Baseball Avoids Series Sweep With 9-5 Win Over UCLA

April 10, 2004

TUCSON, Ariz.- Sophomore pitcher John Meloan carried over his success from an exhibition appearance against the Tucson Sidewinders earlier in the week and the Arizona offense rapped out 13 hits as the Wildcats (16-14-1, 5-4 Pac-10) avoided a three-game series sweep by UCLA (18-14, 3-3 Pac-10) with a 9-5 win at Kindall Field on Saturday.

Meloan (2-0), who finished with three strikeouts in two relief innings in Tuesday's exhibition game against the Sidewinders, retired the last 12 UCLA batters he faced in order in his first start of the season to earn his second win. The right-hander finished with a career-high eight strikeouts while giving up just three runs, two earned, on six hits against the Bruins. The solid outing helped Arizona avoid its first conference series sweep of the year.

The UA offense staked Meloan to an early lead, scoring four two-out runs in the first off of UCLA starter Wes Whisler. Junior Richard Mercado got things started for the Wildcats with a single through the left side of the infield to extend his season-high hitting streak to nine straight games.

Sophomore Jordan Brown followed in the next at bat with a flair double down the left field line, advancing Mercado to third. Whisler then walked freshman Jason Donald to load the bases for sophomore Brad Boyer.

Boyer, who drew the starting assignment at third after Moises Duran was a late scratch due to sickness, hit a sharp grounder to the right hand side of shortstop Ryan McCarthy. The Bruin infielder made an attempt on the ball, but it careened off his backhand stab into left center for a double. The hit scored Mercado and Brown and moved Donald to third.

Sophomore Trevor Crowe followed with a two-run single to plate Donald and Boyer and hand Meloan and the Wildcats a 4-0 lead.

After UCLA cut the UA advantage to 4-3 with a run in the second and two in the third, Arizona extended its lead in the bottom of third on an unusual come backer to Whisler by Donald.

With the bases empty and two outs, the Wildcat freshman drilled a one-hopper back to the Bruin southpaw. Whisler knocked the ball down, turned and tried to make a play but saw his throw sail over the head of first baseman Brett McMillan and down to the outfield wall into the right field corner.

Donald scampered around the bases after the errant throw and scored easily on the infield single and three-base error.

The Wildcats added two runs apiece in the sixth and seventh inning for a 9-3 lead and withstood a two-run UCLA rally in the ninth to avoid the sweep.

Whisler (1-3), who led UCLA to a come-from-behind win with a two-run single in the ninth on Thursday, was charged with the loss after giving up seven runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one.

Offensively, five of nine Arizona starters finished with a pair of hits in the game. Boyer led all players with three RBI, while Donald and Brown each scored twice.

Arizona will take Sunday off for Easter before beginning a busy week in which it will play six games in seven days. The Wildcats will head to Tempe on Monday for a non-conference game against Arizona State before traveling to Las Vegas for two against UNLV. Arizona will then return home for a three-game series against UT Pan American on Friday-Sunday to close out the week.

Monday's game against ASU and the weekend series against Pan Am will be broadcast live by KNST 790 AM. The UNLV games will not be broadcast on the radio.

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