TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona baseball team closed its regular season with a convincing 7-1 victory to complete a three-game sweep of visiting Southern California, but now must wait until Monday morning to learn whether it will be selected to the 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.
Brandon Dixon was 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored to capture the Pac-12 batting title, and lefty Tyler Crawford held the Trojans scoreless over the final eight innings as he improved to 7-2 with his second complete game of the year.
Southern California (20-36, 10-20 Pac-12) struck for the game's first run with two outs in the opening inning. James Roberts doubled to left and scored on Greg Zebrack's double.
Arizona (34-21, 15-15 Pac-12) quickly answered with a two-out run of its own. Dixon doubled and scored on Zach Gibbons' infield single to tie the game at one apiece through one inning.
The Wildcats took the lead an inning later with another two-out rally. With two down, Joseph Maggi reached on an error and moved to third on Johnny Field's double. Trent Gilbert followed with a two-run single and the home side had a 3-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, Arizona broke the game open by scoring four runs on five hits, including three for extra bases. Kevin Newman roped a run-scoring double, Riley Moore belted an RBI triple, Scott Kingery doubled in a run and Maggi knocked in the final run with a sacrifice fly.
It was more than enough cushion for Crawford, who scattered eight hits and a pair of walks. He benefited from a pair of double plays and a sensational outfield assist from Kingery to thwart a key scoring threat from the Trojans.
With the Wildcats holding a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth, USC put runners on first and second with two down. Adam Landecker then singled to right field, where Kingery came up with the ball and fired a perfect strike to Moore at home plate for an inning-ending tag out.
Kingery earlier added an assist when he caught a fly out and doubled off Kevin Swick, who was running on the pitch, at first base. The freshman also registered a pair of outfield assists on Friday night.
The Wildcats used a balanced offensive approach that saw all nine starters collect a base hit against four Trojans' pitchers. Starter Kyle Twomey (L, 2-8) took the loss after surrendering three runs – none earned – on five hits over 3.1 innings.
Buoyed by a three-game sweep, the Wildcats have finished strong over the final two weekends having won five of their last six games and six of their final 10. Since March 28, the club is 18-10 over the final two months of the regular season, and it won 10 of its 15 weekend series during the 2013 season.
Indeed, Arizona finishes the regular season slate playing its best baseball of the year in all phases.
In the last six games, the Wildcats have hit .344 as a team, including .418 with runners in scoring position, while outscoring opponents 49-27. The pitching staff tossed a pair of complete games this weekend, and the defense has committed just two errors in the final six contests.
Now Arizona waits to see whether the strong overall record, a .500 finish in conference and hot final couple of weekends are enough to earn a berth in an NCAA Regional. The NCAA Division I Championship Selection Show will be televised live on ESPNU beginning at 9 a.m. (MST/PDT) on Monday morning.
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