Feb. 9, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona baseball team continued its hot start to the 2002 season with a 7-5 win over San Diego State at Frank Sancet Field on Saturday. The victory gave Arizona its third series sweep of the season, while improving its record to 10-1 overall. San Diego State, which had won five games in a row entering the series, leaves Tucson with a 5-4 record. The Wildcats are 8-1 against Mountain West Conference teams this season.
Freshman Richard Mercado stole the show on offense for Arizona on Saturday. The first-year designated hitter finished 4-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored. He extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games with a first inning single and added a double and two more base knocks in the game. The effort improved his batting average 66 points to a team-high .483 in eight games played this season.
Arizona plated three runs in the bottom of the first to open the scoring on two, two out singles by catcher Ken Riley and third baseman John Hardy. Mercado, Moises Duran and Chris Cunningham all touched home for the early 3-0 lead.
San Diego State evened the score in the top of the second with three runs on five hits, but the Wildcats countered with their second three run frame in the home half of the inning. Mercado doubled home classmate Chris Marini for the first of three runs on his fourth two bagger of the season, while also advancing Jeff Van Houten to third.
Chris Cunningham's roller back to Aztec starting pitcher Mike Moat appeared to give SDSU the second out of the inning as Van Houten broke for home. However, Moat's throw eluded catcher Josh Allen at the plate allowing Van Houten and Mercado to score safely. Cunningham ended up on second with a two base error.
The Aztecs scored one in the top of the third and were headed for more with runners on first and second before Brad Hassey made a nice play on Riley Barrett's ground ball deep in the hole at short. Moving to his right, the senior snagged the sharply hit ball and threw to third base for the final out of the inning.
Arizona added another run in the bottom of the fifth on Hassey's two-out single to score Clayton Bried.
The Aztecs scored one in the top of the ninth off of Wildcat reliever Tony Sulser to pull within two, but would get no closer, as Sulser got Anthony Gwynn to ground out to Hardy at third for the final out of the game.
Sophomore Marc Kaiser picked up his second win of the season on the mound for Arizona. The right-hander surrendered four runs in six innings of work. He struck out two and walked one. Classmate Chris Goodman spelled the Arizona starter in the seventh before giving way to Sulser, who earned his second save of the season, in the ninth.
Arizona will host the 20th-annual Jim Click All-Pro Alumni Game on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Sancet Field. Members of past Arizona squads now playing professional baseball will take on the current squad in a seven inning exhibition game beginning at 1 p.m. Guest managers for the game are current World Champion Erubiel Durazo of the Arizona Diamondbacks and legendary left-hander Vida Blue. There will be an autograph session for the general public at 11:30 a.m. followed by a home run hitting contest at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are six dollars and are available at the gate.