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Thursday, May 13, 2010
Baseball: Trojans blown out at home

By Pedro Moura

And there goes that.

Winners of their last four and six of their last seven games, the Trojans came into Wednesday's game with Long Beach State hotter than they had been all season, but the visiting Dirtbags quickly dispatched any possibility of the streak continuing with a five-run seventh inning to take care of the Trojans, 9-1.

USC (23-25) committed four errors, including three in the fateful seventh inning.

"I'm embarrassed," USC coach Chad Kreuter said after the game. "I'm embarrassed for my staff, I'm embarrassed for these young men that are out here."

Up 2-1 heading into the seventh, the Dirtbags (22-23) had only two hits in the inning but patched together five runs on a walk and the three errors.

Six Long Beach State pitchers combined on a four-hitter, as starter Nate Underwood pitched four innings of one-hit ball. USC starter Kevin Couture was effective — but not effective enough. The senior right-hander gave up six hits and two runs in six innings. Kreuter used five relievers to finish out the final three innings.

Center fielder Mike O'Neill had two of USC's four hits, including a sixth-inning home run that landed in the parking lot just beyond the right-field fence. First baseman Ricky Oropesa, the Trojans' big bopper, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Other than O'Neill's homer, USC had just two runners reach second base. No more than four Trojans batters came to the plate in any one inning.

With a three-game weekend series with rival UCLA looming Friday, Kreuter said he was counting on a solid performance from his squad Wednesday. He emphasized he was in no way pleased with his team's performance.

"There was probably only a handful of guys who came onto the field ready to play," said Kreuter, who brought up the fact that USC finished finals Wednesday but simultaneously dismissed it. "That's no excuse when you walk out and you have the opportunity to get back to .500 tonight and continue the success that we've had, put ourselves on a good roll heading into UCLA."