Baseball continues slide, falls to UCSB

And the struggles persist for USC baseball. The Trojans lost their second straight game and ninth in their last 11 Tuesday, falling 5-4 at UC Santa Barbara.

Boosted by a strong start from spot starter Logan Odom and a four-run first inning, USC (17-23) looked to have a handle on the game. But the Gauchos fought back, slowly but surely, with two runs in the third and fifth.

With the score tied 4-4 in the seventh, UCSB outfielder Ryan Tregoning hit a solo homer to break the tie, and the Trojans couldn't score again. For the day, USC committed three errors, not helping matters.

Odom started and lasted just three innings but didn't give up an earned run. Senior Shuhei Fujiya came in and pitched two innings in relief, giving up two runs, but southpaw Brad Douthit took the loss after giving up the homer to Tregoning.

For USC, outfielder Mike O'Neill doubled to lead off the game and the Trojans followed with five singles within the inning, forcing UCSB starter Greg Davis to exit the game after just one inning. Ricky Oropesa, Alex Sherrod and Kevin Roundtree were credited with RBI singles.

USC hasn't won consecutive games since March 21-26 against Pacific, Pepperdine and Stanford. The Trojans haven't won a series since earlier that month, against Hawaii. Defense has been a problem all year long, as USC ranks 102nd in the nation in fielding percentage at .965. The team's 52 errors are good for an average of 1.3 per game.

Notes: Oropesa, with 11 homers on the season, is just two away from his total last year. His .342 average is 28 percentage points better than last year's .314. ... In other baseball news, the Los Angeles Dodgers are hosting their second annual USC Night on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. The first 20,000 fans in attendance will receive a cardinal and gold-colored Dodgers hat, and fans who choose to sit in the "My Town" section get a USC-edition Dodgertown shirt and an all-inclusive menu. More information here.