April 12, 2002
BERKELEY, Calif.- The Arizona baseball team defeated California 8-4 in the series opener with the Golden Bears at Evans Diamond on Friday afternoon. The victory improves Arizona's record to 23-14 overall and 4-6 in Pac-10 play. The loss drops Cal to 22-17 overall and 5-5 in the Pac-10
The Wildcats broke up a pitchers duel between the Arizona's Sean Rierson and Cal's Trevor Hutchinson with two runs in the top of the fifth. Senior Brad Hassey opened the scoring for Arizona with an RBI single that plated Justyn St. Clair for the first run of the game. The run-scoring knock extended Hassey's hitting streak to nine straight games in the process. After Brian Anderson grounded through the left side to advance Hassey to second, senior Chris Cunningham followed with a single to right to score the senior shortstop and give Arizona a 2-0 advantage.
The Wildcats added another run in the top of the sixth when St. Clair plated John Hardy with a two-out single up the middle for a 3-0 WIldcat lead. All total, Arizona scored six of its eight runs in the game with two outs in an inning.
The Golden Bears closed within one in the bottom of the seventh on back-to-back RBI doubles by John Baker and David Nicholson before Rierson got Brian Horowitz to line into an inning-ending double play to Moises Duran at second.
St. Clair tallied his second two-out RBI single of the game in the top of the eighth for a 4-2 Arizona lead, before the Golden Bears loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning. Senior reliever Wes Zlotoff induced David Weiner into a pop out at first for the initial out and then gave way to closer Brian Anderson.
The sophmore moved in from his centerfield position to take the mound for just the fourth time this season. Facing Cal's top hitter, Conor Jackson, the Anderson worked the first baseman to a full count before getting him to tap the ball fair down the firstbase line on hard, inside fastball. Anderson fielded the ball, tossed to Cunningham at home for the second out, who then fired to first for the inning-ending pitcher-to-catcher-to-first double play, ending the California threat with no runs scored.
Arizona padded its lead with four runs in the top of the ninth on a Marc Kaiser RBI single, a two-run base knock by Hardy and a single up the middle by Jeff Van Houten. The six run advantage appeared to be enough, but the resilient Bears scored twice in the bottom of the ninth and had runners on second and third with no outs before Anderson regained his form and struck out Justin Nelson and Nick Medrano before getting Ben Conley to ground out to Hassey to end the game.
Rierson (6-2), who retired 16 straight California hitters at one point, picked up his team-leading sixth win of the season in seven innings of work. The sophomore struck out three and walked none on just 66 pitches. Anderson's eighth and ninth innings efforts earned him his team-high tying third save. Hutchinson (7-3) was tagged with just his third loss of the season.
Offensively, Arizona rapped out 13 hits in the game, all of which were singles. St. Clair and Hardy eached paired hits and RBIs in the game, as the Wildcats also stole a season-high five bases on the afternoon.
The two schools will meet again on Saturday for the second game of the three-game series. Arizona's Marc Kaiser will take the mound for the Wildcats. First pitch is scheduled 1 p.m.