After falling behind 3-1 early, USC immediately responded and never looked back, coming away with an 8-5 victory to open their five-game homestand.
USC baseball reached the Top 25 in ESPN/USA Today’s Coaches Poll last week for the first time since 2015, but following a series sweep to Oregon State, the Trojans fell from the rankings. Looking to bounce back, USC welcomed CSUN for a midweek clash at Dedeaux Field.
The Trojans turned to freshman pitcher Michael Ebner on the bump, making his first career collegiate start. After allowing two unearned runs in the first, USC found itself in an early hole.
Like they’ve done all year, the Trojans immediately responded behind a two-run shot to center by senior catcher Connor Aoki. After taking the lead in the third on a wild pitch, senior right fielder Cole Gabrielson made a full-extension diving catch to keep USC ahead in the next half-inning.
Senior designated hitter Connor Clift maintained that momentum in the bottom frame, roping a leadoff home run to extend the Trojan lead to 5-3.
After exchanging runs in the sixth thanks to Aoki’s third RBI of the game, redshirt freshman second baseman Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek smashed USC’s third home run of the night, providing the Trojans with some insurance runs going into the final two innings.
Senior relief pitcher Toby Spach kept CSUN’s bats silent in the middle innings, pitching 2 1/3 innings with a career-high 5 strikeouts and earning himself the win in the process.
Redshirt junior reliever Kyle Wisch closed the door for the Trojans in the ninth, recording his fourth save on the season as USC defeated CSUN 8-5.
The Trojans will host crosstown rival UCLA for a three-game series beginning on Friday night. USC will look for revenge after dropping its first game to the Bruins 5-3 earlier in the season.