Saturday Statements, February 24

Ever heard the expression "the best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores"? Well excuse USC coach Chad Krueter if he wants his youngin's to stay youngin's for a while.

Today, his Trojan newbies Grant Green, Brad Boxberger and Robert Stock all played key roles in their 4-3 win over Tulane at Dedeaux Field, the second win in as many days for the Men, er... boys of Troy.

What I saw at Dedeaux Field today---
Boxberger started the game on the mound and gave up just three hits (but three runs) in 5.2 innings against a team that came into the weekend hitting over .350. Then, Robert Stock, the 17-year phenom, came on in relief. After a bit of a shaky start - including two hit batsmen - Stock locked in for 2.1 innings of no-hit work that got him his first career W. And who was Stock able to thank for that? None other than shortstop Grant Green, who clipped the game-winning sac fly in the 8th inning, as part of a 1-for-2 day.

Yes, the youth of this world are taking over. And USC is here to prove it.

Here's what the linescore looked like:
Tulane - 000 012 000- 3 3 1
USC - 003 000 10x- 4 7 1

As you see, the Green Wave getting hand-cuffed to just three hits was pretty shocking. Especially when you consider the first seven batters in the order hit .409, .414, .462, .360, .444, .344 and .333. I was looking forward to seeing two Wave hitters in particular, Warren McFadden and Brad Emaus. I saw both of them play as freshmen in 2005 at Pepperdine and at home against Cal State Fullerton and was impressed. But today McFadden was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. Emaus didn't disappoint, getting two of the three Greenie hits on the day, though he did commit the lone Wave error.

I was also really impressed with Tulane SS Cat Everett, especially on the defensive side of things. He showed good range and ran down a few possible Trojan hits. I sat next to his mother and a few other Tulane parents early in the game, and after one of his good defensive gems, one of the parents yelled out, "Nice play Catelynn."

I said, "His name is Catelynn?"

His mom said, "Well it's pronounced Cat-Lynn, but we call him Cate-lynn just to tease him." Poor dude.

Tulane actually had a fourth hit on the day in the 8th inning, by Jared Dyer, who laced a laser-shot down into the left field corner, which was tracked down and thrown back into the infield. But USC immediately threw the ball over to first base, claiming Dyer missed the bag as he was rounding the corner. Sure enough, umpire Tony Norris coiled up and punched the air to ring up Dyer.

Tulane skipper Rick Jones came out to argue, but I have to admit, he didn't do it with much vigor. So something must've been a tid-bid obvious about it. The Green Wave never threatened again.

Good sized crowd of Tulane fans made the trip this weekend too. All of them doing that "Hoo-ray, hoo-ray, vars-vars tee ay" chant after every score. Game three is tomorrow and I'm willing to bet those Tulane fans that came all the way to LaLa land don't want to leave empty handed.


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A couple of quick shots around the country---

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As opposed to the freshmen above---
Nebraska - 5
Rice - 9
Rice knocks NU from the ranks of the unbeaten, but frosh Ryan Berry, who I couldn't have been more impressed with at the Houston College Classic, only lasts 1.2 innings as the Huskers raced out to a 5-0 lead. But a 6-inning 4th leads Rice to the comeback win. Owls are now 8-4.

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Score that jumped off the page---
St. Mary's - 4
Oregon State - 1
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, don't mess with the WCC. OSU's only two losses this season have been to West Coast Conference teams.

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Bad day at the Beach---
UNC-Wilmington - 10
TCU - 5

TCU - 1
Notre Dame - 4
After an impressive sweep of Oral Roberts last week, the Frogs are 0-for-3 at the Baseball at the Beach Classic in Myrtle Beach. N.C. State is on deck tomorrow.

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Most dramatic series so far---
Oklahoma State - 2
Cal State Northridge - 3
The Mats win another one-run game over No. 16 Pokes and go for their first sweep of a ranked opponent since 2002 tomorrow.

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The "Told you so" series---
Miami Univ. - 6
Winthrop - 2

Miami Univ. - 4
Winthrop - 5 (10inns.)
Only a wild pitch in the 10th may have kept the Red Hawks from sweeping all three games in Rock Hill. Now, what are the chances that MU is ranked ahead of Winthrop? (Add Bronx cheer here)

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Wouldn't they just conclude the game tomorrow?---
Wright State - 1
Mississippi - 0
Torrential rain put an official end to this game just before Ole Miss batted in the 6th inning, meaning that WSU starter Dan Barker gets credit for a complete-game three-hitter. But since these two are completing their three-game series tomorrow, why wouldn't they just play the last three and a half innings before game three?

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The Duke unbeaten watch now stands at nine---
St. John's - 2
Duke - 4
The Blue Devils toughest assignment of the season so far comes tomorrow with tournament host East Carolina stepping up to take them on.

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This town is Oscars crazy now. So while waiting for that magical night in the celebration of the movie industry, I'll see if I can't make it out to Sunday's getaway game of the Okie State-Northridge series.

G'night.

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Eric Sorenson Eric Sorenson
Eric Sorenson is CSTV.com's National Baseball Columnist, and also appears on CSTV as a baseball expert