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Baseball eyes improvement in pair of midweek contests

first_imgAfter opening the season over the weekend with a series against North Dakota, USC baseball now prepares for two midweek games: a short trip to Loyola Marymount and an exhibition game at Dedeaux Field against Korean Baseball Organization outfit NC Dinos.The Trojans suffered an upset in their opening series of the season, dropping two out of three against the Fighting Hawks. Head coach Dan Hubbs said he hoped his players would learn from their experience against North Dakota.“They’ve learned they have to compete non-stop, and they have to have tough at-bats,” Hubbs said. “We have to execute when we’re on the mound and not just think that because we throw hard, we’re going to throw the ball by everybody.”With that being said, Hubbs admitted everyone, including players and coaches, was still in the process of getting into the rhythm of the season.“Everybody’s trying to figure out what they have right now,” Hubbs said. “Who will be your starters once you get into league [play]?”Junior catcher Jeremy Martinez agreed with his coach but said he wasn’t worried about the team’s surprisingly challenging opening series.“It’s going to be a process throughout the season, and as long as we’re going forward and putting 100 percent in each day, I think we’ll be fine,” Martinez said.Martinez and company look forward to taking on LMU next. LMU is returning from a long road trip to Fort Worth, where the Lions dropped two of three to TCU. LMU finished 2015 season with a 33-21-1 overall record, and the team advanced all the way to the West Coast Conference Championship before falling to Pepperdine.The last meeting between USC and LMU came in 2014, when the Trojans beat the Lions 4-2 at Page Stadium. USC has not suffered a loss against LMU since 2012.Next, USC will welcome the NC Dinos to Dedeaux Field. The Dinos are a professional Korean baseball team based in Changwon, South Korea. They were founded as a franchise in 2011, and their roster features a few former major leaguers, such as first baseman and Pepperdine product Eric Thames, who last year became the first player in KBO history to hit for the cycle twice in one season. The Dinos finished second in the KBO in 2015, before being knocked out of the playoffs by the eventual champion Doosan Bears.Senior outfielder Timmy Robinson, whose walk-off hit salvaged a win for the Trojans on Sunday, said the team would work toward getting sharper over the course of the next two games.“[We want to] clean up things that happened this weekend and move on … and get things rolling for the season,” Robinson said. “We know we have the talent. We just have to play our game.”Robinson has been nursing an arm injury since before the start of the season, which affected his swing and relegated him to designated hitter duty in the series against North Dakota. Robinson will likely not see the field against LMU or NC, but he looks to return to patrolling center field by this weekend’s series against Wake Forest.USC’s tilt against LMU begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Page Stadium. The Trojans then return home to Dedeaux Field the next day. First pitch for the exhibition versus the NC Dinos is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.last_img read more