Kurt Heyer earned his 25th career victory and the Wildcats pounded out 12 hits in an 11-1 series-opening victory over USC on Friday night.
May 18, 2012
Arizona 11, USC 1 (Box Score)
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Kurt Heyer pitched eight strong innings and collected his 25th career pitching victory as 14th-ranked Arizona defeated USC, 11-1, in the opening game of a three-game series at Dedeaux Field on Friday evening.
Arizona (35-15, 17-8 Pac-12) won its fifth-straight road game and handed USC (22-26, 7-18 Pac-12) its ninth consecutive loss. The Wildcats scored a run in the first inning for the fourth game in a row and never looked back.
Heyer improved to 10-2 on the season and lowered his earned run average to 2.20 with eight strong innings. The right-hander allowed just one run on six hits, struck out four and walked only two.
Offensively, the Wildcats pounded out 12 base hits, led by Joey Rickard's three knocks and two runs scored. Alex Mejia drove in three runs, while Bobby Brown and Robert Refsnyder each added two runs batted in apiece.
The Wildcats scored a run without a hit in the top of the first. Rickard was hit by a pitch and stole second to lead off the game, and Johnny Fieldreached on an error. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, and Mejia drove in Rickard with the game's first run on a groundout.
Holding the narrow 1-0 lead, the Wildcats opened up the game in the top of the sixth. With two down, Refsnyder drew a walk and Seth Mejias-Brean reached on an infield single past the pitcher. Brown then roped a triple down the right field line to drive in both runners and give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
Arizona added four insurance runs an inning later. Joseph Maggi and Rickard led off with singles, then reliever Matt Munson walked Field to load the bases. Mejia then drove in a run with a high-chop groundout, before the Trojans elected to intentionally walk Refsnyder to re-load the bases.
Mejias-Brean then bounced into a fielder's choice that forced out the second out of the inning at home plate. Brown followed with a sharp grounder that first baseman Matt Foat was unable to handle and the ball scooted into right field.
Two runs scored on the play that was ruled an error, and the Wildcats stole a fourth run when Brown drew a throw to second on a steal attempt and Mejias-Brean beat a relay throw to home plate for a 7-0 lead.
The Trojans ended Heyer's shutout bid after loading the bases with three consecutive singles to open the bottom of the seventh. After a popout, Andres Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Dante Flores and cut the Wildcat lead to 7-1.
The Wildcats were back at it in the eighth. With two on and two out, Mejia pulled a run-scoring double down the left field line and Refsnyder followed with a two-run double to right field to extend the lead to 10-1.
In the ninth, Brown walked and Riley Moore singled. Rickard later delivered a two-out RBI single that set the score at its final, 11-1.
Left-handed reliever Augey Bill pitched a clean ninth inning with a strikeout to finish the game for the Wildcats.
Ben Mount (L, 1-7) suffered the loss for the Trojans, who used four pitchers in the game. Mount was charged for three runs - two earned - on six hits and two walks. The bullpen surrendered the other seven runs - four earned.
The two teams continue the three-game set on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. PDT at Dedeaux Field.