Facing the No. 5 team in the country in Oregon State, the USC baseball team figured to have its hands full this past weekend in Corvallis, Ore.They might have underestimated just how full, however.The Beavers (34-8, 14-4 Pac-12) swept away the Trojans (16-26, 8-13) in their three-game set, and only one game could be considered a close one. Oregon State is in a battle with the rival Oregon Ducks to host a regional this year, and the Trojans expected the talented Beavers to come out with a vengeance after losing two of three to Washington the weekend before.“We did nothing [offensively],” USC head coach Dan Hubbs said. “This is the first weekend where I felt like we just got beat up all weekend. We got out-manned, out-played, out-pitched, out-everything.”The Beavers boast one of the nation’s best ERAs at an incredible 2.02. USC, however, has shown its ability to get hits off some of the nation’s best pitchers, knocking 13 against Oklahoma’s likely first-round draft pick Dillon Overton and seven against Stanford’s Marc Appel, who could be picked first overall in this June’s MLB draft.But in Corvallis this weekend, the Trojans managed just 17 hits over the three games. For comparison’s sake, the Beavers had 20 on Friday alone.“Really, all we did offensively is we hit three solo home runs,” Hubbs said. “Otherwise, they handed us our other runs.”The only game that USC had a chance in, according to Hubbs, was Saturday’s. Sophomore starter Wyatt Strahan tossed 7 2/3 innings, allowing just three runs on five hits. But, as was the case all weekend, the Trojans’ bats could generate nothing against the Beavers’ arms.Even on Friday, with junior ace Bob Wheatley keeping USC in the game for six innings, Hubbs said he felt the Trojans never had a chance.The Trojans were again unable to salvage a win on Sunday with freshman Kyle Twomey on the mound. Twomey experienced the youthful control issues that have so plagued the Trojans this year, giving up four walks and a hit-by-pitch over four innings.“Saturday was the only game I felt like we were in,” Hubbs said. “Even Friday, though we were only down 3-1” — the Beavers eventually blew the game open with three runs in the seventh and four in the eighth — “it just didn’t feel like we were going to be able to do anything. We were getting mauled at the plate. It felt like it might as well have been 12-1 when it was 3-1. They beat us up.”It won’t get that much easier for USC today as it faces Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif. The Waves had the weekend off, meaning the Trojans can expect to see Sunday starter Aaron Brown.Brown has a 1.52 ERA in his last three starts, including a complete game against Gonzaga in his last time out.“We’re going to get pot-shotted by one of their weekend guys,” Hubbs said, referencing to the fact that midweek games usually see lesser pitchers start on the mound.That won’t exactly be the case for USC, either. Junior Sean Silva, who has established himself as one of the team’s more reliable pitchers, will start on the mound for the Trojans.Though Silva has worked his last few starts under a pitch count, he will go as long as he can tomorrow to spare the team’s bullpen a much-needed day off.“He’s earned a little more leash,” Hubbs said of Silva.The junior hasn’t allowed a run in his last three appearances and has seen his ERA drop from 11.57 to 4.05 in that span.First pitch for today’s game is set for 3 p.m. The game will mark USC’s eighth consecutive road game, and during that stretch the Trojans are currently 3-4. The team has not played at Dedeaux Field since April 14.
D?j? vu, anyone?No, you weren’t seeing a replay of last year’s Wisconsin team on the road this past Saturday, and yes, Nebraska scored 20 unanswered points to overcome a 17-point deficit in the third quarter to beat Wisconsin 30-27, the second biggest comeback in Huskers’ history.Once again, in a recurring theme of Badger teams on the road, the team jumped ahead by a big lead, had its opponents by the proverbial throat and somehow found a way to let yet another key victory slip through its grasp.While last year’s Michigan State and Ohio State losses were soul-crushing blows because of the way Wisconsin lost, there is an air around recent Badger teams that no lead on the road, no matter how large, is ever safe. Sure, losing away from home is a common theme in football, but losing the way the Badgers have been is getting old.So what gives? The Badgers are 0-2 on the road this year, and although both losses have been against teams currently ranked in the top 25, the team looks like a shadow of its former self.During the Bret Bielema era at Wisconsin, the team is just 21-18 overall on the road. Against opponents in the top 25 away from Camp Randall? The Badgers are just 2-7, and that includes bowl games and games played at neutral sites.But placing the blame for the Badgers most recent loss is a tough assignment.The players themselves failed to execute multiple times through the duration of the Nebraska game. Montee Ball dropped a pass that hit him in the hands and looked like a sure-fire touchdown, as Ball had slipped behind the last line of Husker defense on a wheel route. Sure, quarterback Joel Stave underthrew the ball, but it was a play Ball has made multiple times throughout his illustrious career at Wisconsin and one he should’ve made Saturday.And how about the offensive line? The group once again showed flashes of vast improvement but ended up losing the battle in the trenches. In the first quarter there was one instance in particular where Montee Ball