USC first baseman Ricky Oropesa hit and hit and hit on Friday night against Washington, but it was to no avail.
Despite a record-breaking night from the sophomore slugger that included three home runs, 14 total bases and five RBIs, the floundering Trojans fell 9-7 to the visiting Huskies in the first game of a three-game weekend series.
USC (26-32, 5-20) took the lead in the first inning on a solo shot from Oropesa but quickly gave it up in the second when sophomore right-hander Ben Mount — making his final start of the season — struggled to get the third out of the inning. When Oropesa doubled to lead off the third, the Trojans trailed 3-1, but RBI singles from Cade Kreuter and Adam Landecker soon followed to tie the score.
Oropesa also hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to bring USC to within two runs at 7-5 and belted another two-run homer in the ninth to again bring the Trojans within two runs — this time at 9-7. But while Oropesa went 4 for 5 on the night, his teammates combined to go a lackluster 7 for 30 (.233).
Oropesa (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif/Etiwanda) now has 19 homers on the season, putting him in a tie for seventh with Mark McGwire for most in a single-season in USC history. He is also tied for ninth on the all-time list with 32. His three-homer game also marked the first time the feat was accomplished since 2003, when former USC slugger (and current Pittsburgh Pirate) Jeff Clement did so in a game against Washington State.
The Trojans' winning percentage in Pac-10 play is now a dismal .200 as they return to Dedeaux Field on Saturday at 2 p.m. to face Washington.