FULLERTON, Calif. ?- Arizona’s John Meloan out-dueled Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Max Scherzer on the mound and the Wildcat baseball team opened the 2005 postseason with a 5-3 win over Missouri in the Fullerton Regional at Goodwin Field on Friday. The victory advanced the Wildcats into the winner's bracket to face the winner of the Cal State Fullerton-Harvard game on Saturday at 8 p.m. PT.
Arizona improved to 38-19 overall with the victory and began the postseason with a win for the second straight season. Missouri, the fourth-place finisher in the Big 12 this year, dropped to 39-22 with the loss.
Meloan (10-2) battled through early control problems and a high pitch count
to settle in over 6 2/3 innings for his 10th victory of the year. The right-hander from Houston, Texas, limited the Tiger bats to just two runs ?- one earned ?- on four hits with 10 strikeouts and four walks.
UA closer Mark Melancon worked the final 2 1/3 innings to tie Arizona’s single season saves record at 10. Melancon gave up one run on three hits with no walks and one strikeout.
Scherzer (9-4) started off strong, retiring eight straight Arizona hitters to open the contest and nine of the first 10 he faced in the game, but the second time through the Wildcats order proved to be more difficult for the right-hander.
Scoreless after three and a half innings, UA junior Brad Boyer led off the bottom of the fourth with a grounder through the right side of the Tiger infield. He took second on his first of two steals in the game and came around to score and stake Arizona to a 1-0 lead on Jeff Van Houten’s single up the middle in the next at bat.
Jordan Brown followed Van Houten’s run-scoring base knock with the third straight hit of the inning, another single through the right side of the infield, to place runners on first and third for catcher Nick Hundley. The junior backstop plated both Van Houten and Brown for a 3-0 lead with his 23rd double of the season down the left field line.
A sac bunt by Chris Frey advanced Hundley to third and Schezer wild pitcher plated him for a four-run UA advantage.
Missouri battled back with an unearned run in the fifth and a run in the seventh to cut Arizona’s lead to 4-2, but Trevor Crowe led off of the bottom of the seventh with his 15th triple of the season and scored on Boyer’s single to right on the very next pitch for a three-run advantage.
John Meloan, who won his 10th game of the year on Friday, became the first Arizona pitcher since Gil Heredia in 1986-87 to record 10 or more wins in back-to-back seasons ... Mark Melancon tied Joe Estes (1985) and Carlos Rico (1992) for the single season save record at UA (10) ... Crowe’s seventh inning triple extended both his school and Pac-10 single season records.