Los Angeles, CA – USC junior Lars Nootbaar’s game-winning solo home run over the right-field wall in the bottom of the eighth inning helped the Trojans beat the No. 11 UCLA baseball team, 3-2, on Sunday at the Dodger Stadium College baseball Classic.
“I was just looking for my pitch,” Nootbar, who went 2-for-4 with his second homer of the season, said. “It ended being a slider up that I saw pretty well and decided to take a pass at it.”
Pitcher Connor Lunn entered the top of the eighth inning and got a huge strike out while stranding two runners. Lunn picked up the win after again stranding two UCLA runners in the ninth inning to close out the game.
“This was a big win for us over a good team and our crosstown rival,” USC coach Dan Hubbs said. “It’s also a great RPI boost for us.”
UCLA starting pitcher Jon Olson left the game in the first inning after being hit in the head with a line drive. Olson under his own power with a rag covering his bloody face.
“It’s a pretty scary situation when you see a line drive like that,” UCLA coach John Savage said. “It’s probably one of the worst I’ve seen in my career.”
Freshman pitcher Zach Pettway came into the game when Olson left and retired the first 10 batters while striking out six. Pettway had a 0.95 ERA heading into Sunday’s game.
The Bruins got on the board first in the third inning when Ryan Kreidler led off with a walk. Jeremey Ydens’ sacrifice fly to right field scored Kreidler. USC tied it, 1-1, in the fourth inning on Dillon Paulson’s solo home run to right field .
UCLA (9-4) loaded the bases in the fifth inning before Michael Toglia drew a walk to score Kreilder. The Trojans responded in the seventh inning when Blake Sabol hit a triple to right field and came around to score on a fielder’s choice to tie it, 2-2.
Hubbs said he think it’s great for college baseball in Southern California and great for amateur baseball, to see the competition here and have around 10,000 people come and watch the game.
“Anything we can do to promote that is great,” Hubbs said. “And for these kids to get an opportunity to play in a major league stadium, especially most of our roster and most of UCLA’s roster is Southern California kids who grew up rooting for the Angels or the Dodgers, I think there’s nothing like it.”