Advertisement

USC Lumbers Into Another Super Regional

College baseball: Trojan bats come alive in 13-10 victory over BYU, and they advance for fourth straight year.

June 04, 2002|ERIC STEPHENS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the first two games of the NCAA baseball regional at Dedeaux Field, USC had survived on clutch pitching and key late-inning hits to defeat Brigham Young and Cal State Northridge. But the big guys who had powered the Trojans to a Pacific 10 Conference championship were largely kept quiet.

Facing a BYU team that had given them fits three days earlier, the Trojans on Monday needed production from first baseman Bill Peavey and catcher Alberto Concepcion. They got it, as the two helped charge a 21-hit attack in a 13-10 victory over the Cougars that advanced USC to the super regional for the fourth straight year.

USC (37-22) will face Pac-10 rival Stanford in a best-of-three series in Palo Alto beginning Friday night. It will be the second time in four years the teams have played each other with a College World Series berth on the line.

Peavey, who leads the team in home runs and runs batted in, had only two hits and had not driven in a run in the first two games of the regional. Concepcion, the conference player of the year and a .369 hitter, did nothing in eight at-bats.

That all changed against Cougar starter Jacob Chrisman. Peavey drilled a solo home run in the first and added two more hits and drove in two more runs. Concepcion tripled in two runs in a seven-run fourth inning and went three for four. Travis McAndrews added to the onslaught with his second grand slam of the season.

"[Opponents] pitched us really well the first two games," said Peavey, who has 15 homers and 71 runs batted in. "I thought if we'd stay with our approach and stay within ourselves, we'd get to [Chrisman]."

Everyone in the USC lineup got at least two hits except second baseman Anthony Lunetta. The first five batters--Brian Barre, Michael Moon, Concepcion, Peavey and Joey Metropoulos--went 14 for 26 with eight runs batted in.

"What I stressed to my pitchers and catchers is that we didn't want Concepcion and Peavey to beat us," BYU Coach Vance Law said. "The first ballgame, that didn't happen. This time, Peavey got the big home run and Concepcion got a big triple. They're a line-drive-hitting team and they put the ball in play. When you do that, there's never an easy out."

The Trojans needed almost every run to hold off a team that batted .329 in four regional games. A 9-0 Trojan lead didn't faze the Cougars as they got to USC starter Jordan Olson (3-2) in the fifth. Jake Stubblefield hit the first of his two home runs to lead off the inning. BYU then put together five consecutive hits and scored three times to cut the lead to 9-4.

USC got out of the inning when shortstop Moon used the hidden-ball trick, catching Doug Jensen stepping away from second base and tagging him to end the inning.

"I put [the ball] under my arm and hoped that no one would figure it out," Moon said. "Jordan saw it perfectly and picked up the rosin bag and threw it down in frustration to let everyone think he had the ball. The key thing is the second base umpire knew what was going on. We've tried it a couple of times before and tagged the guy but either the umpire calls time out or doesn't see what is going on."

Moon hit a solo home run in the sixth but the Cougars kept coming back. Jensen singled in a run and Matt Carson doubled in another to cut the lead to 10-6. Brett Bannister, who pitched six scoreless innings in relief to beat the Cougars Friday, gave up a sacrifice fly to Rob Itri before serving up a two-run homer to Stubblefield.

Comebacks are nothing new to BYU (31-31-1), which erased a seven-run Nevada Las Vegas lead in the Mountain West Conference tournament and a 5-2 Maine lead in an elimination game Saturday.

"It would have been very easy for us down 9-0 to fold up the tent," Law said. "Our guys have way too much character to let that happen."

The Trojans again got a key performance from senior Cory Campos, this time out of the bullpen. Campos, who pitched 6 2/3 strong innings to beat Northridge on Saturday, bailed out the shaky relief corps by getting the final five outs.

The left-hander struck out Itri with the bases loaded in the eighth to preserve an 11-10 lead, then pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|