May 17, 2003
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona baseball team took one step closer to earning its first postseason birth since 1999 with a 20-6 thrashing of Oregon State at Frank Sancet Field on Saturday. The win improved Arizona's overall record to 34-17 and pulled the Wildcats into a second place tie in the Pac-10 standings with rival Arizona State at 12-7. Oregon State fell to 22-27 overall and 6-16 in the Pac-10 with the loss.
The Wildcats rapped out 21 hits in the contest and scored runs in seven of the eight innings they came to bat. All nine of the Arizona starters finished with at least one hit in the game with the 4 through 9 hitters going a combined 18 for 30 with 17 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Individually, sophomore Jeff Van Houten, who entered the game batting .403, improved his team-leading batting average 16 points to .419 with a 5 for 5 night at the plate. The second-year starter finished the game with a double, a triple, four RBIs and four runs scored.
Right-hander Richie Gardner (9-1) picked up his team-high ninth win of the season with eight solid innings of work on the mound. The junior allowed just four earned runs on eight hits, while striking out four and walking two. Junior Scott Burns tossed the final inning to close out the win.
OSU's Ben Rowe (3-7) was charged with the loss after giving up 10 runs, eight earned, on 11 hits in five innings.
Arizona and Oregon State meet up for the second game of the three-game set on Sunday at 7 p.m. Monday's game time has been changed from the originally scheduled 1 p.m. first pitch to noon. Both games can be heard live on the radio on KNST (790-AM).