Ninth Inning Pitching Heroics Save 3-1 Win over ASU
April 28, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz.- For the second consecutive week freshman Brian Anderson stepped to the mound and pitched the Arizona baseball team (29-20, 8-9 Pac-10) to victory. The first-year right hander entered Saturday's pivotal game against Arizona State (29-15-1, 8-9 Pac-10) with a tenuous 3-1 lead in the ninth inning. To make matters even more difficult, Anderson, who entered the game having thrown a total of four innings all season, faced a bases loaded, no-out situation when he toed the rubber.
After retiring the final two batters in the bottom of the eighth, reliever Daryl DeSalvo saw his good fortune turn to hard luck. Shortstop Brad Hassey, who has been spectacular in the field all weekend, misplayed Devil Rod Allen's grounder to start the ninth. After a wild pitch and back-to-back walks loaded the bases, Arizona pitching coach Bill Kinneberg turned the game over to Anderson. Moving in from his centerfield position, Anderson struck out Brooks Conrad for the first out of inning, induced Mike Lopez to fly out to right field and got Steve Garrabrants to ground out to Erik Torres for the final out of the game. The effort earned Anderson his first career save.
Almost lost in the excitement was an outstanding pitching performance from Anderson's classmate Sean Rierson (5-4). The freshman starter turned in the finest outing in his young Wildcat career. Working a total of 7.1 innings, he struck out three while walking one and surrendering only seven hits for his fifth win of the season. Rierson's lone blemish on the afternoon was Mike Lopez's fifth inning solo home run that cut Arizona's lead to 3-1.
Offensively, Shelley Duncan lofted his 21st home run of the season, a two run shot in the first that scored Ernie Durazo from second. The home run was the 17th of Duncan's career against a Pac-10 opponent, tying him with Dave Shermet for first on the school's all-time list.
Duncan was also responsible for Arizona's third run, as Erik Torres scored from third on Duncan's double play ball in the fifth. Durazo and catcher Ken Riley were the lone Wildcats to pair hits on the afternoon. Durazo also tallied his Pac-10 leading 19th double in the win.
The two rival schools are now tied in the conference standings at 8-9 and will play the rubber match of the three game set at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Southern Arizona fans came see the game live on 58 KWBA, cable channel 8, or listen to Brian Jeffries and Ryan Radtke call the game on 790 AM KNST.