Late Rally Lifts Cats Past Trojans, 7-6
April 4, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. – Brad Glenn grounded a two-run single to left field to cap a five-run rally over the final two innings as the Arizona Wildcats stormed back to defeat the USC Trojans, 7-6, before 1,904 fans on a gusty evening at Jerry Kindall Field.
Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Rafael Valenzuela led off with a walk. Dwight Childs moved Valenzuela to second base with a sacrifice bunt and suddenly UA had the tying run in scoring position.
A second pinch hitter, Jett Bandy hit a towering pop fly that seemed to be a routine play for the USC defense between home plate and first base. But, as the Wildcats found out earlier in the game, the gusty wind, which was blowing a steady 25 miles per hour during the game, made even the most routine plays quite difficult.
Bandy’s pop fly fell to the right of the pitcher’s mound and no play was made by the USC infield, which put runners at first and second with one out. Bryce Ortega was then hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases, moving Valenzuela to third and Codi Harshman, who pinch ran for Bandy, to second as the winning run.
After Hunter Pace struck out, Glenn delivered his second hit of the game to seal UA’s first come-from-behind victory of the season.
The Wildcats trailed 6-2 entering the home half of the eighth inning, but posted three runs to close within a run. With two runners on and one out, Dillon Baird pulled a triple down the right field line to drive in two runs. Baird, who collected his only hit of the game, came in to score later in the inning on a wild pitch.
Arizona (13-12, 2-5 Pac-10) dug itself into a hole earlier in the game as a pair of outfielders struggled to adjust to the windy conditions.
With one out and two runners on in the top of the fifth, Hector Rabago hit a soft fly ball into shallow right field. UA right fielder Bobby Coyle came in to make the play, but appeared to struggle to cleanly get underneath the ball, lunging unsuccessfully and allowing two unearned runs to score because of the error.
In the seventh, leading 4-2, two more Wildcat errors in the outfield led to two more unearned runs. Rabago again reached safely on a fly ball that was misplayed by a UA outfielder, this time as the ball ricocheted off Glenn’s arm in left field.
Two batters later, Robert Stock hit a liner to right field that Coyle misjudged, allowing Rabago to score and put Stock on third base. Stock came in to score on a walk by UA reliever Cory Burns later in the inning, pushing the Trojan lead to 6-2.
The Wildcats, trailing 1-0 in the fourth, scored two runs to take an early lead. Pace and Glenn reached on back-to-back singles and later scored, giving starter Preston Guilmet his first lead of the night.
Guilmet struck out a season high 10 batters in 6 1/3 innings pitched. The senior allowed five runs, but only one was earned in his no decision effort.
Junior Jason Stoffel earned his victory of the season as he pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to keep UA within a run.
Stock, who started at catcher but took the ball on the mound in the ninth inning, suffered his first loss of the season, yielding the game-winning runs.
The two teams will continue the three-game series on Saturday evening. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Jerry Kindall Field.