USC Coach Mike Gillespie figured the only way his Trojans would play host to an NCAA regional is if they won the Pacific 10 Conference championship. With Stanford and Washington sitting only one game back entering the weekend, a sweep of UCLA was the only way they could ensure that.
The Trojans won't know if they will be one of 16 host sites until this morning. But they will begin the playoffs as the Pac-10 champion after beating the Bruins, 13-3, Sunday to take all three games at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Freshman Joey Metropolous homered and drove in seven runs for USC--34-22 overall and 17-7 in the Pac-10--which won its second consecutive conference title and fifth in Gillespie's 16 seasons as coach.
"I would think [we'd host]," Gillespie said. "But I've got mixed feelings about the whole hosting thing. I would rather not be matched up with all the other good clubs in the West. But if that's the case, I'd rather be at home."
Metropolous hit a three-run home run in the fourth, his 13th of the season. He added a two-run double in the eighth that broke open a close game and finished the scoring with another two-run double in the ninth.
He said a three-game sweep was the only thing on the Trojans' mind all weekend. Stanford finished one game behind in second place and Washington two games back in third.
"We definitely wanted it," Metropolous said. "We knew if we didn't get three of three, we might have to share the title. You don't want to depend on another team losing."
USC took all six games from UCLA (26-35, 9-15) this year. Since going to six-game play in 1972, the only other Trojan season sweep was in 1984.
San Diego won its first West Coast Conference championship after it scored four times in the eighth inning to rally for a 5-3 victory over host Pepperdine in the deciding game of the best-of-three series. Jacob Barrack's sacrifice fly brought in the eventual winning run for the Toreros (38-21), who earned the automatic NCAA berth.
Long Beach State (37-19, 17-7) strengthened its bid for a postseason berth and a possible host site with a three-game sweep of Cal State Fullerton. The 49ers won seven in a row to end the season.