TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The No. 10-ranked Arizona baseball team scored 13 runs on 11 hits in the third inning alone as it rallied to take the rubber game of its three-game series 18-4 over USC at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on Sunday.
Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the third, Arizona blew the game open by sending 17 batters to plate, collecting six singles, two doubles, two triples, a home run and two walks in the inning. Trevor Crowe started the frame with his second leadoff home run of the contest and Brad Boyer, Chris Frey and Jason Donald collected two hits each in the inning.
The victory improved Arizona to 29-15 overall and equaled the win total in conference play from last season in the 15th Pac-10 game this year. The Wildcats, 12-3 in the conference, remained one game ahead of second-place Oregon State, which defeated Arizona State 5-1 in Corvallis on Sunday.
Individually, all nine Arizona starters on offense collected at least one hit in the game. Crowe, who hit his fourth leadoff home run this year in the first, finished the contest 3 for 5 with two home runs, two RBI and three runs scored. Shortstop Donald paced all players with five RBI in the game by going 3 for 4 with a double and his fifth home run of the season.
Frey (3 for 6, 3 RBI, 2 R) and Boyer (3 for 5, 2 RBI, 3 R) each finished with three hits on the afternoon.
The offensive fireworks overshadowed an impressive relief performance by UA freshman Eric Berger (5-0). The southpaw picked up his fifth win of the year after taking over for classmate David Coulon in the third inning. Berger allowed just two hits over six scoreless innings while striking out five and walking one. Arizona closer Mark Melancon worked the final inning of the contest.
USC starter Anthony Encinas and reliever Paul Koss were roughed up for a combined 12 runs through the first 2 1/3 innings of the game. Encinas (3-3) was charged with the loss after giving up five runs on five hits with one strikeout and one walk. Koss did not record an out in relief of the Trojan starter in the third and surrendered seven runs on five hits and one walk.
Arizona will take a break from conference play for the second time in three weeks when it hosts Utah Valley State for a three-game series in Tucson next Friday-Sunday. Game times are 7 p.m., 7 p.m. and 1 p.m.