LOS ANGELES — It had already been a rough weekend for the Jacksonville Dolphins after losing the first two games to USC. It only got worse in the bottom of the eighth inning of the series finale Sunday afternoon at Dedeaux Field. With two outs, USC designated hitter Brandon Garcia hit a high pop up to the left side.
Shortstop Ethan Loosen, third baseman Jimmy Appleby and left fielder Jonathan Murphy converged in shallow left field. But instead of a simple third out to the eighth inning, the ball bounced out of Loosen’s glove. It didn’t end there though. The ball was picked up and fired in the direction of first base…where no one was at.
With Garcia hustling out of the batter’s box, he was already on his way to second base and Dolphins first baseman Adam Brett Walker II chased behind. The throwing error, Jacksonville’s 10th of the series, allowed Garcia to advance to third. The next hitter, Kevin Swick, smoked a line drive single off the right field wall to score Garcia and give the Trojans a 4-3 lead.
After Jacksonville had left the bases loaded the three previous innings, USC closer Martin Viramontes never gave the Dolphins a chance in the ninth. Viramontes earned his first save as a Trojan with a pair of strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning.
USC got a strong start from southpaw Stephen Tarpley in his collegiate debut. The freshman left with a 2-1 lead after pitching 5 2/3 innings, striking out nine batters, allowing five hits and two walks. Jacksonville tied the game in the sixth inning and took a one-run lead the next inning, but Garcia tied the game in the bottom half of the seventh inning with his second home run of the series before scoring the game-winning run the next inning.
Wyatt Strahan picked up his first career win in relief.
Check out the photo gallery from Sunday’s game below. Also see a recap and photo gallery from Friday’s season opener between the two teams.