TUCSON, AZ - The ninth-ranked USC baseball team finished off a three-game sweep Saturday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field, escaping with 10-9 victory in the finale against No. 22 Arizona.
USC (25-6, 7-2) erased a four-run deficit by scoring seven times in the fourth inning, and then never trailed the rest of the way. The Trojans would go on to take 9-6 lead when they added another run in the fifth.
Arizona (22-9, 7-4) clawed its way back by scoring two runs in the seventh and tying the game with a run in the eighth. In the ninth, the Wildcats put two on with two outs, by reliever Marc Huberman retired Justin Behnke with a soft liner to preserve the 10-9 victory.
Bobby Dalbec was 2-for-5 for the Wildcats and his three-run homer in the third gave the home side an early 5-1 lead while chasing Trojans starter Mitch Hart from the game.
However, USC showed its toughness by answering with a big inning of its own.
Tyger Talley had been steady through three innings, holding the Trojans to one run on three hits. But he couldn't get out of the fourth inning.
Three singles loaded the bases with one down in the fourth, setting up a sacrifice fly from David Oppenheim before the Trojans strung together a series of two-out hits.
AJ Ramirez and Bobby Stahel each delivered two-run doubles off Talley, before reliever Rio Gomez walked the only hitter he faced. Austin Schnabel then entered, but Jeremy Martinez singled home two more runs.
Scott Kingery, who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored, tripled and scored on Kevin Newman's infield single in the bottom of the fourth. But the Trojans bounced back with a run of their own in the top of the fifth off reliever Xavier Borde.
From there, Borde settled in and kept his team in the game. The lefty went three complete innings with just the one run on four hits.
That bought time for the Wildcats, who scored twice in the seventh. Cody Ramer, making his first start of the year in left field, was 3-for-5, including a two-run single to bring his club within a run in the seventh.
Arizona tied the game in the eighth. Behnke, batting leadoff for the first time this season, drew a walk and then stole second with one out. After a walk to Newman, a wild pitch advanced each runner into scoring position for pinch-hitter Tyler Krause, who drove in the tying run with a groundout.
Newman stood on third representing the go-ahead run, but Huberman (W, 5-1) struck out Dalbec to keep the game tied.
Dalbec (L, 2-3), who entered to pitch in the eighth, then walked Timmy Robinson to lead off the Trojan half of the ninth. A bunt moved Robinson to second, a groundout pushed him to third and an infield single by Oppenheim plated the eventual game-winning run.
Despite allowing a pair of two-out hits in the bottom of the ninth, Huberman earned the win on the mound for his two innings of work. He surrendered two hits and two walks, but also struck out two.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Arizona's Talley tossed 3.2 innings with seven runs allowed on seven hits, while USC's Mitch Hart surrendered the five runs on four hits.
Arizona will hit the road for a three-game series against Arizona State next weekend (April 11-13) at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix.
GAME NOTES: Arizona dropped its third-consecutive game for the first time this season … USC becomes only the second team (Oregon State in 2013) to sweep Arizona on its home field since Andy Lopez took over in 2002 … Bobby Dalbec hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season, the most for a Wildcat since Robert Refsnyder hit eight in 2012 … Dalbec has reached base safely in all 31 games this season … Scott Kinger improved his nation-leading batting average to .447 with three hits on Saturday … The Wildcats have collected an extra base hit in 20-straight games … Arizona batted just .205 (8-for-39) with runners in scoring position over the three games. USC hit .447 (17-for-38) with runners in scoring position … The Trojans out-scored the Wildcats, 13-6, in two-out RBI over the three days … USC has won six-straight games against the Wildcats … Cody Ramer made his first start in the outfield since May 25, 2013 (also against USC).