The USC Trojans beat the UCLA Bruins on Saturday in front of a crowd of over 14,600 at the College Baseball Classic at Dodgers Stadium.
The win went to Trojan freshman pitcher Mitch Hart (3-0), despite giving up four runs and eight hits over 5.2 innings. UCLA junior Cody Poteet (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season, getting hit hard for four runs and eight hits in 3.2 innings. The save went to junior Tyler Gilbert, who pitched 3.1 innings in relief for USC.
While pitching was unimpressive overall, the offense for both clubs delivered. USC finished with 14 hits, and the Bruins had 11. Seven different Bruins recorded hits. Second baseman Sean Bouchard recorded a career-high three hits, going 3-for-4 with a run scored.
The Bruin’s big inning came in the third, as they scored three runs including a two-run bomb by outfielder Christoph Bono. But the Trojans scored in six different innings, including two in the fifth and two in the seventh, thanks to multi-hit games by senior Garrett Stubbs, junior Timmy Robinson, senior Dante Flores, infielder Blake Lacey, and outfielder David Oppenheim.
The game was close and went back and forth as the two lineups exchanged blows for the first six innings as USC led 6-4. But the Trojans put the game out of reach in the seventh, going up 8-4, as Tucker Forbes out of Pebble Beach, CA gave up two runs on two hits for the Bruins. UCLA was unable to score after the sixth and lost by four runs.
The atmosphere overall at Dodgers Stadium was fun-spirited, enthusiastic and full of family fun. The players and fans were both fired up to take center stage at the greatest baseball stadium in the world. Both USC and UCLA bands were in attendance near the dugouts, with fight songs breaking out after every run scored.
The field level and pavilion seats were speckled with different shades of light Bruin blue and cardinal Trojan red. This was my first time attending the College Baseball Classic, and I was very impressed with the amount of fans who came out for both universities.
Regardless of how far their baseball careers persist, this experience will undoubtedly be a memorable and valuable one for the young ballplayers.
I had the privilege of playing at Dodgers Stadium twice as part of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (R.B.I.) program when I was playing on the Varisty squad at Hamilton High School in West L.A. The grass was so soft and smooth it reminded me of running around my living room carpet as a kid. The dirt was so thin yet smooth-when I stole second base, I glided for about seven feet on a routine slide.
I wanted to spend the whole week on the field, practicing all day and all night. Playing on the same field as my childhood heroes was a dream come true.
There is no place like Dodgers Stadium, the true blue heaven on earth.