March 20, 2010
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Junior shortstop Tony Strazzara hit a walk-off RBI single to right field in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the University of San Diego baseball team to a thrilling 6-5 win over No. 14 Rice University Saturday afternoon at USD's Cunningham Stadium.
With the score knotted at 5-5 heading into the bottom of the 10th inning, the Toreros looked for some Cunningham Stadium magic, and they got just that. With two outs and no one on, Nick McCoy popped the ball into right field for a routine fly ball, however Rice outfielder Jeremy Rathjen dropped the ball in right field, which allowed McCoy to safely reach first. McCoy then stole second, and Strazzara made the Owls pay for their fielding error as he laced a RBI single to right field, and McCoy was able to beat out the throw at the plate with a head-first dive to give the Toreros the series win.
With the win, the Toreros improve to 11-9 overall, have now won seven of their last 10 games, and capture the series against Rice. With the loss, the Owls fall to 11-9 overall.
The Owls got on the scoreboard first as they put up one run on a Rick Hague RBI single, which scored Michael Fuda, who had doubled, to give Rice the early 1-0 advantage.
The Toreros then took advantage of a pair of Rice errors in the bottom of the third inning, as they scored two runs on three hits. Strazzara led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on James Meador's infield single. After Victor Sanchez dew a walk to load the bases, Austin Green then hit a hard ball to the Rice second baseman, who in turn booted the ball into shallow right field, which scored Strazzara from third and allowed Green to safely reach first. During the same play, the Rice second baseman attempted to throw Meador out at the plate, but the ball sailed over the catcher's head, which brought home Meador to give USD a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth inning, Rice hit back-to-back solo homes runs by Anthony Randon and Rathjen to give Rice back the lead and the momentum at 3-2.
After Rice added another run in the top of the sixth inning, the Toreros would tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning on a two-out two RBI single by Mike Ferraro which scored McCoy who was pinch running for Zack Kometani, and Strazzara who had singled to move the score to 4-4.
After Rice regained the lead with a run in the top of the eighth inning, the Toreros answered right back in the bottom of the inning scoring one run on one hit to set up the dramatic finish. Green led off the frame with a stand-up double to left center field. Kevin Muno was inserted as a pinch runner for Green, and he moved to third on a Matt Moynihan sacrifice bunt. Steven Chatwood then laid down a sacrifice squeeze bunt the the pitcher, which scored Muno from third to tie things up at 5-5.
San Diego had a chance to end the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, as they loaded the bases with only one out. But a pop-up and a strikeout retired the side, forcing extra innings.
Offensively for the Toreros, Strazzara led the way as he went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and one important RBI.
Matt Hauser (200) picked up the win on the mound for the Toreros as he allowed no runs on one hit in 2.0 innings of work. Abe Gonzales (2-2) was saddled with the loss for the Owls as he allowed one run on one hit in 1.1 innings of work.
San Diego will return to action on Sunday as they look to complete a sweep over Rice in a 12 p.m. game at Cunningham Stadium.