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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

’Cats give up runs late in defeat to USC

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Emily Gauci

Arizona baseball infielder Scott Kingery (25) rounds second base after hitting the sole home run of Arizona’s 4-1 loss to USC at Hi Corbett Field on Thursday night. Kingery and the Wildcats had their win streak snapped against the Trojans.

No. 9 USC beat No. 22 Arizona baseball 4-1 on Thursday night to snap the Wildcats’ six-game win streak in the opening of their three-game series.  

The Trojans (23-6, 5-2 Pac-12 Conference) limited the Wildcats (22-7, 7-3) to four hits after Arizona had seven, 11 and 14 hits in its last three games.

“They did what we did not do [Thursday] night,” Arizona coach Andy Lopez said. “They put three really good at bats together, whack, whack, whack, and that loses us the game.”

USC struck first, scoring on a double play in the first inning. However, Arizona tied it up off a solo home run by second baseman Scott Kingery in the third inning.

The Wildcats threatened to take the lead in the sixth inning on a squeeze play, but first baseman J.J. Matijevic was thrown out at home. Arizona loaded the bases on an infield single by Kingery, but shortstop Kevin Newman flied out with two down.

Cody Hamlin (4-1) got the start and suffered his first loss of the season. He pitched six-plus innings; gave up seven hits, four earned runs and two walks; and struck out four.

Hamlin said he was pitching well until he stopped hitting his spots.

Brent Wheatley (2-1) started for USC and went 5.2 innings, giving up two hits, one earned run and eight walks and striking out two.

“You have to take advantage of those situations, and obviously, we didn’t,” Lopez said about USC’s walks.

Arizona pitcher Cody Moffett relieved Hamlin with a Trojan on first and no outs in the seventh, but only lasted one hitter, whom he hit.

UA pitcher Nathan Bannister relieved Moffett and quieted the Trojan rally by giving up one hit in 2.1 innings.

USC retook the lead on an RBI triple by second baseman Dante Flores in the next half inning. Third baseman Blake Lacey drove Flores in during the next at bat.

“I thought he was good except for that one inning,” Lopez said about Hamlin. “It was whack, whack, whack. Up until that inning, his pitch count was down, he was doing a good job, it was a 1-1 game.”

Lacey stole second and then Moffett hit USC designated hitter David Oppenheim.

Bannister struck out the next batter after a bunt single, and the Wildcats almost got out of the inning on a double play, but Trojan left fielder Bobby Stahel was safe at first and the Trojans scored their fourth run.

Arizona center fielder Justin Behnke led off the ninth with a double, but the Wildcats were unable to advance him after lining out, popping out and lining out again to end the game.

USC has now won four straight against Arizona.

The Wildcats swept back-to-back Pac-12 series during their winning streak, including a road trip to Stanford, for the first time since 2005.

“We weren’t concentrating on it too much,” Hamlin said about the win streak. “We knew we’re a hot ball club, but we were trying to keep that rolling.”

The Wildcats continue the early series tonight at 6 p.m. and it will be broadcast on Pac-12.com.

Tonight’s probable starters are leftie Kyle Twomey (4-1, 1.87 ERA) for USC and right-hander Robby Medel (1-2, 3.89 ERA) for the UA.

“That’s what a Friday night game in the Pac is probably going to be like,” Lopez said. “It’s who gets it done. If we can get it done in the sixth, maybe we’re the ones that are here talking about, ‘ooh, what a nice night.’ So we’ll get back to work tomorrow.”

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Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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