LOS ANGELES – The Trojans dropped game three of the series to the visiting Washington State Cougars 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at Dedeaux Field.
The Cougars (11-7, 1-2 Pac-12) took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning and never looked back, adding two more in the seventh inning. The Trojans (12-7, 2-1 Pac-12) tried to manage a ninth inning rally but were unable to come through.
The Trojans did win the series despite the loss, taking games one and two on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
USC starter Marrick Crouse (Dana Point, Calif./Dana Hills HS) threw a solid six complete innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, with two walks and one strikeout, but the Trojan offense was unable to get going against Cougar starter Cody Anderson, who threw eight complete innings, allowing just one run on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in the victory.
Crouse was able to limit the damage to just one run in the first inning, but in the bottom of the third inning the Trojans tied the ballgame back up as Cris Perez (Miami, Fla./Duke) launched his first career home run as a Trojan.
The Cougars added the go-ahead run in the fifth inning with two outs, as James Rudkin singled to bring home the second run of the day for the Trojans.
The Trojans were unable to get any more offense going, however. Lars Nootbaar (El Segundo, Calif./El Segundo HS) was robbed in the fourth inning of at least an extra bases hit off the top of the wall.
An uncharacteristic outing for reliever Solomon Bates (Victorville, Calif./Oak Hills HS), as he gave up a solo home run to designated hitter Blake Clanton and then a triple to Justin Harrer and sac fly by Dugan Shirer brought home the second run of the inning, making it a 4-1 game.
The Trojans tried to mount a rally in the ninth inning, as Frankie Rios (Lakewood, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS) singled through the right side, chasing starter Anderson. Closer Scotty Sunitsch came in and got Nootbaar to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. However, with two down Adalberto Carrillo (Santa Ana, Calif./Tustin HS) drew a walk and Corey Dempster (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS) singled to put two on, bringing the game-tying run to the plate in the form of Brandon Perez (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei HS), who already had three hits on the day. After a long battle with Sunitsch, a foul tip by Perez was held for the strikeout, ending the Trojan rally.
The Trojans left five batters on base on the day.
The Trojans will be back in action on Tuesday, traveling to UC Irvine for a 6:30 p.m. PT game.