The Wildcats trailed 5-0 after three innings, but scored the final eight runs of the game to earn their first Pac-10 sweep of the season with an 8-5 victory over USC on Sunday.
May 1, 2011
Arizona 8, USC 5 (Box Score)
TUCSON, Ariz. - Robert Refsnyder hit a run-scoring double and a two-run home run to spark the Arizona offense as the Wildcats stormed back from a five-run deficit to win 8-5 and complete a sweep of visiting USC on Sunday afternoon at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.
Arizona (27-16, 9-9 Pac-10) trailed 5-0 after three innings, but scored two runs in the fourth and four in the sixth inning to capture a 6-5 lead. The Wildcats pushed across two insurance runs in the eighth inning to set the score at its final, 8-5.
Bryce Bandilla and Matt Chaffee teamed up to pitch 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, after starter Kurt Heyer pitched the first 5.1 innings. Bandilla, who allowed a hit, two walks and struck out three in two innings of work, improved to 3-1 on the year. Chaffee, who tossed 1.2 innings with one hit allowed, earned his fifth save of the season.
USC (18-25, 8-10 Pac-10) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in top of second inning as it posted five hits off Heyer. An inning later, Heyer gave up a solo home run to Alex Sherrod that put the Wildcats behind 5-0.
In the home half of the fourth, Arizona began to chip away at the deficit. Johnny Field walked to lead off, before Refsnyder belted an RBI double, Refsnyder advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored one out later on an RBI groundout by Bobby Brown.
The score remained 5-2 until the sixth inning, when the Wildcats crushed three straight extra base hits. Johnny Field tripled to lead off the inning and scored on Refsnyder's ensuing two-run home run to left field. Jett Bandy followed with a triple off the left field wall, which marked the end of the day for Trojan starter Logan Odom.
Reliever Ben Mount entered to face Brown, who immediately collected his second RBI of the day with a sharp single to centerfield to tie the game 5-5. Brown eventually moved to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch, allowing Seth Mejias-Brean to drive in the go-ahead run with a single up the middle.
Bandilla, who recorded the final two outs of the sixth inning with strikeouts, pitched a scoreless seventh inning. After issuing a one-out walk in the top of the eighth, Chaffee entered seeking to preserve a 6-5 lead. Cahffee gave up a base hit, but registered a strikeout and an inning-ending groundout to strand a pair of Trojans on the bases.
The Wildcats tacked on two runs in the eighth when Bandy doubled to left field to open the inning and moved to third on Brown's third hit of the afternoon. Alex Mejia knocked an RBI single to centerfield to drive in Bandy. Later, Joey Rickard lined a single to center field to score Mejia and give the Wildcats an 8-5 lead.
Chaffee, who earned the win out of the bullpen in Friday's 4-3 extra-inning victory, pitched a perfect ninth inning to preserve the save.
Mount, who allowed the go-ahead run after replacing Logan in the sixth inning, suffered the loss. He fell to 1-2 on the season.
Heyer, despite not having his best stuff, grinded out 5.1 innings on the mound. With Arizona trailing 5-2 in the top of the fifth, Heyer gave up his ninth hit of the day to lead off the inning. But, Heyer hung tough and induced a groundball double play off the bat of Sherrod to avoid any damage in the inning.
That was enough to turn things over to the bullpen an inning later as Bandilla and Chaffee finished off an impressive weekend. Combined with Vincent Littleman's 4.2 innings on Saturday night, the Arizona bullpen turned in 12.0 scoreless innings in the series, allowing just six hits with 11 strikeouts.
The balanced pitching effort coincided with a rejuvenated offensive attack for the Wildcats, particularly over the last two games. Arizona outscored the Trojans 32-12 in the series and collected 41 base hits. The Wildcats had 14 extra base hits and reached base at a .473 clip over the three games.
Arizona will step away from Pac-10 action next weekend. The Wildcats will host Alcorn State for a three-game non-conference series May 6-8.