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Stanford Eliminates USC, 5-3


PALO ALTO — If there was one thing USC could count on in a strange season, it was that its batters would wake up at any time and overpower an opponent. The Trojans scored 10 runs or more on 20 occasions. They won 19 of those games, a big reason why they beat Stanford for the Pacific 10 Conference championship.

But this was the NCAA super regional at Stanford against a team that is dominant at home. That was the case Saturday as the frustrated Trojans ended their season in a 5-3 loss to the Cardinal at Sunken Diamond.

Less than a week ago, USC (37-24) had 21 hits in a regional-clinching 13-10 victory over Brigham Young. The Trojans managed only 11 hits in two super regional games against Stanford.

"Generally, good pitching beats good hitting," USC center fielder Brian Barre said. "That's what happened this weekend."

With the Trojans not hitting, they couldn't afford to slip in other areas. But their defense failed in the sixth, spoiling a solid outing by junior left-hander Cory Campos.

Third baseman Jon Brewster tried to get Ryan Garko on a slow roller, but his throw sailed over first baseman Bill Peavey's head and Garko reached second base. Campos, who gave up only one earned run in 6 1/3 innings, induced another ground ball, but Peavey booted it to let Jason Cooper reach base.

Campos walked Carlos Quentin and fell behind Scott Dragicevich, who lined a 3-and-1 pitch to right-center field to score Garko and Cooper, and give Stanford a 3-2 lead. Dragicevich had four hits.

Quentin scored on a single by Brian Hall and Dragicevich scored on a single by Andy Topham, putting the Cardinal (45-16) on course for its 29th home victory in 33 games and fourth consecutive appearance in the College World Series.

Coach Mike Gillespie was bothered that Stanford's rally came with two out.

"They're certainly a club that you have to match pitch for pitch and play for play," Gillespie said. "You have to play well. If you give them a couple of extra outs to work with, well they're certainly a club that's capable of doing what they did."

Brewster tripled with one out in the fifth inning and scored on Barre's single for a 2-1 lead. But Tim Cunningham (10-2) got Alberto Concepcion, the Pac-10 player of the year, to ground into a double play.

A two-out double by Michael Moon knocked out Cunningham in the sixth, but Ryan McCally retired pinch-hitter Kris Cox on a fly ball.

In the eighth, Peavey walked with one out, but Joey Metropolous and Moon struck out looking against McCally and Dan Rich, who pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for his fifth save.

Metropolous and Concepcion, who combined for 113 runs batted in this season, were a combined 0 for 15 with seven strikeouts in the super regional.

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