When times get tough, a team looks to its proven stars to pick everyone else back up.
Enter Daniel Susac and Garrett Irvin.
Susac doubled in two runs in the top of the eighth inning, breaking a 1-1 tie, while Irvin held USC in check for 6.2 innings as Arizona won 3-2 on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.
The Wildcats (33-16, 14-9 Pac-12) evened the weekend series at one apiece, setting up a rubber match on Sunday and keeping them in the conference title race. The UA entered the day in a 3-way tie for third place with Oregon and Stanford, both of whom play Saturday night.
Susac, who was 2 for 4 for his 28th multi-hit game of the season, seven off the school record, doubled into the gap in right-center after Nik McClaurghy and Tanner O’Tremba opened the eighth with walks. Arizona did not draw a walk in Friday’s 6-1 loss to USC and had only one in Tuesday’s home loss to Grand Canyon.
Irvin did not factor in the decision but he once again gave Arizona a chance to win, allowing a run on four hits with a walk and a season-high seven strikeouts. The UA is 25-9 in games that the senior left-hander has started during his career, including 8-3 when he pitches the game after a Wildcat loss.
Arizona’s first run game in the third on a solo home run by Blake Paugh, his first since February 2021. He had two hits as did Tony Bullard, who has six hits in his last three games to raise his average to .237.
Quinn Flanagan retired all four batters he faced to get the win, improving to 4-1, with Trevor Long picking up his fifth save but not before making it interesting.
Long, who had recorded 11 consecutive scoreless outings before giving up six runs in his last two appearances, retired the first two in the bottom of the ninth before allowing three straight singles to get USC (23-21, 7-16) within a run. A passed ball on a pitch that USC’s Tyler Lozano swung at moved the tying and winning runs into scoring position but Long recovered and induced a game-ending groundout to Bullard at third.
Freshman righty Anthony ‘Tonko’ Susac is scheduled to start Sunday at 2 p.m. PT. He won a pair of starts last week against New Mexico State and Nevada.