Cats' Bats Stay Hot, Sweep UNLV
Feb. 25, 2009
LAS VEGAS – Bryce Ortega led another offensive explosion for Arizona as the Wildcats completed a two-game sweep of host UNLV with a 16-12 victory at Earl E. Wilson Stadium on a windy Wednesday afternoon.
Ortega scored five runs and batted in three more as he turned in a 4-for-5 performance at the plate, including a two-run home run, to pace Arizona offensively.
Arizona (4-1) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first and led 15-6 going to the bottom of the seventh but had to hold off a late Rebel Rally in the seventh. UNLV (3-3) touched up reliever Cory Burns for six runs in the inning – all with two outs -- capped by a Trent Fuller three-run homerun.
With UA’s lead trimmed to 15-12, Joe Allison came on to prevent further damage, and struck out two batters in the bottom of the eighth.
Jason Stoffel then came on to close the door on the late Rebel comeback bid, pitching 1.1 scoreless innings, while striking out four of the five UNLV hitters he faced to earn his second save of the season.
The Wildcats wasted no time picking up where they left off on Tuesday evening, scoring five runs on five hits in the top of first inning. Rafale Valenzuela started the hit parade with a triple to right center to start the inning. The UA second baseman scored on Bryce Ortega singled to left field.
Ortega advanced to second on a wild pitch, but neither Bobby Coyle nor Matt Presley could advance him to third. With two down, Dillon Baird pulled a single through the right side to bring Ortega in. Steve Selsky then drew a walk to put runners on first and second for Jett Bandy.
The gusty winds took effect early in the game as Bandy popped a high fly ball near the foul line in shallow left field. The Rebels were unable to make a play on the ball as it fell in for an RBI double. Daniel Butler then stepped to the plate a delivered a single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to bring home to more runs and stake UA to a 5-0 lead.
The Rebels tried to duplicate the Wildcats’ success in the home half of the first as J.J. Sferra led off with a triple down the first base line that went all the way to the wall. But Roach settled in and got Scott Berke to pop up to Baird at first base in foul territory. A tapper back to the mound by Drew Beuerlein held Sferra at third and a groundout to shortstop got Roach out of the inning unscathed.
Arizona added another run in the second after Ortega reached on a one-out single. The sophomore shortstop then stole second and reached third as the throw to second scooted into the outfield. Coyle then drove Ortega home with a sacrifice fly to the left field warning track to give UA a 6-0 lead.
UNLV again put its leadoff runner on base to start the second as designated hitter Ryan Thornton walked. Roach then hit catcher Joe DiMaggio and allowed an infield single to Anthony Morel.
Arizona head coach Andy Lopez visited with Roach and Butler, and the freshman right hand hander quickly settled down. Roach induced a double play groundout by Trent Fuller, which allowed Thornton to score, and struck out Bryan Resnick to end the inning and keep the score at 6-1 through two innings.
The Wildcats were back to work on offense in the third, adding two more runs to push their lead to 8-1 on a two-out, two-run double by Pace.
After retiring Sferra to start the bottom of the third, Roach allowed a double to right field to Berke. Lopez then elected to remove Roach, who was on a strict pitch count after pitching six innings on Sunday, and called upon left-hander Bryce Bandilla.
Bandilla quickly shut down any Rebel threat, getting Beuerlein to pop up to Baird and then struck out Roundy to end the inning.
Arizona added two more runs in the top of the fourth off of Rebel reliever Matt Hutchinson, who replaced starter Corey Hales. Ortega walked to lead off, then stole second. With one out, Presley tripled to right center to bring Ortega across home plate. A sacrifice fly by Baird allowed Presley to score and pad UA’s lead to 10-1.
The Wildcats went to the long ball in the top of the fifth inning to continue the offensive onslaught. After Jett Bandy walked, Butler launched his first homerun of the season with a blast to left field.
Two batters later, Valenzuela belted a double off the right field wall, and scored on a two-run shot by Ortega to left field to push the lead to 14-1.
UNLV was able to string together four consecutive hits to start the bottom of the fifth and post five runs in the inning. Trent Fuller and Bryan Resnick each singled to start the inning and scored on Sferra’s second triple of the game down the right field line. Sferra then scored on Berke’s RBI double off the centerfield wall, which forced Bandilla from the game.
Matt Chaffee, who earned the win in relief on Tuesday, came on to replace Bandilla. Chaffee allowed a triple against the first batter he faced, Beurlein, then gave up a sacrifice fly to Roundy, which cut UAs lead to 14-6.
Chaffee kept things in check in the sixth, finishing with one earned run allowed on one hit in two innings to pick up his second win in as many days.
Arizona added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to push the score to its final, 16-12.
The Wildcats will return to Tucson this evening and begin preparations for their weekend series against Georgia, which is ranked No. 3 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. The three game series will begin on Friday evening with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. at Jerry Kindall Field.
NOTE: In its last three games, Arizona has scored 11 runs, 14 runs and 15 runs. That marks the first stretch of three-consecutive double-digit run scoring games since UA’s first three games of the 2007 when it posted totals of 14, 10 and 12 runs against Gonzaga.