June 4, 2004
No. 3 seed Arizona vs. No. 2 seed UC Irvine
June 4, 2003 – 6:05 p.m.
Eck Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
Tonight’s game was the 19th meeting between the two schools. Arizona improved to 14-4-2 against the Anteaters. Friday marked the first-ever meeting between the teams in postseason play.
The two teams met in the third week of the season, with UC Irvine taking two out of three from the Wildcats (3-1 and 6-5). The teams tied the other game of the series, which was abandoned at 8-8 in the 10th inning.
Notre Dame and UC Irvine will meet tomorrow at 11:05 in game three of the South Bend Regional, with the winner moving on to face the winner of the afternoon matchup between Arizona and Kent State.
ARIZONA TEAM NOTES
Arizona won an NCAA tournament game for the first time since 1993, snapping a five-game losing streak in postseason action. The Wildcats had suffered a five-year drought between regional berths, only to be swept out of the 1999 Waco regional, as well as the 2003 Fullerton regional after a regional berth drought of three years.
This marks Arizona’s 31st appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats are 48-35 in regional play since 1950, and 80-60 all-time in postseason play.
UC IRVINE TEAM NOTES
This is UC Irvine’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance on the Division I level. The Anteaters’ program was discontinued in 1992, but returned to competition in the 2002 season.
The Anteaters have now lost four in a row and nine of their last 12 contests
UC Irvine has now recorded 10 hits in back-to-back outings, having accomplished that mark against Washington in its season finale.
The Anteaters have now committed an error in five straight games, dating back to May 23 against UC Riverside.
ARIZONA PLAYER NOTES
Sophomore outfielder Derek Decater’s fourth inning home run not only put the Wildcats in the lead 3-2, but also broke Decater out of a personal 1-for-21 slump. The blast was also the sophomore’s first homer of the campaign and first since clouting a pair on April 28, 2002 at Sacramento State.
Sophomore first baseman Jordan Brown now has three home runs in Arizona’s last two games, and eight round trippers in the team’s last 15 games. He is the team leader in homeruns with 11 and in RBI with 53.
Junior catcher Richard Mercado’s three RBI on the night tied his season high, which he had done twice previously (most recently May 23 against Arizona State).
Junior pitcher Koley Kolberg entered play tonight as the Pac-10 leader in innings pitched (125.1). He was also second in the conference in games started (18) and third in strikeouts (107).
Prior to tonight’s action Kolberg was 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in his last four starts. Tonight the junior went six innings, gave up just two runs, scattered eight hits and struck out three batters.
Freshman shortstop Jason Donald is currently batting .529 (8-17) against UC Irvine for the season, including two home runs and a slugging percentage of 1.071.
UC IRVINE PLAYER NOTES
Junior pitcher Brett Smith’s first-inning balk was his first of the year, as was junior pitcher Steve Schroer’s in the seventh inning.
Tonight’s outing was Smith’s worst of the season in terms of earned runs allowed. His season high had been the five earned runs he gave up in his first start of the season, against California on Feb. 13.
Smith has now dropped five of his last seven decisions after starting the season 6-0.
Junior outfielder Andy Amara collected his first HBP of the season in the sixth inning, courtesy of Arizona righthander Koley Kolberg.