The USC baseball team will try to continue its midweek success this season.The Trojans are 7-1 this season during weekday games, punctuated by last Tuesday’s nine-run comeback win over the final four innings against the same UC Santa Barbara squad they’ll face today.Sputtering · Senior catcher Keith Castillo and the Trojans have lost eight of their last 10 games and are struggling to stay alive in the Pac-10. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan However, today, the Trojans (17-22, 3-12) will have to deal with a limited skeletal squad when they travel to take on the Gauchos (17-17) at 2 p.m.College baseball depth is often an issue, and USC has not been immune this season.Scholarships are limited in college baseball. Injuries can quickly thin the depth chart. But with the largest playing schedule in college athletics, baseball teams are also affected by class schedules.Class conflicts will force USC to leave an hour later than originally planned and have caused some changes in the starting lineup.“We’ve got some guys that are ailing and guys that have to attend class,” USC coach Chad Kreuter said. “I want to make a lineup out, but we’ve got guys beat up, so I have to wait to see. It will be very interesting.”Kreuter planned to start pitcher Chad Smith but had to scratch the right-handed sophomore because Smith does not get out of class until 1:50 p.m. Instead of Smith, the start will likely go to junior Logan Odom, depending on how Odom’s arm feels today after he pitched in two of the three games against Oregon.“Logan deserves a shot after the way he threw this weekend,” Kreuter said.Kreuter said he had already planned to use multiple pitchers much like he has during the last four midweek games. In those contests, USC has used an average of five pitchers per game.USC has won all four of those games but only by a combined five runs. Kreuter attributes the close games to the team’s inability to string together hits.“We’ve scuffled a bit at the plate,” Kreuter said. “We’re hitting. It’s just at different times. The hits aren’t necessarily coming together. We’ve needed a clutch hit here or there and haven’t been able to do it.”With only four upperclassman position players, a lot of the pressure hitting situations have come with young freshmen and sophomores at the plate. The coaching staff has been trying to repeatedly simulate these situations every day in practice.“If you make it routine, it becomes easier because then it becomes automatic,” Kreuter said. “It’s something that comes with experience, and right now we’re in the middle of some growing pains.”Kreuter blamed the inconsistency and inexperience of his young lineup for the team’s struggles, as the Trojans have gone 4-10 in the month of April. But he remained optimistic the team is capable of going on a strong run over the final 21 games of the season, beginning with today’s game.“The Pac-10 is so strong this season,” he said. “If you get in the middle of the pack, with a solid non-conference record, you are going to likely get a call from the [NCAA] regional committee.”
Jamaicans everywhere continue to celebrate the achievements of home boy singer Dalton Harris as he continues his progress to win the British TV talent show, the X-Factor. On Sunday evening when the results of Saturday (November 24) performances were announced Harris was voted as one of the three finalists advancing to the final live TV performance on Saturday, December 1. The winner will be announced on Sunday, December 2.The 24-year-old Jamaican, who was born in Clarendon, advanced to the finals with Scarlett Lee and Anthony Russell. According to reports Harris was visibly relieved when his name was the first to be announced as a finalist.In an interview with the show’s host Dermott O’Leary after the results were announced, Harris said, “It’s a dream come true and nothing stops you but yourself… I’m so grateful for the encouragement that you guys have given me, and I’m here.” Harris’s popularity going into the finals can also be seen on the iTunes Top 100 charts, as two of the studio recordings of songs he has performed on the show are charting. Feeling Good, which he performed on November 10 was at number 34, and Listen, which he performed a week ago, has re-entered the chart and was at number 86 at press time yesterday.Back at home in Jamaica, according to the Jamaica Observer newspaper, Harris’s mentor, record producer Donovan Germain was elated. German told the Observer, “I had no doubt that he could do it. We talk everyday, and I know how much he is driven, so I had no doubt from the beginning that he would put in the work in order to get out of this competition what he wants for himself. So, seeing him make it to the finals was just a fulfilment of what I know he set out to do.”In 2010, emerged on the Jamaican music scene when he won Digicel Rising Stars at 16 years old.