USC baseball played in the annual Dodger Stadium Classic this weekend, hosting two games at Dedeaux Field before concluding the tournament against rivals UCLA in a game at Dodger Stadium.In Friday’s game, the Trojans faced Oklahoma, as senior pitcher Kyle Davis took the mound looking to kick off the weekend with a win. USC raced out to a 3-0 lead against the Sooners thanks to back-to-back singles from senior outfielder Timmy Robinson and senior first baseman AJ Ramirez in the first inning.Davis was touched for 3 runs on seven hits across his six innings of work, and the Trojans’ ace finished his night with the score tied 3-3. USC rallied in the bottom of the sixth, however, as a pinch-hit sacrifice fly from freshman Dillon Paulson pushed across the go-ahead run. Freshman outfielder Lars Nootbaar then added some insurance with an RBI single to extend the lead to 2 runs. The Trojans then loaded the bases with no outs in the next inning but failed to score.They were nearly made to regret their mistake in the top of the ninth, as senior closer Marc Huberman walked three consecutive Sooners to load the bases with one out, but sophomore Brad Wegman came into the game and put out the fire, inducing an around-the-horn double play to clinch a 5-4 USC victory.Head coach Dan Hubbs praised his team’s spirit as the squad battled through a close game.“[Oklahoma] came back, but I thought we stayed with our plan and what we were trying to do,” Hubbs said. “We took advantage of some things they gave us, put some guys on base, and got some big hits, and I was really proud of the guys for doing that.”Junior left-hander Bernardo Flores started the next day’s contest against No. 20 Mississippi State and breezed through a one-two-three top of the first. He staked a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame after a Robinson double drove in senior outfielder David Oppenheim.Flores ran into trouble in the top of the second, however, and departed with the bases loaded with one out after giving up 3 runs. Sophomore Mason Perryman entered the game in relief and induced a pop out and a fly out to retire the Bulldogs. He returned in the top of the third and sent down the side in order.The Trojans charged ahead in the bottom of the frame thanks to an RBI single from Oppenheim and Robinson’s second home run of the season, a 3-run shot. Perryman struggled to begin the fourth inning, though, and coughed up 4 runs before junior left-hander Andrew Wright came in to stop the bleeding.Junior catcher Jeremy Martinez, who drew a start at first base against Mississippi State, pulled the Trojans within 1 run with a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, but the Bulldogs promptly re-extended their lead to 2, scoring on a groundout in the top of the sixth.Wegman relieved Wright in the top of the seventh and once again came out dealing. The right-hander threw up three scoreless innings, giving the Men of Troy the chance to rally from a 2-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth.Paulson and junior David Edson pinch hit for junior second baseman Frankie Rios and freshman catcher CJ Stubbs respectively, and the two came off the bench and worked walks to lead off the USC’s last licks at the plate. Junior Corey Dempster then pinch hit for Southall and bunted the runners into scoring position with Nootbaar coming up. A wild pitch brought the Trojans within one and put the tying run on third base. The comeback fell just short, however, as Mississippi State’s freshman left-hander Kale Breaux froze Nootbaar on a breaking ball and retired Oppenheim on a groundout to seal an 8-7 win for the Bulldogs.Despite the tough loss, Hubbs was proud of his side for going toe-to-toe with a strong Mississippi State team.“It’s all I can ask of [the players]: they gave us a chance to win,” Hubbs said. “It doesn’t always work out when you get in the spot, but I thought we were better in the spot [against Mississippi State] than we have been up until now.”Robinson echoed his coach’s comments, adding that Saturday’s game felt like a regional final in the NCAA Tournament.“It was back-and-forth … and eventually, somebody has to lose,” Robinson said. “Today, we just came up short, but we had the tying run on third, which is all you can ask for.”Next up for the Trojans is a challenging trip to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on TCU. The Horned Frogs visited Los Angeles for the Dodger Stadium Classic in 2015, falling to USC, 7-6, in a 12-inning thriller at Dedeaux Field.
MLB’s Statcast system rates Trout in the 9th percentile of outfielders in terms of Outs Above Average, which is a function of the balls he catches given the time and distance required to make the catch. He’s also in the 1st percentile in terms of the efficiency of his jumps.Other metrics, like Defensive Runs Saved, are manually calculated using the location on the field. Those can penalize outfielders for their positioning. Trout often plays deeper than other outfielders because his preference is to come in, and it also gives him more time to avoid full-speed collisions with the wall. The negative is that more balls fall in front of him.Trout has said he’s well aware of these numbers and has worked to improve them, which he did at one point. It’s possible this year’s regression is a small sample size issue.Maddon said he also didn’t understand the way the metrics knocked Nicholas Castellanos when the Chicago Cubs got him from the Detroit Tigers a year ago. He said the metrics often have “no context whatsoever.”RECORD CARDA Trout rookie baseball card set a record on Saturday night by selling for $3.936 million at an auction. The 2009 Bowman Draft Prospects Card broke the previous record of $3.12 million for a Honus Wagner card in 2016.Dave Oancea, who sold the Trout card, had purchased it on eBay for $400,000 in 2018.SPECIAL EVENTThe Angels will play the Cleveland Indians in next year’s Little League Classic, a regular season game set to coincide with the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.The teams will play the first two games of the weekend series in Cleveland before traveling to Williamsport for the finale on Aug. 21, 2021. It will be an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast.The game is at Bowman Field, which is a Class-A ballpark in Williamsport that has been upgraded to host one major league game a year since 2017. This year’s game was cancelled because of the pandemic.Last August, Maddon managed the Chicago Cubs against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Williamsport. Maddon said “the way MLB pulls it off is pretty spectacular.”He said the Little Leaguers meet the major leaguers at the plane. The big leaguers attend the Little League games during the day, and the kids go to the big league game that night.“That’s what we really have to promote and get into and make sure the kids understand what this game is all about,” Maddon said.The event is particularly special to Maddon, who grew up in Pennsylvania and still has a house about an hour from Williamsport.NO PUJOLS AGAINAlbert Pujols had not been out of the Angels lineup in consecutive games without an injury until last weekend, and by sitting on Saturday and Sunday he’s now done it twice in a week.Maddon said Pujols, 40, understands, and they’ve had “several conversations.” Pujols is hitting .208 with a .625 OPS.The return of Andrelton Simmons is likely to result in more days on the bench for Pujols. On Sunday, Simmons started at shortstop, with David Fletcher at second and Tommy La Stella at first. Shohei Ohtani was the DH.“If you’re writing that lineup down yourself, I’m sure you’d write it the same way,” Maddon said.ALSOAnthony Rendon extended his hitting streak to 13 games with two more hits. Rendon is hitting .481 (25 for 52) in the streak…Maddon was ejected in the sixth inning after arguing a check swing. Bench coach Mike Gallego managed the rest of the game…The Angels reinstated left-hander Jose Quijada from the injured list, but he is remaining at the alternate training site in Long Beach. In order to create a spot for Quijada on the 40-man roster, the Angels designated Michael Hermosillo for assignment. A day after Mike Trout saved the Angels with a diving catch, Joe Maddon said he wasn’t buying the defense metrics that have dogged Trout’s defense.“I can’t see that at all,” the Angels manager said. “These things are created because people have to find things to do. And I don’t know. I’m not into it.”It’s an old story. For most of Trout’s career, a variety of advanced defensive metrics have rated him worse in center field than fans or coaches or anyone using the eye test.It is one of the reasons that the Gold Glove is conspicuously absent from Trout’s trophy case. It is now awarded based partly on those metrics. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error