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Baseball can't finish sweep of Beavers

By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, April 5, 2004
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The Arizona baseball team keeps narrowly missing out on sweeps.

The Wildcats settled for two of three against Oregon State this weekend when they lost 6-5 yesterday in Corvallis, Ore.

The Wildcats (15-12-1, 4-2 Pacific 10 Conference) won the first two games of the weekend with a 14-7 win Saturday and a 4-3 victory Friday.

"Overall it was a good weekend, but it could have been great," junior catcher Richard Mercado said.

Mercado led the offensive charge for Arizona over the weekend, going 5-for-8, including his first two home runs of the season.

Freshman shortstop Jason Donald continued his offensive success, collecting two hits in each game of the series and belting two homers of his own.

Yesterday's loss snapped a three-game Wildcat winning streak, but the series win gave them their second in as many tries in the conference.

"We played hard enough to get the sweep, but we just couldn't come up with the big hit when we needed it," Mercado said.

Arizona entered the eighth inning trailing 5-3 yesterday when it rallied to tie the game on a two-run pinch-hit double by senior third baseman Moises Duran. But the Beavers (18-9, 3-3) plated a run in the bottom of the ninth to avoid the sweep.

UA junior closer Derek Rodriguez pitched a season-high 1 2/3 innings, picking up his first loss of the year.

Junior starting pitcher Luis Cortez continued to struggle. He gave up three runs on three hits and hit four batters in just 3 1/3 innings.

On Saturday, the Wildcats took advantage of four Oregon State errors en route to a 14-7 win. Arizona scored eight unearned runs in the victory.

The Wildcats trailed 6-3 after five innings, but scored three runs on two Beaver errors to tie the game in the sixth. Arizona took the lead for good in the seventh with an infield single by sophomore outfielder Trevor Crowe. The Wildcats scored six more runs in the final two innings.

Freshman Mark Melancon (4-2) picked up a team-high-tying fourth win of the year after relieving junior starter Kevin Guyette (4-3).

Friday's contest was a different story as Arizona squeaked by the Beavers 4-3 to open the series. The Wildcats used a season-high four double plays and a late, two-run home run from Donald to squeak out the win.

Junior Koley Kolberg (4-2) picked up the win for the Wildcats. Kolberg went eight innings and gave up three runs on three hits.

Rodriquez was brought on for the ninth and picked up his fifth save of the year.

"We're in a pretty good spot (in the Pac-10) right now," Mercado said. "Everyone's pretty excited about how we've been playing, and we're starting to get into a groove."

Arizona plays tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in an exhibition game against the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders at Tucson Electric Park.

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