USC Wins 15-14 Slugfest At Arizona
April 4, 2009
TUCSON, Arizona - Senior right-hander Daniel Cooper (Costa Mesa/Costa Mesa HS/Rice) threw an inning in relief with the tying run at second to earn the save Saturday as the USC Trojans won a 15-14 slugfest against the Arizona Wildcats to even the Pac-10 Conference series. The Trojans had a season-high 15 runs in a game where both teams combined for 39 hits with USC scoring 10 runs in the first.
USC improved to 12-14 overall and 3-5 in conference while Arizona evened its overall record to 13-13, 2-6 in Pac-10 play.
Hector Rabago was 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI while shortstop Grant Green was 3-for-6 with two RBI and freshman first baseman Ricky Oropesa went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Billy Pinkerton and Alex Sherrod added two hits each for the Trojans.
Freshman Chad Smith (3-2) earned the win in relief with 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits. USC starter Andrew Triggs was two outs away from a victory, but could not get out of the fifth after allowing nine runs on 14 hits.
Hunter Pace led the Wildcats with a 4-for-6 night at the plate with a grand slam and five RBI. Dwight Childs was 4-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBI while Bryce Ortega went 4-for-5 with a double and one RBI. Matt Veltmann started for Arizona on the mound, but did not record an out as he gave up nine runs (six earned) on five hits with a walk.
Joe De Pinto led off the game with a walk and stole second. Mike O'Neill laid down a sacrifice bunt, but UA third baseman Kyle Stiner threw the ball away as De Pinto scored and O'Neill reached third. Green then hit an RBI single to left, followed by a single from Anthony Vasquez. Rabago hit a ground ball to second for a possible double play, but Mike Weldon could not get a handle on the ball as Green scored. Oropesa then ripped a two-run double down the third base line and would score on Robert Stock's triple to center. Billy Pinkerton was hit by a pitch and Alex Sherrod singled to center to knock Veltmann out of the game. Arizona reliever Kyle Simon came in and threw two wild pitches that would plate Pinkerton. De Pinto walked and O'Neill's sacrifice fly scored Sherrod for the second out. De Pinto would advance to second on Simon's third wild pitch of the inning and score the Trojans' final run on Green's RBI single.
Arizona put runners at second and third with an out in the first, but after Dillon Baird flied out into what looked to be a sacrifice fly, Ortega was called out at third for leaving too early to end the inning. Bobby Coyle hit a one-out single in the second and Weldon walked. Childs delivered the Wildcats' first run with a single to center, followed by RBI singles from Stiner and Ortega. Pace recorded an infield single and Baird hit a two-run single to left center as the Wildcats cut the deficit in half, 10-5.
De Pinto drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth for the 11-5 lead. O'Neill followed with a fly ball that Glenn could not get in left field, but Trojan runners thought Glenn caught the ball as Glenn threw to third and Stiner threw to second for the 7-5-4 double play to end the inning.
Arizona scored a run in the fourth, but USC came back with two in the fifth. Rabago hit a triple off the fence in right to bring home Vasquez and later scored on Pinkerton's sacrifice fly for the 13-6 lead, but the Wildcats would put five on the board in the fifth.
Coyle doubled to lead off the Arizona fifth and later scored on an RBI single by Childs. Stiner's single to left knocked out Triggs as freshman Chad Smith entered the game for the Trojans. He walked Ortega to load the bases and then Pace delivered the grand slam just right of the foul pole in left field with Arizona cutting the USC lead to two, 13-11.
O'Neill doubled with an out in the sixth and Green singled to left. Vasquez brought home O'Neill with a single to center and Rabago's sacrifice fly plated Green to put USC up by four runs.
In the eighth, Arizona answered with two runs on an RBI double from Coyle and RBI triple by Childs. Pinch hitter Steve Selsky represented the tying run with two outs, but Smith got him to fly out to center for the third out as USC maintained the 15-13 advantage.
Cooper relieved Smith in the bottom of the ninth and Ortega greeted him with a double to left center. Pace singled home Ortega, but Cooper got Glenn to line out as Green climbed the ladder for the out. Baird was intentionally walked to put the winning run on base, but Daniel Cooper struck out Shaun Cooper and Coyle hit a fly ball into left center that O'Neill raced over to grab for the final out of the game.
The USC-Arizona series concludes tomorrow with a noon start and will be broadcast live on usctrojans.com.
Notes: Every player in the USC starting lineup scored in the first inning as 10 consecutive batters scored for the Trojans...the 10 runs were the most in an inning this season for the Trojans (previous high: 8 runs vs. Winthrop, 1st inning on March 15)...the 17 hits tonight were a season-high for the Trojans (previous high: 15 vs. Winthrop, March 14).
USC (10)00-122-000---15-17-0 UA 0 50-150-021---14-22-2