The Cardinal brings a 7-8 nonconference record while the Trojans are only a little better at 10-9.
Defending NCAA champion UCLA, meanwhile, is off to a 3-0 start in conference after sweeping Cal.
Thus, it is important for Stanford to open the Pac-12 season in a positive manner. Head coach Mark Marquess will use some young arms this weekend with three freshmen taking the mound against USC — Brett Hanewich (0-1, 1.93 ERA), Cal Quantrill (2-2, 4.18) and Chris Viall (1-1, 3.50).
Stanford will have to hope its pitching holds up as the Cardinal is batting just .261 as a team.
The Trojans started the year 7-0 but have gone just 3-8 since. They opened Pac-12 play last weekend with a 3-2 win over No. 7 Oregon, before dropping the next two of the series by 7-2 scores to fall to 1-2 in the conference.
USC has been one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the country to date. As of the latest NCAA stats release on March 17, the Trojans ranked fourth in double plays (23), sixth in fielding percentage (.984) and fourth in sacrifice bunts (28).
USC's lineup is highlighted by Kevin Swick (.375, six doubles), while the Cardinal is led by Alex Dunlap (.367) and Alex Blandino (.365).
Austin Slater (.340) also provides pop in the middle of Stanford's lineup, as he has driven in 12 runs to tie Blandino for the team lead. Slater ended a 10-game hitting streak, a career long, in the Cardinal's last outing.
The teams will square off on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Stanford junior midfielder Hannah Farr has been added to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, the most prestigious annual honor in collegiate women's lacrosse.
Farr joins teammates Rachel Ozer, a senior attack, and sophomore midfielder Lucy Dikeou, who were named to the preseason list. Farr is among two additions to the list, presented by Panama Jack, which now numbers 53.
Players are given the chance to play their way onto the lists, which is exactly what Farr has done. She has led Stanford to a 5-1 record and No. 15 ranking, going into the Cardinal's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation home opener Saturday against St. Mary's at noon.
Stanford's Jessica Plaza was one of 24 players selected to participate at the 2014 USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Camp on June 9-12.
The sophomore catcher will compete for a spot on the 17-player USA Softball Women's World Championship roster that will compete for the International Softball Federation World Championship in Haarlem, Netherlands, this August.