By Justin St. Germain
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday March 24, 2003
After a dramatic Saturday victory, the Wildcat baseball team came into yesterday's series finale against Southern California with a chance to do something it hadn't done in 10 years ÷ claim a series victory over the Trojans.
In the rubber match, Arizona (21-8, 2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) did just that, riding a seven-run explosion in the sixth inning to turn a tight game into a 16-3 shellacking of USC (13-13, 1-2).
The Wildcat players said they savored the long-awaited victory over one of college baseball's most storied programs.
"USC's always been so good ÷ it's nice to finally get on top of those guys for once," junior Brian Anderson said. "I haven't been here 10 years, but this is my third year and we hadn't beat 'em, so it's nice."
Anderson hit his team-leading eighth home run, a solo shot, to kick off the scoring in the sixth. Fellow junior Moises Duran blasted a three-run hit later in the inning, and freshman Jordan Brown chipped in with a two-run homer of his own.
Arizona junior starter Richie Gardner (6-0) remained undefeated with eight innings of two-run ball, scattering seven hits and striking out five. USC's Josh Rummonds (2-1) took the loss despite allowing only three of UA's 16 runs.
"Richie Gardner really set the tempo, and then everything else fell into place," head coach Andy Lopez said. "He's the key ingredient in (yesterday's) ballgame."
The freshman duo of Brad Boyer and Nick Hundley batted 4-for-5 and 4-for-4, respectively.
But Boyer's biggest hit of the weekend came on Saturday, when he drove in Dallas Haught with a ninth-inning single to win the second game of the series in dramatic fashion. The one-out single to right gave the Wildcats a 6-5 victory and a chance to clinch the series yesterday.
Senior Brian Pemble (1-0) notched his first victory of the year with one inning of relief.
The series started on a sour note for Arizona on Friday, when the Trojan pitching staff dominated the UA lineup, allowing only three hits while roughing up UA starter Sean Rierson (4-1) for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings en route to a 12-2 Wildcat loss.
Anderson accounted for one of those hits, a triple, to set a new Wildcat record for a single-season hitting streak at 26 consecutive games.
The Wildcats will get a welcome four-game respite before traveling to UCLA for a weekend road series beginning Friday. Yesterday's game was UA's 14th in 17 days.
"We need (the break) ÷ our bats are a little tired," Lopez said. "It's a young group, and we put them through a pretty good stretch."