runs in the three games.

On Sunday, the Trojans (20-16, 6-3 in Pac-10 play) were held in check by starter John Hudgins (6-0) after banging out 16 hits Saturday, led by David Gordon's four hits and four runs batted in and Joey Metropolous' three-run homer.

Hudgins gave up four runs and nine hits in seven innings, including home runs by Brian Barre and Alberto Concepcion.

USC fell half a game behind Arizona State, and Stanford (25-8, 4-2) pulled within one game of the Sun Devils.

"It's huge for us to win two out of three games against USC," Cooper said. "We expect them to be right near the top of the Pac-10 standings when the season is over."

Arizona State (24-13, 8-4) took over first place with a 15-2 victory over UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Bruins lost two of three and fell to 15-22, 2-4.

In the Big West, first-place Long Beach State (23-10, 8-1) kept its one-game lead with a 4-2 victory over UC Santa Barbara at Blair Field. Jered Weaver (5-2) scattered eight hits in five innings and Nate Beucler threw four shutout innings of relief for his first save.

Left fielder Chris Wright went three for three and nine for 11 for the series. Wright said Sunday's victory was key after the 49ers committed three errors Saturday and gave up seven runs in the 10th inning of a 13-6 loss.

Long Beach, ranked 14th by Baseball America, has won eight of 10 three-game series this season.

"The key thing [Sunday] was we didn't let our emotions get in the way," Wright said.

Cal State Fullerton (23-12, 7-2) took two of three at Pacific by winning, 11-4. The No. 13 Titans won, 5-4, Friday before losing, 8-7, Saturday. Cal State Northridge (25-13, 6-3) dropped two games behind Long Beach by losing 8-2 to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after splitting the first two games of the series. Kevin Correia (7-2) pitched a seven-hitter in outdueling Northridge ace Bill Murphy (7-2).

UC Riverside (22-16, 3-6) completed a three-game sweep of Cal State Sacramento by winning 17-5 on Sunday. In winning their first Big West games, the Highlanders outscored the Hornets, 34-8, in the three games.

Joe Silva sparked a three-run eighth-inning rally with a home run as Loyola Marymount (16-21, 9-5) defeated Pepperdine, 8-5, to take two of three from the Waves. Pepperdine (19-20, 8-5) had its lead in the West Coast Conference's Coast Division sliced to half a game over St. Mary's.

*

Natasha Watley's single drove in Casey Hiraiwa with two out in the bottom of the 10th inning to give No. 2 UCLA a 1-0 victory over No. 8 California in a Pac-10 softball game at UCLA.

UCLA won two in a row against Cal after defeating No. 3 Stanford on Friday. Amanda Freed shut out the Golden Bears on four hits as the Bruins improved to 37-6, 5-3.

*

A bench-clearing baseball brawl between Maryland and Georgia Tech prompted umpires to suspend Sunday's game at College Park, Md.

Georgia Tech led, 12-0, in the seventh inning when Jeff Watchko threw a pitch behind Jason Maxey. Moments later, Maxey hit a home run and exchanged words with Watchko as he rounded the bases.

Watchko was ejected, and as Maxey's teammates gathered at the plate to congratulate him, catcher Tyler Parker got into an argument with Maryland players. Georgia Tech players then rushed onto the field.

The umpires conferred for about an hour before deciding to suspend the game because of Georgia Tech's travel arrangements. The Atlantic Coast Conference is expected to decide the game's outcome today.

Associated Press

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