Cats Come Up Short Against Rebels
March 2, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona baseball team overcame a pair of significant deficits but ultimately could not complete a ninth-inning rally as the Wildcats dropped a mid-week opener to visiting UNLV on Tuesday evening at Jerry Kindall Field.
The Wildcats fell behind 5-0 in the first and later 10-7 in the fifth, but were able to later tie the game each time. However, the Rebels surged ahead for a third time with two runs in the eighth to claim a 12-10 advantage and were able to hold off the homestanding Wildcats in the eighth and ninth innings.
Arizona (3-3) did not go down quietly in the ninth, though. Facing Rebel closer Matt Hutchinson, the Wildcats loaded the bases in the final frame.
Ethan Chavez drew a one out walk and moved to second when pinch hitter Cory Bernard also walked. A fielder’s choice groundout by Bryce Ortega eliminated Bernard but put the runners at the corners for Rafael Valenzuela.
Hutchinson, who entered the game with a 2-0 record and two saves to his credit, walked Valenzuela to load the bases.
Steve Selsky, who had scored two runs and driven in one earlier in the game, came to the plate with the tying run on second. The sophomore battled Hutchinson and saw nine pitches in the at bat, including three foul balls, but was called out on strikes to end the game.
Arizona fell behind early as starter Stephen Manthei was hit for five runs in the first inning. The Wildcats answered with four runs in the home half of the first.
The Rebels extended their lead by two, 7-4, in the second inning, but Arizona quickly responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 7-7.
Bryce Bandilla, who relieved Manthei in the first, was charged for the two runs in the second, but seemed to settle in over the third and fourth innings. The sophomore struck out eight batters in five innings of work, but was tagged for three more runs – two earned – in the fifth.
The Wildcats scratched across a run in the sixth to cut UNLV’s lead to 10-8.
In the seventh, Arizona plated two runs to the game and threatened to take its first lead of the game. With two outs and a runner at third base, Ortega hit a sharp grounder to the right side which was mishandled initially by Rebel second baseman Hunter Beaty. The play at first was close, but Ortega was called out, which drew head coach Andy Lopez from the dugout to discuss the third out between innings.
A half inning later, the Rebels reclaimed the lead for good with a pair of runs to take a 12-10 lead off UA reliever Tyler Hale.
Glenn DeWeese, who pitched 1.2 innings in relief, earned his first win of the season while Hutchinson picked up his third save of the season for the Rebels. Hale suffered the loss for the Wildcats.
The two teams will complete the mid-week series on Wednesday at 1 p.m.