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Ace Meloan takes home Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Junior pitcher John Meloan won his second Pacific 10 Conference Pitcher of the Week award for his performance against defending national champion Cal State Fullerton Friday. Meloan shut out the Titans in seven-plus innings.
By Michael Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
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Junior ace John Meloan earned Pacific 10 Conference Pitcher of the Week honors after shutting out No. 1 Cal State Fullerton 1-0 Friday on the road.

The right-hander pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings for the No. 13 Wildcats, holding the Titans to four hits while walking four and striking out five in out-dueling Fullerton ace Ricky Romero, a likely top-10 pick in June's amateur draft, according to Arizona head coach Andy Lopez.

"He deserved it," Lopez said. "That was a great performance. John was outstanding that night. It was a fun game to be a part of with two good programs and two very good pitchers."

This marks the second consecutive week an Arizona pitcher took home the award and the 31st time overall.

Last week sophomore closer Mark Melancon won the award after appearing in all three games March 11-13 against Mississippi State. He pitched three perfect innings, recording his third save while striking out seven of the 10 batters faced.

Melancon (2.81 ERA, four saves) said it's sweet to have Arizona pitchers take home the award on consecutive weeks.

"Meloan pitched a tremendous game on Friday night, and you don't see a 1-0 game too often with metal bats," Melancon said. "It was a good game to watch."

Meloan (4-0, 2.97) also shared Collegiate Baseball magazine's national player of the week award with ASU pitcher Erik Averill Feb. 7. Meloan held New Mexico hitless for 7 2/3 innings Feb. 4, finishing with a one-hitter and a career-high 12 strikeouts.

Meloan has not been defeated since May 2003 and has won 14 consecutive decisions.

UA still searching for third starter

Freshman David Coulon makes his case for the third starter spot this Saturday in the Pac-10 series opener against Washington, as Coulon (2-0, 4.88), senior Sean Rierson (2-2, 7.71) and freshman Eric Berger (2-0, 6.75) have all failed to nail down the spot.

The last two weeks have not been kind to the trio.

Against Mississippi State Feb. 13, Rierson gave up eight runs, seven earned, in one inning and Coulon allowed five runs in an inning as the Wildcats dug themselves into a 12-2 second-inning hole which they never recovered from in a 13-12 defeat.

Berger allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings in Sunday's 17-15 loss to Fullerton. Coulon followed with two runs in one inning before Rierson allowed one run in two frames.

"We've got some options, we just haven't had anybody jump up and say, 'OK, that's mine,'" Lopez said. "We'll give Coulon another crack at it and hopefully he'll get a good performance under his belt and build off of that and we'll get better then."

Meloan and junior Kevin Guyette (4-2, 3.83) have been effective in the first two rotation spots and have not missed a start.

Wildcats fall in rankings

After losing two of three against Fullerton and splitting a home series with UNLV, the Wildcats dropped four spots in the Baseball America poll from No. 9 to No. 13.

The Collegiate Baseball poll dropped Arizona from No. 13 to No. 16. The Wildcats slid from No. 10 to No. 13 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Poll.

In all three polls, Pac-10 preseason favorite Stanford is the only conference rival to boast a higher ranking than Arizona, which was picked to finish tied for third with ASU in the Pac-10 preseason poll behind Stanford and Washington.

Lopez jokes about walk-off defeat

Lopez was ejected from Sunday's 17-15 loss to Fullerton in the sixth inning, but by then he had seen enough of the team's worst pitching performance of the season. The Wildcats gave up 17 runs and 19 hits, their highest totals of the season.

Although his team lost on a two-out two-run walk-off home run off the bat of Fullerton's Danny Dorn, Lopez joked about the reason his team fell.

"We should have gone for two after the second touchdown," he said.

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