Last weekend, the baseball team played its first Pac-12 series of the season, taking two of three games against Washington State at Dedeaux Field.The Trojans started off the homestand with a major bang, as they defeated the Cougars 12-3 off of 15 hits in the Friday opener. Five different players in the lineup recorded multiple hits, while senior Corey Dempster led the way with three RBIs on his birthday.“I was just trying to be more patient in the box,” Dempster said. “I decided to let the ball get to me and then be aggressive early and then with two strikes, really bear down and try to stop chasing pitches.”Washington State led 1-0 on an RBI double in the second inning, however the advantage would not last long. In the bottom of the third with the bases loaded, Dempster launched a double to right field sending all baserunners home. After that game-changing swing, the Trojans’ offense was a runaway train. They would go on to score seven runs in the next two innings.“[The pitcher] was coming at me with fastballs, and I was fouling them off,” Dempster said on his big hit. “I was just under them and I was trying to think of an adjustment, trying to get more on top. He threw another fastball away, and I just went with it. I was trying to get the ball deep and I did.”USC carried over its momentum from an explosive Friday game into Saturday. This time, the hitting proved the difference once again as the lineup produced 11 hits en route to a 4-2 victory. Freshman catcher Blake Sabol recorded his first career highlight play with a two-run stand-up double in the second inning. In the bottom of the third, Dempster continued his hot streak with an RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0. He went 3-of-4 on the game with one run.Pitching was also a strong suit for USC on Saturday. Junior Brad Wegman got the start after uneven performances in his previous four outings. This time Wegman was strong on the mound, giving up just one run in six innings with five strikeouts. His record improved to 2-2 on the season with a 5.06 ERA.In the third and final game of the series on Sunday, the Trojans were unable to replicate their previous performances from the plate. Washington State pitcher Cody Anderson was excellent from the mound, throwing eight innings and striking out six batters.After the Cougars left the first inning with a 1-0 lead, senior Cris Perez tied the game up with athird-inning solo home run that was launched to left field. Washington State would respond with a run in the fifth to reclaim the lead. In the seventh inning, the game was broken open with a Cougar home run and sacrifice fly that extended the away team’s lead to 4-1. Pitchers Marrick Crouse and Solomon Bates gave up two runs apiece.After going 2-1 against Washington State, the Trojans are 12-7 on the year. Next, they face UC Irvine on the road this Tuesday before returning home for a series with conference foe Arizona State.
The unexpected time off last season forced Bryant to think about his post-basketball future.“I’m afraid, too,” he said Friday at the summer TV critics’ meeting. “You really have to lean on muses and mentors going forward, just as I did as a kid. It’s about having that next wave of things, which is scary as hell, but it’s fun at the same time.”Bryant said this film is different than the 2009 ESPN documentary “Kobe Doin’ Work,” directed by Spike Lee. The new film includes Magic Johnson and former Lakers coach and current Knicks president Phil Jackson.“It’s more introspective,” he said. “It’s about who or what has inspired me.”Bryant is credited as an executive producer on the Showtime film, a vanity credit only. “I’m not even quite sure what it is they do,” he said.He arrived 30 minutes late for his session with critics.“I was out looking for a head coach,” he said, joking.The Lakers remain without a coach, and big man Pau Gasol recently chose to leave for Chicago as a free agent. The team failed in its bid to land Carmelo Anthony, too.“We’re still trying to figure the roster out,” Bryant said. “We don’t know what system we’re going to be operating out of. A lot of those questions remain to be answered.”Bryant reaffirmed he was “very happy” with the effort the Lakers made in trying to land Anthony and retain Gasol. He indicated approval of general manager Mitch Kupchak’s recent signings of complementary players.“It’s my job to go out there next season and lay it all out there on the line and get us to that elite level,” he said. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Kobe Bryant says he’s “scared” about his future after basketball, although he’s embracing the challenge of finding something that he can be as passionate about as sports.Bryant turns 36 next month and is under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for two more years. He was limited to just six games last season because of two major leg injuries, leaving him with the kind of idle time he never had before in his career.Bryant gives a peek into his life in a Showtime documentary airing in November. “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” covers much of last season, when Bryant was sidelined and the Lakers finished 27-55, the most losses in club history.“It’s a fascinating time to be around this guy,” said Gotham Chopra, who directed the film. “There’s this sort of looking forward to life after basketball. This is a guy that’s asking a lot of questions.”