USC baseball leaves 2024 knowing it must increase its margin for error

The story of USC baseball in the first two years of the Andy Stankiewicz era contains a very clear and resonant theme. The Trojans simply have to increase their margin for error. It’s not a controversial or vague statement to make. Anyone who has been following the program knows what we mean.

In 2023, USC should have been allowed into the NCAA Tournament and a regional. The Trojans were snubbed. It was wrong. It was unfair. Nevertheless, there were enough warts on the overall portfolio that the selection committee found reasons to exclude the Trojans. They were closer to the cut line than they hoped. Again, they deserved to get in, but they weren’t a 100-percent lock. They left the matter up to someone else.

In 2024, the Trojans weren’t under consideration for an at-large bid. They knew they had to win the Pac-12 Baseball Tournament to make the field. They came really, really close, but they fell short. They were five outs away from winning but couldn’t get those last five outs.

USC won nine games in a row to come very close to its goal of making the NCAA Tournament, but the Trojans needed to win 10 in a row. When the margins are that small, success is unlikely to be found. USC needs to enter the middle of May with a tournament berth firmly secured. Leaving it up to chance on Memorial Day weekend has been the reality of the past two seasons for USC. The Trojans can’t keep going down this road.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire