Comeback Bid Falls Short
April 4, 2009
Final Box Score | Arizona Overall Stats
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona baseball team fell behind 10-0 in the first inning, but rallied with 14 runs on 22 hits only to see an improbable comeback bid fall short as it dropped Saturday’s game against Southern California, 15-14, at Jerry Kindall Field.
One night after scoring five runs over the final to innings to steal the series opener, the Wildcats tried to mount one of the largest comebacks in program history. But Trojan reliever Daniel Cooper, despite allowing one run and putting the game-tying and game-winning runs on base, closed the door to preserve a wire-to-wire victory for the visitors.
Arizona (13-13, 2-6 Pac-10) posted five runs in the second inning to cut the USC lead in half, but the Trojans re-extended their lead to 13-6 in the fifth inning.
Paced by Hunter Pace’s first career homerun – a grand slam – the Wildcats answered with five more runs in the home half of the fifth to cut the deficit to 13-11.
USC (12-14, 3-5 Pac-10) quickly answered with two more runs an inning, but the Wildcats chipped away with two runs in the eighth and one final run in the ninth.
Bryce Ortega doubled to lead off the inning and scored on an RBI single by Pace. The one-two punch in the Wildcat lineup combined to hit 8-for-11, score four runs and drive in five on the night.
However, the Wildcats could not advance Pace past second in the ninth inning as Cooper picked up his second save of the season as he got Bobby Coyle to fly out to end the game.
Matt Veltmann struggled in the first inning, suffering his fourth loss of the season. But Veltmann, who allowed nine runs, did not get much help from his defense.
After a lead off walk, UA third baseman Kyle Stiner fielded a sacrifice bunt but threw wildly at first, which allowed Joe De Pinto to score from first base.
A second miscue later in the first inning by second baseman Mike Weldon prevented a double play opportunity allowing all runners to reach safely. Ultimately, only six of the nine runs allowed by Veltmann were earned. Kyle Simon entered in relief of Veltmann, who did not record an out.
From there, the Wildcats settled in, outscoring the Trojans 14-5 over the final eight innings. Six Arizona players recorded multiple hits in the game, including Dwight Childs who collected four hits on the evening.
The Wildcats will look to bounce back in the final game of the series on Sunday as they host USC at Noon.