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Arizona wins series vs. USC, but loses Cal Stevenson

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The Wildcats took the season finale to complete the series win, but lost one of their best players in the process

Arizona Baseball versus Oregon Rachel Huston

The Arizona Wildcats won their weekend series against the USC Trojans on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, posting a 4-2 victory in the rubber match.

The Wildcats improve to 22-12 and 6-6 in the Pac-12. USC falls to 17-14 and 6-9 in the Pac-12.

After the first two games of the series featured one team scoring in double figures, Sunday’s game was a pitcher’s duel.

Arizona started reliever Zach Stone, and head coach Jay Johnson intended for the senior pitcher to pitch through the Trojan lineup two times over three innings before turning to the rest of the Arizona bullpen.

But Stone lasted 2 1/3 innings before being relieved by freshman Gil Luna, who went three innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits with two walks. He struck out two. Both runs came after Luna had thrown over 30 pitches and appeared to tire.

Zach Sherman followed with two innings of one hit pitching to get the win. Tylor Megill got the save.

USC starter Quentin Longrie pitched six innings but gave up four earned runs on five hits and five walks. He struck out three, throwing 108 pitches.

Arizona’s offense was productive throughout the day putting runners on base in five of the first seven innings.

Matt Frazier led the Wildcat offense with two hits and right fielder Blake Paugh had two RBI. Paugh’s two-run single put Arizona up 2-0 in the fourth.

USC tied the game in the sixth with an RBI single and sac fly, but Arizona answered right back with two runs of its own to re-take a 4-2 lead.

Frazier led off the seventh with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. Then Cameron Cannon brought home Jacob Blas with a sac fly.

There was a controversial play early on. In the second inning, with runners on first and second, Blas struck out and both runners stole on the pitch. The catcher’s throw to third went into left field and one run scored but it was overturned after the umpire signaled that he hit the catcher’s arm.

Both runners were called safe at second and third, and neither scored in the inning.

Arizona also dealt with a serious injury. Leadoff hitter Cal Stevenson took a pitch to the hand in the first inning. He remained in the game but got caught stealing third base and was unable to play the field. Stevenson ran to his position in centerfield and was removed before the first pitch by Stone.

Johnson noted during an interview on the Pac-12 Network that the seams of the ball were visible on Stevenson’s hand, and he was spotted wearing a soft cast in the dugout, according to D1Baseball’s Shotgun Spratling.

There’s been no word on the severity of the injury, but losing Stevenson would be a big blow for the Wildcats. He is hitting .331/.446/.449 this season.

Arizona hosts BYU on Tuesday at 6 p.m. then will host No. 2 Stanford for a three-game series starting Friday.