Arizona pounded out 23 hits and secured a spot in the Tucson Regional championship game with a 16-4 victory over Louisville on Saturday night before a crowd of 4,007 at Hi Corbett Field.
June 3, 2012
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Arizona 16, Louisville 4 (Box Score) | Photo Gallery
TUCSON, Ariz. - For the second night in a row, an early deficit did not faze the Arizona baseball team, which pounded out 23 base hits en route to a 16-4 victory over Louisville before a crowd of 4,007 on Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field. The win secures the Wildcats a spot in the Tucson Regional championship game scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sunday night.
The Wildcats, the designated visiting team, collected at least 20 hits in consecutive games for the first time since 2007, led by Pac-12 Player of the Year Alex Mejia's five-hit, four-run and three-RBI night at the plate. In all, nine players scored a run and eight added at least one run batted in.
Arizona (40-17) faced an early 1-0 deficit, before surging ahead with a five-run third inning and adding two runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth for an 8-1 advantage.
Louisville (40-21) chipped away with two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth, before the Wildcats all but put the game away with a seven-run explosion in the seventh inning, capped by Brandon Dixon's first career home run - a three run shot to left field.
Starter Konner Wade gave up a run in the bottom of the first to the Cardinals, but the damage could have been much worse. Stewart Ijames delivered an RBI single and Alex Chittenden was hit by a pitch to load the bases with just one out. Ty Young was then tagged out trying to score on a potential wild pitch that didn't roll far enough away from catcher Riley Moore.
Wade's second walk of the inning re-loaded the bases, but the right-hander was able to get a foul-out to end the inning to keep the score 1-0 in favor of the Cardinals.
The Wildcats erased the deficit and claimed a comfortable lead in the third inning. Starter Jared Ruxner hit Moore with a pitch to open the third, then after a sacrifice bunt, the Wildcats registered six consecutive base hits to chase the right-hander.
Ruxner (8-3) was charged for the loss after giving up five runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings, though the Cardinals' bullpen struggled to quiet the Wildcats' bats.
Arizona scored two runs on five hits in 2.2 innings against Dace Kime. Nick Burgi surrendered six runs - five earned - on seven hits in 1.2 innings, and lefty Cody Ege was charged with three earned runs on four hits over the final 2.1 innings.
Wade, meanwhile, settled down. The right-hander shut out the Cardinals from the second through the fifth innings, then yielded a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth. The right-hander worked into the ninth inning, before giving up consecutive singles to begin the final frame.
Wade, who improved to 8-3 on the season, tallied five strikeouts and walked two, while giving up four runs - two earned - on 10 hits. Tyler Crawford gave up a hit and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch in the ninth, but otherwise struck out two and was not charged for a run allowed in one inning of work.
Mejia's 5-for-5 night at the plate highlighted five Wildcats that finished with three or more hits. Seth Mejias-Brean knocked out four hits and drove in two runs, while Joey Rickard, Johnny Field and Bobby Brown had three hits apiece.
Arizona will play the winner of the Louisville-Missouri elimination game scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sunday. The first championship game will begin at 8 p.m. with the Wildcats sending right-hander James Farris to the mound.