April 21, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona baseball team closed out its non-conference regular season with a 13-5 win over UC Riverside at Frank Sancet Field on Sunday. The victory gave the Wildcats a two-to-one series victory and improved their overall record 27-16 for the season. The Highlanders fell to 23-19 with the loss.
Arizona exploded for seven runs in the fifth inning, turning a close 1-0 lead into an eight run advantage. Senior Justyn St. Clair opened the scoring in the fifth with a one-out RBI single that plated Moises Duran from second. Sophomore Brian Anderson scored Brad Hassey in the next at-bat before Chris Cunningham drilled UCR's Julio Fernandez's offering to the gap for a two-run double and a 5-0 Wildcat lead.
Cunningham came around to score on a potential inning-ending double play ball off the bat of Pat Reilly that cut down the previously walked Marc Kaiser at second. However, UCR shortstop Scott Powis' throw on the turn evaded first baseman Brian Emmons' reach for an error, allowing Reilly to advance to second and Cunningham to score.
Freshman John Hardy made the Highlanders pay for the defensive miscue with his fourth home run of the season, a two-run blast the soared over the leftfield fence to give the Wildcats an 8-0 lead.
UCR answered with three runs in the top of the sixth off of Arizona starter Joe Little, but Hassey launched his fifth home run of the season to leadoff the bottom of the inning to push Arizona's lead to 9-3.
UCR pulled within four at 9-5 with two runs in the eighth before the Wildcats put the game out of reach with four of their own in the home half of the inning. St. Clair's two-run triple highlighted the scoring as both Anderson and Cunningham added an RBI single apiece.
St. Clair's 3 for 5, two run and three RBI day at the plate paced a Wildcat attack that saw Arizona collect 14 hits on the afternoon. Cunningham and Hardy each chipped in with a pair of hits and three RBIs.
Little (6-4) worked six innings on the mound for his sixth win of the season. The Wildcat southpaw struck out six and walked none on 76 pitches. Jason Snyder worked the seventh and eighth before giving way to Wes Zlotoff in the ninth.
Fernandez (3-4) was charged with his fourth loss of the season, giving up seven runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings.
The victory completes the non-conference slate for the Wildcats who finished with a 22-9 record against non-Pac-10 opposition and victories in eight of its 10 non-conference series this season.
Arizona will return to Pac-10 action next weekend with a three-game series against Pac-10 leading USC in Los Angeles. The Trojans swept their three-game series with Washington State in Pullman over the weekend, improving to a conference-best 9-3 in Pac-10 play.
First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m. All three games against USC will be broadcast on 790 AM KNST and at www.knst.com.