May 18, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.- One night removed from a ninth inning loss to Washington State, the Arizona baseball team returned the favor with a three-run final inning at Frank Sancet Field on Saturday night. Freshman John Hardy's two-out single to center field enabled Arizona (30-21, 8-12 Pac-10) to reach the 30-win plateau for the fifth time in the last six years. The loss dropped Washington State to 20-30 overall and 5-15 in the Pac-10.
After giving up five runs in the top of the sixth and trailing 7-1, the Wildcats scored at least one run in each of the final four innings to shove their way back into the game.
Down 7-5 in the ninth, Redshirt freshman Pat Reilly began the Arizona rally with a one-out walk off of Cougar reliever Zach Fisher. Sophomore Moises Duran followed with a drive to centerfield that missed going out by the narrowest of margins. The blast off the wall landed Duran on third with a triple and scored Reilly to shave the WSU lead to one at 7-6.
Senior Chris Cunningham then drew a walk to place runners on first and third with one down for sophomore Brian Anderson. Anderson, who headed to the plate in the ninth 0 for 4, drove Fisher's 2-1 offering deep enough to right field to plate Duran from third, tying the game at 7-7.
Fisher hit freshman Richard Mercado with a pitch, advancing pinch runner Kevin Sears 90 feet to second base and paving the way for Hardy's heroics. The first-year third baseman worked the count full before delivering a solid single to centerfield to score Sears from second with the game-winning run.
Reliever Chris Goodman (4-2) was the beneficiary of the Wildcat comeback, picking up his fourth win of the season with three strong innings of relief in which he struck out three and walked just one. Fisher (1-2), who earned the save for WSU in the Cougars' comeback on Friday, was charged with his second loss of the season.
Reilly led the way at the plate for the Wildcats. The first baseman finished the contest 2 for 4 at the plate with a three-run home run, his second of the season, three RBIs and two runs scored. Hardy, Mercado and classmate Jeff Van Houten each paired hits on the evening.
The two schools will meet for the rubber game of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.