May 31, 2003
TUCSON, Ariz.- No. 4 seeded San Diego ended second-seeded Arizona's season with a 5-2 win over the Wildcats in the loser's bracket of the NCAA Regional in Fullerton, Calif., on Saturday. Arizona ended its season losing its last six straight games to fall to 35-23 overall. San Diego, which improved to 32-29 overall with win, advanced on to face the loser of the Fullerton-Notre Dame game.
"This was a disappointing way to end the season," Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. "San Diego played a great game and my hat's off to them. We didn't play our best baseball to end the year and it showed. Hopefully our guys learned something from this that we can take into next year."
Costly base running miscues, an anemic offense and a late fielding error all contributed to the season-ending loss to the Toreros. The Wildcats had two runners picked off base, stranded six other on base and committed an error that handed USD a pair of insurance runs.
With a pair of runners on second and third and a 3-2 lead, USD put the game to rest in the bottom of the seventh inning on John Hardy's two-run fielding error. USD's Mike Oseguera drew a leadoff walk and was replaced at first by pinch runner Gavin Ng. A sac-bunt by Ben Quinto advanced Ng ninety feet, earned Tony Perez an intentional walk and chased Arizona starter Sean Rierson from the game.
Reliever John Meloan compounded the Arizona troubles with a wild pitch that allowed the two Torero base runners to advance to second and third. Junior Joey Prast followed with a ground ball to short that squirted through Hardy's legs and into shallow left field for the two-run error and a 5-2 USD edge.
Toreros' reliever Perez moved onto the mound from his centerfield position in the top of the eighth and struck out Arizona's side looking before working a one-hit ninth to slam the door on the Arizona season and earn his 13th save.
San Diego opened the scoring the in the bottom of the fifth on Tony Perez's RBI single through the left side of the infield to score Ben Quinto from second for a 1-0 USD advantage.
A one-out single by USD's Josh Hansen in the bottom of the sixth placed a runner on base for Lucas Wennerstein, who drove Arizona starter Sean Rierson's 2-2 pitch over the right field wall for his fourth home run of the season and a 3-1 USD lead.
USD's Aaron Wilson improved to 6-6 on the season with seven solid innings on the mound. The right-hander gave up just the two runs on eight Arizona hits, while striking out three and walking just one.
Rierson (9-3) picked up his third loss of the season despite pitching well. The junior right-hander was charged with all five runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Offensively, USD tallied 11 hits to UA's 9 in the game. Perez led all players with a 3 for 3 day at the plate. He also scored a run and finished with a RBI in the win.
Arizona's Jeff Van Houten finished the season with a 1 for 4 day a the plate, leaving him with a final batting average of .413 to make him the first Arizona player since Robbie Moen in 1991 to hit over .400 for a season.