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USC Kicks Away Chance to Win

Trojans commit eight errors and lose to Oregon State, 10-4, in super-regional opener.

June 12, 2005|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

CORVALLIS, Ore. — A wobbly USC Trojan defense committed a season-high eight errors to help Oregon State rally from an early three-run deficit and win the first game of their best-of-three NCAA super-regional, 10-4, at Goss Stadium on Saturday night.

Each member of USC's infield committed at least one error during a sloppy display that contributed to an early exit for ace Ian Kennedy. The sophomore right-hander left after 5 1/3 innings after giving up five runs (one earned) and four hits.

Kennedy (12-3) walked two and struck out eight, giving him a nation-leading 158 strikeouts for the season, while throwing 129 pitches.

He held the Beavers without a hit until there were two out in the fifth.

"I tried not showing that I'm ticked off this was going on," Kennedy said.

"[But] you can't get mad at your players. It just brings them down. As you can tell, this game can humble your whole team."

Oregon State surged ahead in the sixth thanks to the Trojans' sixth error, a wild throw by third baseman Billy Hart that allowed Shea McFeely, who had stroked a leadoff double down the right-field line, to move from second base to third.

McFeely scored on a wild pitch to tie the score at 4-4 before Ryan Gipson ripped Kennedy's next pitch for a run-scoring single past a drawn-in infield to make it 5-4.

The Beavers added five runs in the eighth, assisted by two more Trojan errors. Andy Jenkins delivered the crowning blow with a three-run homer that set the final margin.

"This team has played the best defensively of any team I've had in 40 years," USC Coach Mike Gillespie said. "Saying that, you can imagine the surprise we all had in what we saw.

"Everyone was humiliated. We trust we'll give a much better account of ourselves Sunday."

Oregon State scored two runs in the fourth, pulling to within 4-3, with the help of three Trojan errors. Kennedy appeared on the verge of escaping the inning unscathed after getting McFeely to ground into a double play to put a runner on third with two out.

But Kennedy walked Geoff Wagner and second baseman Hector Estrella misplayed a routine grounder for an error, allowing one run to score and Wagner to take third base.

Wagner came home to draw the Beavers within a run when shortstop Blake Sharpe bobbled a slow roller off the bat of Ryan Gipson.

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