baseball, Bruin Nation, College Baseball, Crosstown Rivalry, Dodger Stadium, Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic, Pac-12 Conference, Trojan Family, UCLA Baseball, UCLA Bruins, University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, USC Baseball, USC Trojans
Dodger Stadium yesterday, the remnants of a recent storm lingering in the background as UCLA’s Bruins and USC’s Trojans prepared to renew their baseball rivalry. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com
CHECKING OUT THE ATMOSPHERE AT DODGER STADIUM AS THE BRUINS AND TROJANS RENEWED THEIR ANIMOSITIES ON THE DIAMOND
When the sun came out on Sunday morning after a storm hit the Los Angeles area the previous night, making things a go for baseball’s version of the Crosstown Clash between L.A’s two collegiate rivals…
Being that I had plans to attend the afternoon affair at Dodger Stadium I was glad.
And apparently so were the other 9,000 members of Bruin Nation and the Trojan Family who were in Chavez Ravine as they witnessed what ended up being a game that had everything save for home runs.
Like all UCLA-USC games, the atmosphere was charged and got even more so as the game progressed, turning into a marathon as it became the longest played baseball game in rivalry history, going nearly five hours before the Bruins struck for two runs with the bases loaded and two outs, Trojan shortstop Reggie Southall making a crucial error off a Christoph Bono grounder.
The crowd (what was left of them), particularly those in cardinal and gold, went nuts in the bottom of the 14th as ‘SC put the tying run on second base with one out and their big hitters coming up.
USC’s Jeremy Martinez flying out to right field with the tying runs in scoring position in the 14th inning. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com
Unfortunately for Troy, catcher Jeremy Martinez flew out to right field and designated hitter Timmy Robinson put a bow on his 0-for-7 day at the plate by popping up to Bruin first baseman Luke Persico, ending what was an all-out war as well as an extremely well-played game.
I certainly enjoyed myself, doing double duty as I was keeping score while playing the tenor sax for UCLA’s Alumni Band, which along with the Bruin yell leaders and Joe Bruin mascot as well as the USC band and Song Girls provided much spirit for their fan bases.
Trojan starter Brent Wheatley, preparing to throw a fastball during his turn on the mound at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. Photo courtesy of dailytrojan.com
Not to mention getting to sit at the field level, which is a rarity for me as my usual seats for Dodger games are way up in the outer reserved section, where the players look slighty larger than ants.
And I also got another treat as during the first game of what was a doubleheader – Oklahoma and Mississippi State played to a 5-5 tie – I was actually able to watch a Dodger telecast on Time Warner Sports Net in one of the club lounges, me being one of the approximately 65% of Southern Californians who, thanks to Time Warner wanting too much money from providers such as Direct TV (what I and everyone in my area get), will enter their third season being unable to watch Vin Scully ply his brilliance on the microphone.
UCLA freshman Kyle Molnar, in his first Crosstown Rivalry experience, held his own as he settled down after giving up the game’s first three runs, going five innings while striking out four. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com
Watching the Bruins and Trojans, I found myself having a bit of anxiety in the later innings, especially when the contest went into extra frames; not wanting to miss any of the action, I even held off on using the bathroom for over three hours before nature demanded relief.
Being the Bruin alum that I am, I simply couldn’t help my anxiety, wanting so much for UCLA to win as their counterparts in football and basketball have been owned by USC this year; I didn’t need anymore humiliations in the sport I grew up in and was heavily involved in for so many years.
Even though I did make it a point to keep things in proper perspective, telling several Trojan fans that no matter what happened, it was a good game.
Bruin right fielder Eric Filia (#4) ecstatic after scoring one of UCLA’s two go-ahead runs in the 14th inning. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com
Much credit needs to go to coach John Savage’s band of Bruins as having started the season losing five of their first eight games and spotting USC the first three runs – two of them on a misplayed fly ball – on Sunday, they showed much fight in refusing to lay down for the Trojans, tying the score on a Brett Stephens triple in the 4th.
It became a pitcher’s duel and a defensive struggle after that.
And in some great news, these clashes between the Bruins and Trojans won’t end with this marathon battle as they are scheduled for three more games at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium on the weekend of May 13th.
All I have to say is, those upcoming contests will be hard-pressed to match the one I saw on a chilly Sunday afternoon/evening.
The Bruins congratulating themselves after vanquishing their Trojan rivals on Sunday night. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com