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Baseball: Two big losses for USC

The struggles continue for USC baseball, as a trip to Pac-10 rival Washington State this weekend has done the reeling Trojans no good — and a whole lot of bad.

In two games, USC has been outscored 38-11 by the No. 24 Cougars. Friday, USC was down from the start after righthander Ben Mount allowed six runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Trojans got as close as 7-2 in the third inning before Washington State tacked on runs in the third and fourth and exploded for 10 runs in the fifth to open up a 19-2 lead.

An Alex Glenn RBI triple and Ryan Bast RBI double gave the Trojans three runs in the eighth inning, and they would add two more before the Cougars won by a score of 20-7.

Saturday, USC starter Chris Mezger kept the Cougars under wraps for the first three innings, but the fourth inning was a sight to see. Washington State sent 16 hitters to the plate and plated 11 of them in the inning, putting the game instantly out of reach.

Sophomore slugger Ricky Oropesa hit a two-run homer (his 16th on the season) in the fifth inning and added an RBI groundout in the sixth, but the Trojans got only one more run, on a solo shot from outfielder Garret Houts. Washington State won 18-4.

Remarkably, USC used only three pitchers in each game. With only a few relievers available, coach Chad Kreuter was forced to keep his pitchers out on the mound. The worst performance of the weekend, so far? Shuhei Fujiya's five-hit, one-walk, seven-run line in 1/3 of an inning Friday, raising his ERA to 8.39 on the season.

Next for the Trojans is the final game of the series at 12 p.m. Sunday, then a Tuesday home game against Mike Gillespie-led Anteaters of UC Irvine. A three-game weekend series with Washington will then conclude USC's season.