ran through a hole so big you could’ve driven a Mack truck through it. Ball bounced off one tackler and finally found himself in space. The Badgers gained 110 yards on the ground but only gained 56 total yards rushing. The Badgers’ O-line struggled with pad level once again and failed at times to adequately pick up blitzes, especially in the second half.The kicking game didn’t exactly save the Badgers either. While Nebraska’s Brett Maher looked like one of the nation’s best, going 3-4 and only missing a 51-yard field goal, Wisconsin’s freshman kicker Jack Russell missed his only field goal from 41 yards out and also missed a critical extra point. In a game where the Badgers only lost by three, Russell’s performance was a difference in the outcome.But it’s unfair to point the finger at just one player. Football is truly a team sport, and it takes a collective effort by both players and coaches alike to win in an environment like Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium.So how about that coaching? Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s play calls were impressive throughout the first few drives, as aggressive passes and multiple play-actions left Nebraska wondering what hit it. A 54-yard pass to Jared Abbrederis to set up the first score and a 29-yard pass to Abbrederis for a touchdown were breaths of fresh air for Badger fans who had seen very conservative play calling throughout the first four weeks of the season.But then, for whatever reason, the Badgers failed to move the ball. Who knows, if the Badgers’ defense didn’t create two turnovers, would the offense have even scored 20 points? The fact is, the Badgers’ offensive stall in the second half resulted from a combination of a few factors.For one, the Badgers never seriously controlled the line of scrimmage. The longest run of the day was a 14-yard scamper from Ball. As far as telling numbers go, the Badgers averaged just 1.4 yards per carry against the Huskers. When the run game was completely shut down in the second half – the team had just four rushes of more than three yards – there was no way to sell the play-action pass, the lethal tool that had set up its first-half scores.Another reason was that Nebraska simply made adjustments after the second half that Wisconsin could, for some reason, not adjust to themselves. There were multiple instances where it seemed the Huskers’ defense knew exactly what was coming, as Ball was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage on multiple instances, including a key third-and-1.Canada got conservative in his play calling; of that there is no doubt. It looked more like the Badgers were playing not to lose in the second half. When it mattered most, the Badgers had four consecutive drives of five plays or fewer during the Nebraska comeback. The Badgers were outcoached in Nebraska, plain and simple.And where was Melvin Gordon? A week after the redshirt freshman’s breakout 100-plus yard effort against UTEP, the electric tailback only received two touches. Montee Ball is an outstanding running back, but having a change-of-pace back is something the Badgers have always utilized and thrived on.But enough of the criticism and pessimism.If there’s anything good that can be taken after this loss, it’s that the goal of the Big Ten Championship Game remains obtainable. It’s a long conference season, and the Badgers have a chance to get some confidence back against a weak Illinois team. With another road game looming in the distance in West Lafayette against Purdue in just two weeks, a game that will likely determine who gets to represent the Leaders Division in Indianapolis, the Badgers need to find a way to play the way they did in those first two quarters of the Nebraska game for the entire 60 minutes.Because if they don’t, the Badgers will be watching the Big Ten Championship Game not from the field but from their own couches back in Madison.Nick is a fifth-year senior majoring in history and English. Besides covering the football team, Nick is also a member of 91.7 WSUM’s “The Student Section” that airs Mondays from 4-6 p.m. and “The Badger Herald Sports Hour,” which airs Sundays from 4-5 p.m. Have a comment about the column? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FaZe Clan in Cancun (Copyright: Joe Stephens)FaZe Clan left Cancun both the happiest team and $250,000 (£186,000) better off after they were crowned the champions of Season 4 of ECS. The CS:GO competition saw three days of play at The Hard Rock hotel in Cancun, with FaZe seeing off mousesports in a dramatic grand finale. The Season 4 finals also saw FACEIT partner with YouTube to introduce Loot Drops filled with FACEIT points. These were to reward viewers for watching the livestreams on YouTube Gaming. The finals saw over 15 million redeemable FACEIT points awarded to viewers in these Loot Drops. Michele Attisani, Chief Business Officer and Co-Founder of FACEIT commented: “Cancun has proved a fantastic location for the season 4 finals, the players have all had an amazing time and this is evident in the extremely high standard of play we’ve seen over the weekend. “We want to thank everybody that tuned in for the finals and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back for season 5 in June when we return to Wembley.”Esports Insider says: Congratulations to FaZe Clan for winning what must have been one of the more enjoyable esports events to take part in when not in front of a screen. A few days in Cancun and $250,000 doesn’t sound bad to us, the location was a decision well made by FACEIT.