Baseball Falls In The Ninth 9-8 To USC

May 29, 2004

LOS ANGELES - USC burned through six different Arizona pitchers to score eight runs over the final three innings to rally for a 9-8 win over the Wildcats at Dedeaux Field on Saturday. The loss dropped UA to 29-24-1 overall and a game under .500 in conference play at 11-12 with one game remaining in the regular season.

After Arizona had rallied to tie the game at 8-8 with three runs on two hits and pair of sacrifice flies in the top of the ninth, USC's Joey Metropoulos hit a one-double off the wall in left field in the bottom half of the inning to score Blake Sharpe from second to cap off the comeback win.

Sharpe, who had reached base on a fielder's choice ground ball, had advanced to second on a walk by Clement before coming home on Metropoulos' game-winning hit. Metropoulos finished the game 3 for 5 with two RBI, his ninth home run of the year and two runs scored.

Leading 4-1 after six and half innings, the Wildcat pitching staff ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh when UA starter Kevin Guyette gave up back-to-back hits to Jeff Clement and Metropoulos to lead off the inning before walking Jon Brewster to load the bases with no outs.

Freshman Mark Melancon came on to relieve Guyette and gave up a pair of run-scoring walks and a RBI-single through the left side of the infield to surrender the lead and tie the game at 4-4 without retiring a batter in the inning.

Senior Scott Burns replaced the ineffective Melancon on the mound with the bases still loaded and no outs and gave up a fly ball to deep right field to Cyle Hankard for a sacrifice foul out and a one-run USC lead.

Pinch hitter Dale Legaspi followed with a RBI single to center to extend the Trojan advantage to 6-4 before a missed call on a squeeze play handed the Wildcats the second out in the inning. A walk to Sharpe placed runners on first and second and ended Burns' day on the mound in favor of lefty Brad Mills.

The freshman southpaw surrendered a run-scoring single to Clement for a 7-4 USC lead before giving way to Derek Rodriguez who finally got Arizona out of the inning on combacker in Metropoulos' second at bat in the frame. The final tally of the USC half of the inning came to six runs off of five hits and three walks, no Arizona errors and two runners left on base.

Nick Hundley hit his first home run of the season in the top of the eighth to cut the Trojan advantage to 7-5, but USC countered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning on two-out bunt single by Daniel Perales to push the lead back to three.

A Jordan Brown RBI-double and sacrifice flies by Moises Duran and Jason Donald tied the game for Arizona in the ninth before Metropoulos ended it with his double.

The Wildcat offense, which finished the game with five doubles and two home runs, had numerous opportunities to add to its early 4-1 lead, but stranded seven runners on base over the first six and half innings including four in scoring position.

The loss wasted a fine effort by Guyette who had limited USC to just two hits over the first six innings before giving up an infield single to Clement and a bloop double to Metropoulos to start off the disastrous seventh.

Rodriugez (1-3) was charged with the loss after giving up two runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings on the mound. USC's Clayton Wentworth (6-2) was the beneficiary of Metropoulos' double, as he picked up the win despite giving up four runs on three hits in two innings of relief.

Arizona will likely need a victory in its regular season finale against USC on Sunday for a chance to advance to the postseason. Sophomore John Meloan will take his 7-0 record to the mound as the starter in the 12 pm game. All the action can be heard live on the radio on KNST 790 AM.

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