Baseball Takes Advantage Of Four Beaver Errors In 14-7 Win

April 3, 2004

CORVALLIS, Ore.- The Arizona baseball team scored eight unearned runs off of four Oregon State fielding errors in a 14-7 win over the Beavers on Coleman Field in Corvallis on Saturday.

The win improved the Wildcats to 15-11-1 for the year and to 4-1 in the Pac-10, the best start to a conference season for a UA team since the 1997 squad went 5-0 to open the Pac-10 schedule. Oregon State fell to 17-9 overall and 2-3 in the conference with the loss.

Trailing 6-3 through five innings, the Wildcats scored three unearned runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game on pair of fielding errors by the Beavers.

OSU's shortstop Tony Calderon dropped what would have been an inning-ending fly ball to shallow left by Pat Reilly to start the UA rally. The two-out fielding miscue allowed sophomore Jordan Brown to score from second to cut the Beaver lead to 6-4.

A walk to catcher Richard Mercado in the next at bat was followed by the second Beaver error in the inning. Second baseman Chris Kunda let pinch hitter Jeff Van Houten's grounder up the middle slide under his glove, allowing Reilly to score from second and Mercado to advance up a base.

Junior John Hardy made the Beavers pay for the two errors with a solid single to center to drive in pinch runner Nick Hundley and tie the game at 6-6.

The Wildcats took a one-run lead an inning later when Trevor Crowe drove home Bill Rhinehart with an infield single to third base. Rhinehart, who finished the day 3 for 6 with a RBI and two runs scored, led off the inning with a double over the head of center fielder Aaron Mathews.

Arizona added two more runs in the top of the eighth on a run-scoring single by Jason Donald and a RBI double by Rhinehart for a 9-6 lead before the Beaver gloves failed yet again.

With two out and the bases loaded, first baseman Andy Jenkins dropped Crowe's lazy pop up along the foul line for a two-run error and another Arizona inning extension.

The Wildcats took advantage, scoring three more runs on a fielding error by Kunda on a stolen base attempt that allowed Moises Duran to score from third and a two-run single by Van Houten.

The four OSU errors along with 16 Arizona hits handed freshman Mark Melancon (4-2) his team-high tying fourth win of the season. The right-hander worked 4 1/3 innings in relief of starter Kevin Guyette, giving up one run on two hits while striking out four and walking one.

Nathan Pendley (0-1) was charged with the loss after giving up a run on two hits in one inning of work. Beleaguered by the four errors, the Beavers were forced to use eight pitchers in the losing effort.

The Wildcats opened the scoring early in the game on Donald's leadoff home run in the first at bat of the contest. The solo shot to left field on the second pitch by OSU starter Andy Baldwin was Donald's team-leading seventh of the year and his second against OSU.

Hardy and Mercado added solo home runs off of Baldwin in the top of the third and fifth innings, respectively. Hardy finished the game 4 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Mercado, who finished 1 for 1 and with his second homer of the series, was lifted for Hundley in the sixth after rolling his ankle at second base.

The Wildcats, who took the series victory with Saturday's win, will go for the three-game sweep on Sunday. Right-hander Luis Cortez is expected to be the UA starter in the 1 pm series finale.

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