LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans defeated Washington State 4-2 on Saturday afternoon to take the series over the Cougars at Dedeaux Field.
The Trojans (12-6, 2-0 Pac-12) tallied their four runs on 11 hits, led by Brandon Perez (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei HS) and Corey Dempster (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS). Dempster led the way with two RBIs on the day, tying with catcher Blake Sabol (Aliso Viejo, Calif./Aliso Niguel HS), who has had two on the day.
The Trojans got their second strong start of the series, as Brad Wegman (Temecula, Calif./Great Oak HS) went a solid six complete innings, holding the Cougars to just one run on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts. He earned the win to advance to 2-2 on the season.
The Trojans got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning, as Sabol picked a big moment for his first collegiate extra-base hit, squaring up a double down the left field line to drive in two with two down.
The Trojans added another run in the third inning as Dempster drove in his first of the day, another two-out single back up the middle.
Down 3-0, the Cougars got on the board in the fourth inning off Wegman after Cory Meyer, who singled to lead off the inning, was driven in with two out by designated hitter Blake Clanton, who doubled to deep center field. Wegman was able to tally a big strikeout with the bases loaded to end the inning, minimizing the damage.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Trojans had a run pulled off the board controversially as a slide at the plate by Lars Nootbaar (El Segundo, Calif./El Segundo HS) was deemed illegal on a Dempster double. The Trojans answered right back though in the top of the sixth inning, as Brady Shockey (Irvine, Calif./JSerra HS) made a strong throw on a single to left field to cut down the runner at home plate, ending the inning.
With a 3-1 lead, the Trojans were in trouble in the top of the seventh, as they rallied against reliever Quentin Longrie (Mission Viejo, Calif./JSerra HS). After he got a ground out to start the inning, a walk and a double gave the Cougars two in scoring position with just one out. Reliever Bryce Dyrda (Oakdale, Calif./Oakdale HS) entered and after walking the bases loaded, he allowed a single that plated one run. However, the junior then struck out back-to-back Cougars to leave the bases loaded.
The Trojans added a much-needed insurance run in the eighth inning, as B. Perez singled to right center to plate Dempster from second on a close play at the plate.
From there on with a 4-2 lead, Dyrda took care of business, striking out the side in the ninth inning, tallying a total of six strikeouts on the day for his second career save.
The Trojans are looking for their first Pac-12 series sweep since they did so at Arizona on April 2-4, 2015. Last season the Trojans were in this same position at Washington State, but fell 9-2 in game three of the series. The Trojans are also looking for their first Pac-12 sweep at home since they took three from Arizona at Dedeaux Field in 2014.
Game three of the series is set for 11 a.m. PT at Dedeaux Field and will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.