Baseball Rallies For Four Runs In The Eighth To Down Washington 5-2
May 19, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz.- All-American candidate Shelley Duncan's two-out, two run single in the eighth inning rallied Arizona to a 5-2 victory over Washington at Sancet Field, Saturday evening. The Wildcats kept their postseason hopes alive with clutch hitting in the late innings and a third straight outstanding pitching performance by freshman Sean Rierson. The Cats and Oregon State remain tied for fifth in the Pac-10 standings heading into the final day of competition. The Beavers will battle USC on Sunday and the Cats will close out their three game set against the Huskies.
It appeared as if the Arizona offense would have little trouble against Husky ace Shawn Kohn as the first three batters in the bottom of the first reached base. Brad Hassey and Marc Kaiser led off with a pair of singles to start the game and All-American candidate Ernie Durazo followed with his Pac-10 leading 22nd double of the season to plate Hassey for a 1-0 Arizona lead. But what appeared to be an offensive onslaught quickly turned into a hitting drought.
Kohn dominated the Arizona hitters from Ernie Durazo's first inning double until the eighth, retiring a string of 18 straight Wildcats in the process. But as effective as the Husky right-hander was, Rierson held Arizona's 1-0 advantage until the sixth. All told the first-year starter worked a career-high-tying eight innings while surrendering just two runs. He struck out five and walked only one to earn his seventh win of the season.
The Huskies paired runs on three hits in the top of the sixth to take what appeared to be a insurmountable 2-1 lead with Kohn on the hill. But the Wildcats found enough fuel for a two-out rally in the eighth to keep their postseason hopes alive.
After pinch hitters Chris Cunningham and Justyn St. Clair popped out for the first two outs of the inning, Hassey lined a single to left for Arizona's first hit since Durazo's double in the first. Marc Kaiser, subbing for an injured Erik Torres, followed with a single of his own to center, advancing Hassey to second. Durazo walked on four straight pitches to load the bases for Duncan. The junior slugger drilled the first offering from Kohn to leftfield, scoring Hassey and Kaiser. Tyler Shepple replaced Kohn, but by then it was too little, too late. Shepple walked Matt Abram to load the bases again and Arizona's freshman sensation Brian Anderson made him pay. The Freshman All-American candidate singled up the middle to plate Durazo and Duncan improving Arizona's lead to 5-2.
Sitting on the lead, the Arizona coaching staff called on Anderson to close out the win on the mound in the ninth. The first-year Wildcat responded by striking out the first two hitters he faced and inducing a game ending pop to short. The inning of work earned him his third save of the season.
Arizona will look for the much needed sweep on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. A pre-game ceremony will be held to honor Arizona's seven seniors who will be playing in their final game at Sancet Field.
Notes: Freshman Sean Rierson is 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his last three starts (at # 20 Arizona State, at #7 Stanford and vs. Washington). He has thrown 22.2 innings in that span, an average of 7.2 innings per game. He has struck out nine while walking only two batters.