Akron Loses Series Finale at USC, 9-5

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The University of Akron baseball team lost its series finale at Southern California on Sunday afternoon, 9-5.

Akron (0-6) held an early lead, but USC (7-0) scored all nine of its runs in the second and sixth innings to take the win.

"This was our best game of the year so far," UA coach Rick Rembielak said. "We had better at-bats throughout the line-up and we are happy about having a couple guys having multi-hit games."

Redshirt freshmen Devan Ahart led the Zips at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two stolen bases. Junior Sam Trecaso and sophomore Brandon Winter each tallied a pair of hits, while Trecaso and senior Dan Burant each drove in two.

"Brandon Winter got his first start of the year and did a great job out in left, while also picking up a pair of hits," Rembielak said.

Sophomore Jon Pusateri picked up the loss after giving up six runs in 1.2 innings of work. Jason McPeek and Alex Loftin each produced scoreless relief efforts of at least two innings for UA.

Alex Sherrod led USC with two hits and four RBIs.

UA jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a pair of runs in the first and a solo score in the top of the second. The Zips took advantage of a USC error in the first to score two runs unearned. After Ahart walked to begin the game, Begun reached on an error by Sherrod in right. Sam Watkins then walked to load the bases with nobody out, but USC starter Stephen Tarpely got the next two Akron hitters. Trecaso was able to come through with a two-out single to plate Ahart and Begun, giving Akron the lead.

Ahart also scored UA's run in the second after reaching on a one-out single and stole second. Watkins base hit to center brought Ahart around and produced a 3-0 advantage for Akron.

Pusateri was unable to get out of the second. The sophomore allowed two one-run singles, before Sherrod's grand slam put the Trojans up 6-3.

"We were one pitch away from getting out of their big inning unscathed," Rembielak stated. "Our bullpen guys came in and did a pretty decent job all day long."

The Zips grabbed a run back in the fourth on Burant's RBI groundout. Ahart scored on the play – his third run of the game – after singling to lead off the inning and moving to third on a balk and a steal. Burant drove in his second run of the game and made the score 6-5 with his sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth. Tyler Begun scored on the play, after leading off the inning with a triple to right.

USC pushed three runs across in the bottom of the sixth to reclaim a four-run lead. The Trojans' used four singles and a walk to make its rally, with all three runs being charged to senior reliever Danny Fawcett. Fawcett had entered in the bottom of the fourth and pitched 1.2 innings of shutout ball before the USC spurt.

"We improved a lot in each game of this trip and were really competitive all game long today," Rembielak said. "We need to continue to build off of our improvements from this weekend."

Akron continues its early season road trip next weekend, playing in a four-team tournament at Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn. UA will play the host Governors, Iowa, and Youngstown State during the weekend.