BY: NATHAN HYUN

The USC Trojans opened their third three-game set of the season against Grand Canyon University, but barely escaped a series sweep with a win in Sunday’s series finale, 7-1. The series loss to the Lopes is the second straight series loss of the season. USC now has a 4-6 record with Pac-12 play starting this week.

Game 1

On Friday, the Trojans kicked off their three-game series against Grand Canyon with a 4-2 loss in a tight pitchers’ duel. Both pitchers Trojan sophomore Kyle Hurt and Lopes junior Kade Mechals pitched five straight scoreless innings.

In the sixth inning, the Lopes' bats broke through for four runs on a single from sophomore catcher David Avitia single and a double from junior outfielder Quin Cotton. The Trojans answered in the bottom of the seventh with two runs of their own on a single from junior first baseman John Thomas.

Even though Trojans’ pitchers senior Quentin Longrie and junior Chris Clarke pitched three scoreless innings, the Trojans offense just could not break through. Limited to only four hits the entire game, the Trojans’ record fell to 3-5.
Cotton had one of his best performances of this season finishing the game with three hits, three RBIs in five plate appearances. On the other hand, for the Trojans, Thomas was the player of the game for the Trojans, earning two RBI’s in three plate appearances.

Game 2  

Due to the rain, the second game of the series was postponed to Sunday, as the first game of a doubleheader.
The Trojans sent out sophomore pitcher John Beller for game two and his outing did not go as expected. The Lopes came out hot, scoring three runs in the first inning. Then after a calm second inning, the Lopes outdid their first inning performance scoring four runs in the third off Beller and freshman relief pitcher Carson Lambert.
The star player for the Lopes was junior outfielder Kona Quiggle who racked up three RBI’s on three hits (two of which were doubles), while scoring two runs in five total plate appearances.

As for the Trojans, the team only scored three runs to the Lopes' seven between the fourth and fifth innings. Matthew Acosta finished with 1 run, two hits and an RBI.

The Lopes won their second straight against the Trojans, while the Trojans suffered their third straight loss.

Game 3

The Trojans began game thirty minutes after the conclusion of game two and were able to salvage a win and avoid the sweep, 7-1. Unlike the previous two games, the Trojans scored first, on a sacrifice fly from sophomore outfielder Jamal O'Guinn in the third inning. The Lopes answered right back in the top of the fourth on a solo home run from sophomore catcher Cuba Bess. However, this would be the first and only run scored for GCU.

The Trojans regained the lead in the sixth inning courtesy of an RBI single from senior infielder Chase Bushor. The Trojans added one more run in the sixth, before scoring 3 more in the eighth to beat the Lopes, 7-1, the Trojans’ first win in over a week.

O'Guinn finished with 1 run, two hits, an RBI and one walk and played both first base and right field.

Junior pitcher Connor Lunn earned his first win of the season on a two strikeout, three inning effort. As for the Lopes, sophomore pitcher Frankie Scalzo suffered his third loss of the season.

Up next:

The Trojans will begin Pac-12 play against UCLA at Dodger Stadium this weekend. The team has a 6 p.m. home game against Loyola Marymount on Tuesday.