USC continues to find ways to win.
Tuesday against UC Irvine, the Trojans used a ninth-inning rally for a come-from-behind win. Friday, they used a strong pitching performance from Ben Mount and timely hitting to take the first game of a weekend series against visiting Utah.
And Saturday, the streaking Trojans got a big hit from a freshman to take back the lead they had surrendered and beat the Utes (19-23) in dramatic fashion.
Freshman designated hitter Cade Kreuter, the son of USC coach Chad Kreuter, smacked an RBI double to left with two on and one out in the bottom of the ninth to give USC a 6-5 victory, the Trojans' third consecutive win and five in their last six tries. Kreuter came to the plate after Utah reliever Stephen Streich walked leadoff hitter Mike O'Neill to start the ninth and intentionally walked USC big bopper Ricky Oropesa. Streich got the count to 0-and-2 before Kreuter fought off a pitch and proceeded to deliver the game-winning hit.
Junior right-hander Chris Mezger started the game for USC and went eight strong innings, giving up three earned runs. He cruised through the first four innings but ran into trouble in the fifth when four singles, two wild pitches and an error gave the Utes four runs. Mezger didn't give up an extra-base hit on the day; righthander Chad Smith came in and pitched a perfect ninth to earn his third win.
The Trojans (22-24) have an opportunity to extend their streak to a season-high four games Sunday, when they conclude their series with Utah at 12 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. A key midweek battle with Long Beach State then awaits them Wednesday after the university's finals conclude.