Cats Claw Past Golden Bears, 8-4
May 2, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. – A six-run fourth inning and nearly flawless relief pitching propelled Arizona to a second consecutive Pac-10 series victory as the Wildcats defeated California, 8-4, on Saturday evening at Jerry Kindall Field.
A pair of Wildcats who nearly hit for the cycle with six combined hits on Friday – Dillon Baird and Bobby Coyle – delivered clutch extra base hits in a pivotal fourth inning that saw nine runs scored between the two teams. California jumped on top 1-0 in the first and scored three in the top of the fourth before surrendering a 4-0 lead in the home half of the inning.
With one run already on the board, Baird, who fell behind 0-2 in the count, lined a double to left center field to drive in two runs. Later in the inning, with two outs and the bases loaded, Coyle blasted his team-leading fifth triple of the season to right center field to clear the bases and hand Arizona a 6-4 lead.
The six runs proved to be more than enough for the Wildcats, who turned the game over to a trio of relievers in the fifth inning.
Bandilla came on to pitch the next 1 1/3 innings, but ran into minor trouble in the top of sixth after a pair of walks in the frame put runners at the corners with two outs.
Cory Burns, who made his 31st appearance of the season, spelled Bandilla and was masterful in relief. The senior took over and pitched one-hit baseball over the next 2 1/3 innings, while striking out a pair of Golden Bears and handing an 8-4 lead over the Jason Stoffel in the ninth inning.
Arizona scratched an insurance run on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Brad Glenn pulled a triple off the left field wall and came in to score on sacrifice fly by Coyle.
The extra run meant the work in the ninth inning by Stoffel would not result in a save, but for good measure, the junior shut the Golden Bears down in order by striking out the side.
In all, Bandilla, Burns and Stoffel combined to pitch 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, allowing just one hit and striking out eight batters.
Offensively, seven Wildcats combined to score UA’s eight runs, but interestingly, Coyle was not one of them. The designated hitter did drive in four runs, through, fresh off a three-RBI game on Friday.
The win gives the Wildcats their first back-to-back Pac-10 victories of the season fresh of their first Pac-10 series victory of the season a weekend ago at Stanford.
Arizona will go for its first weekend series sweep since taking three games from Michigan in mid-March when it hosts California at Noon on Sunday.