On a brisk afternoon at Merle Norman Stadium, the No. 1 USC beach volleyball team took care of business in their home opener. The Trojans defeated visiting Loyola Marymount 5-0 in the first meeting between the two teams this season. With the win, the Trojans improved to 12-0 on the season with a 42-match winning streak, while LMU fell to 6-7 overall. Furthermore, USC remains perfect in the all-time series against the Lions at 16-0.To kick off the dual meet, USC got 2 points on the board from their No. 4 and No. 5 pairs, respectively. Sophomore Abril Bustamante and freshman Joy Dennis earned a 21-16, 25-23 victory over LMU’s Emma Doud and Veronica Nederend, while the second point came from juniors Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer at the five spot. After dropping their first set 18-21 to LMU’s pair of Kristen Castellanos and Erin Williams, the reigning Pac-12 Pair of the Week squeaked out wins in the next two frames, 21-17 in the second and 15-12 in the third.Belton and Kremer are no stranger to three-setters in this early part of the season, having gone the distance in six of their 11 matches played. However, with an overall record of 10-1 and an eight-match winning streak in their back pockets, the juniors seemed to have fully embraced those challenges.“It’s almost become kind of a joke between us at this point,” Kremer said. “We’ve gone to three so many times now that if we do end up having to play another third set, we just sit down, regroup and tell each other that we’ll be fine. We’re good at third games and we feed off each other really well.”While the juniors are one of four new pairs for USC this season, their friendship has quickly transformed into a solid partnership at the five spot.“We have very similar personalities on the court, which helps us a lot,” Belton said. “We’re known to be very relaxed and chill, but we can definitely bring the fire out of each other when we need to, so it has been working really well.”That bond also contributes to the players’ comfort levels when taking on competitors.“I love playing with Jenna,” Kremer added. “We don’t really feel too much pressure out on the court because we know we’ll have the other’s support no matter what. It’s been really fun so far.”Once the four and five pairs wrapped up their victories, it became a race to see which USC pair would clinch the dual for the Trojans. Over on court three, junior Terese Cannon set up senior Nicolette Martin for a kill that would end the match and the dual in the Trojans’ favor. They posted a 21-15, 21-15 win over Brittnay Estes and Kekai Whitford. Less than a minute later, senior Allie Wheeler and sophomore Katrina Kernochan — playing in place of senior Sophie Bukovec — notched a 21-11, 21-19 straight set victory over Sara Kovac and Jessie Prichard on court two.To close out the 5-0 sweep, the Trojans got a win at the top court from seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes. After dropping the first set to LMU’s pair of Savannah Slattery and Sarah Sponcil 18-21, the veterans dominated the second frame by a 21-10 score. Claes and Hughes then ran out to a 10-1 lead in the third and took the set in dominating fashion with a 15-3 finish. All in all, the dual victory improved USC’s record to 35-4 all-time at Merle Norman Stadium.From the West Coast to the East Coast the Trojans go, as they now head to Columbia, S.C., for the Gamecock Grand Slam-Dan Apol Memorial tournament at Wheeler Beach for the weekend. The field includes No. 4 Florida State, No. 9 Georgia State, host and No. 9 South Carolina and No. 13 Stetson. Matches will begin on Saturday at 8 a.m. PST with a tilt against the Seminoles and will conclude on Sunday.
The time in Cincinnati did not go well for Wood. He suffered a back in jury during spring training and did not make his debut for the Reds until the end of July. In all, he made just seven starts last season, going 1-3 with a 5.80 ERA.Wood joins recently-signed right-hander Jimmy Nelson as low-cost options at the back of the Dodgers’ starting rotation who will have to prove they can recapture their pre-injury form. Nelson underwent shoulder surgery in 2017, missed all of the 2018 season and pitched just 22 innings in the majors last season.The front three of the rotation is settled with Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda. Young left-hander Julio Urias is expected to take the fourth spot but will likely have some innings limits. Wood, Nelson, Ross Stripling, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin will compete for the fifth spot in the rotation with bullpen roles also possible. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Re-acquiring one of their former players is becoming a winter tradition for the Dodgers.Following on the heels of Matt Kemp’s return (before the 2018 season) and Russell Martin’s comeback tour (last year), the Dodgers have reached agreement with free-agent left-hander Alex Wood. Wood signed a one-year contract with a reported $4 million base salary and incentives that could take it to $10 million.Wood, who turned 29 years old Sunday, spent parts of four seasons with the Dodgers, going 31-20 with a 3.46 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. His best season was 2017 when he made the All-Star team while going 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA.Last winter, Wood was sent to the Cincinnati Reds along with Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig in a trade that cleared salary from the Dodgers’ payroll and also brought prospects Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs into the Dodgers’ farm system. Related Articles Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire