USC flattens Hawaii with shutout


POSTED: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Southern California looked anything but tired as it wrapped up a brutal stretch of baseball games with a series win.

Chad Smith, Brandon Garcia and Shuhei Fujiya combined on a three-hit shutout and Ricky Oropesa hit his third home run of the series to lead the Trojans to a 9-0 victory over Hawaii last night at Les Murakami Stadium.

USC (9-8) completed a run of eight games in nine days in three different ballparks with its third straight victory in front of a crowd of 1,135.

Hawaii was outscored 24-3 in the final three games and held without a run for the final 15 innings of the series to fall to 7-9.

Alex Sherrod had three hits and Matt Hart went 2-for-4 with three RBIs as USC outhit the Rainbows 14-3.

Things got heated between the two teams in the eighth. Reliever Lenny Linsky and Taylor Wrenn exchanged words after Wrenn grounded out for the second out of the inning. Linsky then whistled his next pitch behind USC's Joe De Pinto, drawing a warning from umpire Ken Eldridge.

Wrenn had been thrown out trying to steal third in the sixth with USC up 7-0.

After saying on Sunday he'd either go with Josh Slaats or Connor Little, Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso started junior Zach Gallagher, who threw a perfect inning in Friday's 8-2 win.

The right-hander from Camas, Wash., made his third appearance of the season and got off to a solid start, retiring the first four batters he faced.

He faced the minimum nine through three innings before USC got to him the second time around.

Oropesa, who finished with three doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs in the series, went opposite field for a two-run home run in the fourth. The next three batters all reached base to load the bases and end Gallagher's day after 3 1/3 innings.

USC tacked on a run with a sacrifice fly, but Blair Walters got out of the inning by striking out Kevin Roundtree to strand two men on base.

Gallagher's final line was three runs on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts to take the loss for his first decision of the season.

Walters worked his way out of the fourth-inning jam, but the fifth wasn't as kind. Two hits and a throwing error by Pi'ikea Kitamura loaded the bases again for Oropesa, who worked a walk to bring in a run. USC scored on another sacrifice fly and Walters walked the next batter on five pitches.

Little got his chance on the mound and immediately surrendered a two-run single to Matt Hart as the Trojans poured it on the Rainbows.

Hawaii left runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings without scoring a run. Garcia roped a one-out double in the first and Kevin Macdonald was stranded on third in the second after lining a base hit off the shin of Smith.

After taking several minutes to shake it off and toss a few warm-up pitches, Smith stayed in the game.

He allowed consecutive one-out walks in the third, but blew Hawaii away from that point on, retiring the next 11 batters.

He was pulled after six innings, allowing just the two hits with two walks and a career-high eight strikeouts. He entered the game 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA.

The Rainbows wrap up their opening 20-game homestand with a four-game series beginning Friday against Air Force (4-12).