Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
USC Hands Baseball First Home Series Loss
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: May 15, 2007
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            TUCSON, Ariz, - Arizona’s offense came up short for a second straight game, as USC defeated the Wildcats 4-2 to hand UA its first home series loss of the season. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 36-13 for the year and to 11-7 in the conference, while the Trojans improved to 25-23 overall and bolstered their standing in the conference race with an 8-10 league record.


            USC took advantage of a throwing error by Kevin Rodland on the first play of the game to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Matt Cusick led off the game with a grounder towards the Wildcat freshman at second, but after fielding it cleanly, Rodland’s throw pulled C.J Ziegler off the base for throwing miscue that would eventually lead to a run.


            SC’s Grant Green followed with a single to right and Michael Torres advanced the pair to second and third on a sacrifice bunt in the next at bat. Lucas Duda then plated Cusick from third on a ground out to Rodland to make it 1-0 Trojans.


            SC tacked on a two more runs in the fifth on an infield single by Duda and a run-scoring wild pitch by Daniel Schlereth, and one more in the sixth on bases loaded double play ball to make it 4-0.


            Meanwhile, SC starter Tommy Milone (3-5) held the Wildcat bats in check for the first seven innings, limiting UA to just five hits while striking out nine and walking only one. The seven shutout innings handed the Trojan southpaw his third win of the year.


            Arizona avoided the shutout loss when Bill Rhinehart doubled in a pair of runs in the eighth with two outs off of reliever Anthony Vasquez. SC's Hector Rabago came on and issued a walk to Brad Glenn to place runners on first and second, but got out of the trouble by picking off Rhinehart at second to end the inning and the Wildcats’ scoring threat.


            The base running gaffe in the eighth proved to be big, as Jon Gaston led off the ninth with a triple that would have pushed across both Rhinehart and Glenn with the game-tying runs.


            But even with Gaston at third and no outs in the final frame, the Wildcat offense failed to come through. Robago drilled pinch hitter Diallo Fon to place runners on the corners and no outs, but Dwight Childs bunted into a double play while attempting to sacrifice Fon to second for the first two outs in the inning. The Trojan right-hander then struck out Erik Castro to end the contest and pick up his first save of the season.


            UA starter Mike Colla (3-3) was charged with the loss despite allowing just two earned runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings of work.


            The Wildcats will attempt to get back on track this weekend when they host Washington for a three-game conference series. The contests against the Huskies will mark the final home stand of the regular season for Arizona.

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