Feb. 26, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona baseball team scored at least one run in the first five innings of Tuesday's single game match-up with New Mexico State and it still almost wasn't enough for the win. The Wildcats outlasted the Aggies, 14-10, on the power of six extra base hits and some fine relief pitching from Marc Kaiser. Arizona improved to 15-4 with the win, while NMSU dropped to 10-5.
The Wildcats jumped out a quick 1-0 lead on Brad Hassey's first-pitch, lead-off home run in the bottom of the first. The four-bagger was the third of the season for the senior shortstop who had never gone yard in his three previous seasons.
The Aggies answered with three in the top of the second off of Arizona starter Jason Snyder to take a 3-1 lead, but found their advantage to be short lived.
Arizona plated four runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead on an RBI single by Justyn St. Clair, a run scoring walk to Brad Hassey with the bases loaded, a pitch that tagged Jeff Van Houten, again with the bases loaded, and a fielder's choice ground ball of the bat of Marc Kaiser.
Arizona added another four spot in the third on three-run triple by St. Clair, his second three-RBI hit in as many days, and a sacrifice fly by Clayton Bried.
The Aggies chipped away at the 9-3 lead with four in the fourth on a two-run homer by Ryan Kinning, his 11th of the season for his 35th and 36th RBIs, and a two-run single by Hal Bisnett.
Arizona responded again with three of its own in the home half of the inning. After Kaiser reached on a bunt,and a walk to Chris Cunningham, Richard Mercado launched the first home run of his career over the center field wall for a three-run blast and a 12-7 Arizona lead.
The Aggies pulled within two with three runs in the top of the fifth, but were eventually shut down by Kaiser who moved from his designated hitter spot into the first relief pitching appearance of his Arizona career.
The sophomore right-hander limited the red-hot NMSU bats to just a pair of hits in 3.2 innings, while striking out four and walking none to earn his third win of the season. Tony Sulser worked the ninth to close out the win.
Mercado and St. Clair led all players with four RBIs on a pair of hits each in the win.
Arizona will take a break from its regular season schedule to play an exhibition game with the Colorado Rockies on Thursday at Hi Corbett field. Game time is set 1 p.m. Arizona's Will Miller is set to start against Colorado's John Thomson.