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Arizona baseball drops opener at USC, slips in Pac-12 standings

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Arizona is still in the hunt for the Pac-12 regular season title, but it’s got a little more work to do after dropping its series opener at last-place USC.

The Wildcats fell 6-1 to the Trojans on Friday night, their second straight loss. Combined with Stanford’s win over Cal and Oregon's loss at Oregon State it dropped Arizona (32-16, 13-9) into a 3-way tie for fourth but put it three games behind first-place OSU in the loss column. The UA hosts the Beavers next weekend.

Arizona managed just six hits, four of those coming in the first three innings. The Wildcats had a runner in scoring position in all three frames, with the bases loaded in the second, but could not score.

Their only run came in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Tony Bullard, who brought in Chase Davis after he doubled and went to third on a Mac Bingham sacrifice. Davis, who was 2 for 4, was the only UA batter to reach base between the third and eighth inning, doing so twice.

Arizona batters struck out 12 times against USC pitchers, including six in three innings against reliever Kyle Wisch after starter Jaden Agassi struck out six over the first six frames. The Wildcats also didn’t draw a walk for the first time all season, this after getting just one in Tuesday’s 11-7 home loss to Grand Canyon.

Right-hander TJ Nichols got the loss despite striking out a career-high nine Trojans. He allowed four runs and six hits with three walks over six innings, giving up a 2-out, 2-run single in the fourth, an RBI single in the fifth and, after Arizona got within 3-1, a solo home run to Nick Lopez to lead off the sixth.

USC (23-20, 7-15) added a 2-run homer in the seventh by D’Andre Smith to end a 6-game losing streak to the Wildcats.

Arizona and USC meet again Saturday at 2 p.m. PT.