May 2, 2010
LOS ANGELES – The No. 19 Arizona baseball team rallied with nine unanswered runs in the late innings to overcome a six-run deficit as the Wildcats defeated USC, 9-7, on Sunday afternoon at Dedeaux Field.
The Wildcats, trailing 6-0, scored three runs in the sixth inning to chip away at the deficit. Arizona then erupted for six runs in the top of the eighth to take a 9-6 lead and Bryce Bandilla pitched a steady 3.1 innings in relief to earn the win out of the bullpen.
Arizona (29-13, 9-9 Pac-10) surged ahead with its highest-scoring inning since March 23 as it scored six runs in the eighth inning. The Wildcats gave the Trojans, who had a knack for two-out runs in the series, a dose of their own medicine as four of the six runs came with two outs in the inning.
Cole Frenzel led off with a single, before Seth Mejias walked and Ethan Chavez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A hard-hit lineout to centerfield drove home Frenzel and left runners on first and second with one down. A fly out by Bobby Rinard moved Mejias-Brean to third and Chavez stole second during the ensuing at bat to get in scoring position.
Josh Garcia, who pinch hit for designated hitter Rafael Valenzuela earlier in the game, delivered a two-run single up the middle that tied the game. Garcia then scored on a wild play following a double by Jett Bandy.
Bandy’s double bounced around in the corner down the left field line as Garcia raced all the way around from the first and tried to score. The relay to the plate was well-ahead of Garcia’s slide, but the ball popped out of the glove of USC catcher Kevin Roundtree. Roundtree was injured and forced from the game on the play as Garcia was called safe, giving UA its first lead at 7-6.
Bandy scored on a wild pitch with Steve Selsky at the plate and then the Wildcats added another run after Selsky reached on a two-base error and stole third. He scored as Robert Refsnyder drove in a fourth two-out run to extend UA’s lead to 9-6.
Bandilla, who entered in relief in the sixth inning, allowed a solo home run to Joe De Pinto in the bottom of the ninth, but otherwise finished off a tremendous performance from the bullpen. He improved to 5-3 on the season as he allowed just one earned run on two hits to go with five strikeouts and no walks.
Arizona starter Daniel Workman lasted just two innings before turning the game over to the bullpen.
The Trojans jumped on top with a three-run first inning. Mike O’Neill doubled to open the frame and Ricky Oropesa drew a one-out walk. That set the table for Alex Sherrod’s three-run home run to right centerfield.
USC added a single run in the home half of the second with a two-out RBI double by O’Neill.
The Trojans extended their lead to 6-0 in the fourth as two more runs scored – both with two outs – off reliever Tyler Hale. Adam Landecker and Joe De Pinto delivered a pair of two-out RBI singles.
The Wildcats plated three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Steve Selsky and Robert Refsnyder led off the inning with singles to force USC starter Chris Mezger from the game.
Seth Mejias-Brean came through with an RBI single off reliever Ryan Cabral to score UA’s first run. Mejia followed with an RBI single as Mejias-Brean moved to third base. Pinch hitter Bobby Rinard then bounced a ball to the second baseman, Kent, who made an errant throw to first base, which allowed Rinard to reach safely and Mejias-Brean to score a third run.
Mezger allowed just the two runs in 5.0 innings of work as he stranded eight Wildcat runners through the first five innings.
Stephen Manthei pitched the Wildcats out of a major jam in the bottom of the fifth. Joe Allison hit a batter and walked the bases loaded, which prompted the change for Manthei. Manthei induced a ground ball to Mejias-Brean, who stepped on third before throwing home to Bandy, who applied a tag for a double play. Manthei tallied a strikeout on the next batter to end the inning.
Arizona left the bases loaded in the top of the second inning. Seth Mejias-Brean walked, Bobby Brown singled and Alex Mejia walked to load the bases for Joey Rickard. Rickard laced a 1-1 pitch down to third baseman Adam Landecker, who caught the liner to end the threat.
Arizona will return to Tucson this evening, but will play at Arizona State on Tuesday, May 4. The Wildcats then host Cal State Bakersfield in a non-conference series May 7-9 at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.