Baseball: USC vs. UCLA preview

UCLA might be in great shape heading into the final game of the Dodgertown Classic today at Dodger Stadium, but USC sure isn't.

The Trojans have had a rough week. They beat Loyola Marymount on Tuesday but have fallen in three consecutive games since — including a 10-1 laughter at the hands of Vanderbilt last night.

But today's 2 p.m. start should be different, they say. It's been a focus of this USC team for a long time.

"We’re all looking forward to it," junior second baseman Joe De Pinto said. "I think we’ll be real pumped up.

"Hopefully, we’re not rattled or anything.”

De Pinto, from St. Francis High in La Canada, has a connection to UCLA's slated starter today. Bruin left-hander Rob Rasmussen went to nearby Pasadena Poly High. The two schools are natural rivals, and De Pinto said both he and Rasmussen had made up their minds on schools early on — creating a sense of competition between the two.

Said De Pinto: "I have a little beef with that guy."

Well, USC has a little beef with UCLA. The last time the two schools matched up, last March, the Bruins beat the Trojans 17-2.

On the mound for the Trojans today is senior right-hander Kevin Couture, who gave up three runs in seven innings in his first start of the season against Cal Poly.