Johnny Field's bloop single to right field in the 10th inning drove in Bryce Ortega from for the game-winning run as Arizona defeated USC, 4-3, in walk-off fashion.
April 29, 2011
Arizona 4, USC 3 -- 10 innings (Box Score)
TUCSON, Ariz. - Johnny Field's bloop single to right field in the bottom of the 10th inning drove in Bryce Ortega from second base for the game-winning run as the Arizona baseball team defeated visiting USC in walk-off fashion by a score of 4-3 on Friday night at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.
Arizona (25-16, 7-9 Pac-10) trailed 2-0 after one-half inning of play, but was able to tie the game 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning before taking the lead for the only time in the game with the decisive run in the home half of the 10th inning.
In the 10th, Ortega was hit by a pitch thrown by reliever Brandon Garcia, who started the game as the designated hitter. Cole Frenzel, who tied the game with a run-scoring single in the eighth inning, bunted Ortega to second base to set the table for Field.
Field entered his final at bat 0-for-4 on the day and was down 0-1 in the count. But he got just enough of the next pitch to lift it over first baseman Ricky Oropesa and into shallow right field where it fell in front of right fielder Alex Sherrod. Ortega was able to get a good enough read off contact to break from second and beat Sherrod's throw to the plate.
The Wildcats used a similar formula to tie the game in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Bobby Rinard singled up the middle to lead off the frame and moved to second on Joey Rickard's sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Frenzel delivered a grounder through the right side to score Rinard with a RBI single.
USC (18-23, 8-8 Pac-10) posted a pair of runs of Arizona starter Kyle Simon in the first inning. Pitching in his first career weekend series opener, Simon gave up the two runs on four hits. But the right-hander settled down from there.
Simon kept the Trojans off the board over the next five innings, before he hit Joe De Pinto with a pitch to lead off the seventh inning. After Bryce Bandilla took over for Simon, De Pinto stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch as Oropesa walked. Matt Float followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to push the Trojans ahead 3-2.
Arizona nearly answered in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Bobby Brown belted a triple to right center field with one out. Alex Mejia followed with a high fly ball down the right field line in foul territory. Brown tagged from third, and Sherrod delivered a strong throw to the plate in a close play in which Brown was called out to end the inning.
An inning earlier, the Wildcats had tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Robert Refsnyder reached on a leadoff walk and moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt by USC starter Andrew Triggs. Two outs later, Refsnyder was at third when Mejia delivered an RBI single to put the Wildcats on the board.
With two down and Mejia at first base, Seth Mejias-Brean dropped down a bunt in front of the plate. Triggs fielded the ball, but his throw to first was wild and sailed down the right field line, which allowed Mejia to score all the way from first and tie the game 2-2.
For the Wildcats, reliever Matt Chaffee earned the win to improve to 5-2. The left-hander threw three shutout innings in which he struck out five Trojan hitters. He allowed just three base runners in the final three frames.
Garcia (2-4) suffered the loss despite escaping a potential game-ending situation in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Wildcats had the bases loaded with two outs and Rickard at the plate. But despite falling behind 3-0, Garcia fought back and struck out Rickard swinging to push the game into extra innings.
The victory improved Arizona to 5-1 in Pac-10 series opener on the season and prevented a third straight home loss. It marked UA's second extra inning game of the season after the Wildcats lost 6-5 in 11 innings at Wichita State on March 15.
The two teams will continue the three-game series on Saturday night. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. (MST) at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on 1290 AM with Brian Jeffries describing the play-by-play action.