May 16, 2010
Final Box Score (PDF)
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona baseball team evened its Pac-10 conference series against No. 2 Arizona State with a 12-4 victory as head coach Andy Lopez earned his 1,000th career coaching win before a crowd of 2,325 fans on Sunday evening at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.
Kyle Simon improved to 8-4 on the season with a steady seven innings of work and Steve Selsky went 4-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and two RBI to pace the Wildcats.
After the Sun Devils put an unearned run on the board in the top of the first inning, the Wildcats claimed a 2-1 edge in the second inning before ASU tied the game 2-2 in the third.
Arizona (31-17, 10-10 Pac-10) roughed up ASU starter Merrill Kelly, who entered the game undefeated on the season, with five runs in the fourth inning to open up the game. Selsky opened the inning with a single and later scored on an RBI fielder’s choice groundout by Robert Refsnyder.
Later in the frame, Bobby Rinard reached on a fielder’s choice as Refsnyder was forced out at second base, and Seth Mejias-Brean reached on a single to put runners at the corners with two outs. Alex Mejia followed with an RBI double, which plated Rinard and advanced Mejias-Brean to third.
The Sun Devils turned to their bullpen and brought in Brady Rogers to face the top of the order. Joey Rickard launched a three-run home run to left field on the first pitch he saw from Rogers to extend UA’s lead to 7-2.
Interestingly, after allowing six two-out RBI to the Sun Devils on Saturday night, the Wildcats drove in six two-out runs on Sunday, including four in the five-run fourth. Four of the runs in the fourth were charged to Merrill, who dropped to 9-1 on the season.
The Wildcats added a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning to gain a six-run edge. Selsky doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on an errant pickoff attempt at second by Rogers. Cole Frenzel, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a pair of hits, followed with an RBI single to drive in Selsky.
The Sun Devils mounted a rally in the top of the sixth off Simon, scoring two runs on four hits and a walk. The damage could have been worse, however, as ASU stranded runners on second and third when Simon induced a groundout off the bat of Matt Newman.
Leading 8-4, Arizona kept its foot on the gas pedal and responded with a pair of its own runs in the home half of the inning. Rickard reached on an error with one out and Bandy was hit by a pitch with two outs to bring up Selsky. The sophomore right fielder drove home both runners with a double, which gave the Wildcats breathing room again with a 10-4 advantage.
ASU (42-6, 15-5 Pac-10) was unable to cut into the Arizona lead despite mounting a threat in the eighth inning. Simon allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases, before being lifted in favor of Bryce Bandilla. Bandilla, who actually entered with a 2-0 count to Johnny Ruetigger, settled down after Ruetigger reached base on the walk charged to Simon.
The sophomore left-hander struck out Raoul Torrez for the first out, then induced a double play groundout off the bat of Deven Marrero to end the inning and preserve UA’s 10-2 lead.
For good measure, Arizona plated two more runs in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Jimmy Patterson, to set the score at its final, 12-4.
Bandilla pitched the final two innings for the Wildcats in relief with three strikeouts. Simon tallied six strikeouts and scattered nine hits while allowing only four runs – three earned – in the game.
The rubber match of the series is set for 6 p.m. on Monday evening at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium. A brief pre-game ceremony will recognize Lopez for reaching the prestigious 1,000-win plateau.