By Michael Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, March 21, 2005
After splitting a pair of pitchers' duels, No. 9 Arizona and No. 2 Cal State Fullerton brought the heavy lumber yesterday.
The Wildcats (16-9) lost the rubber match of the three-game series 17-15 at Fullerton yesterday when Danny Dorn hit a two-out two-run homerun to win the game.
Fullerton (16-4) took two of three, winning Saturday's game 7-1 after being shut out by Arizona 1-0 Friday evening.
"We played inconsistent baseball at best, and that's why we only have one win," coach Andy Lopez said. "We won on Friday because we pitched very well and got a clutch hit. Saturday we didn't hit, and Sunday we didn't pitch."
The Wildcats held a 15-14 lead in the bottom of the ninth over the defending national champions with sophomore closer Mark Melancon on the hill. After allowing two singles, Brett Pill grounded out to bring in the tying run and set up Dorn's dramatics.
"It's always tough," Lopez said. "Any kind of a loss is a tough one. We had our opportunities, and obviously we didn't do a very good job of pitching tonight, but it works both ways. Those are great ones to win and tough ones to lose."
With the score tied 12-12 in the seventh, junior catcher Nick Hundley doubled home senior outfielder Jeff Van Houten and junior first baseman Jordan Brown to put Arizona on top until the game's final batter.
At that point the Wildcats had scored eight unanswered runs after a six-run fifth tied the score at 12. A game-tying three-run homer by Brown, his team-leading seventh of the season, and a two-run double by third baseman Brad Boyer highlighted the attack.
All nine Arizona batters recorded a hit, with six players going for multi-hit games as the Wildcats' 16 hits bested the 10 they got the first two games combined.
After their dismal pitching performance, Arizona continues its search for a consistent Sunday starter. Freshman Eric Berger allowed six runs in 1.1 innings.
Freshman David Coulon and senior Sean Rierson, the other candidates for the Sunday spot, combined to give up 12 runs, 11 earned, in two innings during last Sunday's 13-12 loss to Mississippi State. Coulon gave up two in one inning, and Rierson one in two innings yesterday.
"I'm concerned, but that will work itself out," Lopez said. "Someone has to pitch on Sundays."
The Wildcats failed to capitalize on two bases loaded opportunities on their way to a 7-1 defeat Saturday.
Trailing 5-1 with out-one in the seventh, Boyer grounded into a double play to end the bases loaded threat. Down 1-0 in the fourth sophomore shortstop Jason Donald also fell victim to the double play ball, leaving three men on base.
After junior center fielder Chris Frey tied the game at one with a solo home run, the Titans plated three runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Blake Davis and a two-run single by Justin Turner to take control of the game.
Junior Kevin Guyette (4-2) allowed five runs on ten hits in 6.1 innings.
Ryan Schreppel held the Wildcat bats quiet, allowing only four hits in 6.1 innings, a total which held up for an Arizona season team-low.
Junior John Meloan showed why he is the ace Friday by shutting out the Titans over 7.2 innings in a 1-0 victory.
Meloan (4-0) gave up four hits and four walks while striking out five. Melancon shut the door in the last 1.1 innings for his fourth save of the season.
With the win Meloan won his 14th straight decision, a streak spanning back to May 2003.
Preseason All-American Ricky Romero went pitch for pitch with Meloan until the seventh inning when Arizona scored the only run of the game.
Freshman designated hitter Jason Seefeld came up with the game-winning hit in only the second start of his career, an RBI single with two outs in the seventh to score Brown. He doubled to start the inning but stayed there until the Seefeld hit.
Van Houten lost his 28-game hitting streak after going 0-for-4 in the contest. He remains tied with Ernie Durazo, who set it during the 2000-2001 seasons and Jack Daugherty, who did it in 1981-1982.
After also going hitless Saturday, Van Houten scraped out only one hit in the series.
Before the Fullerton series, the Wildcats went 3-2 to finish off a 12-game home stand during spring break.
Arizona took two of three from Mississippi State, falling 13-12 after nearly coming back from a 12-2 second inning deficit, before splitting a two-game series with UNLV.
Melancon won Pacific-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week for his performance against Mississippi State. He appeared in all three games, pitching three perfect innings while striking out seven of 10 batters faced and recording his third save of the season.