Oropesa's Two Homers Ignite USC, 9-3
April 29, 2009
Fullerton, Calif. -
Freshman first baseman Ricky Oropesa blasted his ninth and tenth home runs for five runs Wednesday night to lead USC to a 9-3 non-conference victory at No 6-ranked Cal State Fullerton.
The Trojans got six effective innings from starter Anthony Vasquez (3-4) to improve to 22-20 and avenge a 9-2 loss to the Titans at home 15 days ago. Fullerton squandered numerous scoring chances and saw its 6-game winning streak snapped as it fell to 29-12 overall and 10-8 at home. Starter Kyle Witten (4-3) gave up both of Oropesa's homers in two-plus innings and took the loss.
Fullerton put 12 runners on base in the fourth through seventh innings but managed only one run as the Trojans got four outs on the basepaths. In the fifth, Christian Colon was caught in a rundown between first and second after his pop fly fell into short left field for a single. Two subsequent singles and a walk loaded the bases but Khris Davis hit into a 6-3 double play. In the sixth, a hit batter, a walk and an error by shortstop Grant Green loaded the bases with no outs. But Tony Harkey hit into a 1-2-3 double play and Shevis Shima flied out to center. The Titans lost another potential run in the seventh when Gary Brown was thrown out trying to steal second two pitches before Jared Clark singled home Joey Siddons from third.
USC put up three runs immediately. Leadoff hitter Mike O'Neill beat out an infield hit behind second base and went to second as Alex Sherrod executed a hit-and-run single to left on the first pitch he saw. After Witten got Green on a fly ball to right, Oropesa hit a 2-0 pitch well over the right-centerfield fence.
Oropesa took Witten deep again in the third inning, this time to left center with Green aboard after being hit by a pitch.
Fullerton got one run back in the bottom of the first. Colon doubled up the alley in left-center and came home on ground balls to second by Joey Siddons and Gary Brown. Siddons doubled home Colon, who had walked, with one out in the third to make it a 5-2 game.
But USC came back with two runs in the top of the fourth without hitting the ball out of the infield. Joe DePinto singled off third baseman Siddons' glove and O'Neill walked. They moved up 90 feet as Sherrod grounded out. Green then singled to deep shortstop to score DePinto and O'Neill also came home when Colon's throw skipped past first baseman Jared Clark for an error and an unearned run.
Reliever Kevin Rath, who had come on after Oropesa's second home run, was charged with a run in the sixth when reliever Kyle Mertins mishandled Billy Pinkerton's safety squeeze bunt that scored Vasquez and made it an 8-2 game. USC added a run in the seventh on singles by Vasquez and Pinkerton against Mertins, a wild pitch by reliever Nick Ramirez and a sacrifice fly to left by Robert Stock.
Kevin Couture finished the seventh and eighth innings and Ryan Cabral worked the ninth for USC.
The nine runs scored by the Trojans were the fourth most allowed by Titan pitching this season.
Fullerton hosts a 3-game Big West Conference series this weekend while USC visits Washington for a 3-game Pac-10 series.