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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball suffers disappointing weekend

The weekend proved to be a missed opportunity for the No. 19 Arizona baseball team, as it dropped two of three games to Pacific 10 Conference’s last place USC in Los Angeles.

The Wildcats (29-13, 9-9 Pac-10) had the chance to get back on the right track on the road after losing a series to No. 5 UCLA last weekend, but the Trojans’ pitching staff shut down the Arizona offense when it counted. The wins proved to be USC’s first conference series this season.

Head coach Andy Lopez and players were adamant about not overlooking USC coming into the weekend, and Arizona was met with what was expected to be a hungry Trojan team.

After dropping the first two games in the series, it looked like the Wildcats were going to concede a sweep as they fell behind 6-0 on Sunday.

But Arizona showed some fight by rallying to steal a 9-7 win from the Trojans (19-24, 5-13).

Sophomore Bryce Bandilla shone again on the mound in the late innings for the Wildcats, allowing his teammates to mount a comeback.

Bandilla struck out five in just 3 1/3 innings of work, with his only blemish coming on a solo home run in the ninth inning.

Trailing 6-3 in the top of the eighth inning, the Wildcats sent 10 hitters to the plate to take a 9-6 lead.

Junior Josh Garcia hit a clutch two-run single up the middle to tie the game and later scored to take the lead on a double by sophomore Jett Bandy, as Garcia caused a clean collision at home plate by sliding into USC’s catcher to knock the ball loose.

Freshman Kurt Heyer (6-1), a Southern California native, was hit with his first loss of the year on Friday night, despite allowing just two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

His USC counterpart, Andrew Tiggs, was more effective though, as he shut down Arizona for just three hits in 7 innings in the 6-0 win.

The Wildcats’ defense didn’t help Heyer or the bullpen either, committing three errors that resulted in three unearned runs.

Saturday’s game began with more promise for the Wildcats as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, highlighted by freshman Cole Frenzel’s RBI single that scored sophomore Steve Selsky.

But USC responded quickly off sophomore Kyle Simon, scoring six unanswered runs over the next three innings.

Simon, also a Los Angeles native, wasn’t helped by his defense either. A costly error by freshman shortstop Alex Mejia yielded four unearned runs in an otherwise solid 6 2/3 innings of work for Simon.

Arizona didn’t pack it in though, rallying to cut the Trojan lead to 6-5 in the seventh inning, thanks to run-scoring singles by freshman Joey Rickard and Bandy, who is currently playing with a fractured toe.

The comeback would fall short in a 7-5 loss, as USC’s bullpen kept the Wildcats at five until the final out.

Arizona missed its chance to move up in the Pac-10 standings, as it remains just mediocre in conference play.

The Wildcats will faced increased pressure down the stretch now, as they will have to prove to the NCAA selection committee that they are worthy of postseason play.

They will take on No. 2 ASU in Tempe on Tuesday in a one-game matchup, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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