Cats Walk Off With 10th-Straight Win
March 20, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. – Joey Rickard ripped a bases-loaded, run-scoring single to left centerfield with one out in the bottom of the ninth as the Arizona baseball team escaped with an 8-7 victory over Sacramento State and extended its winning streak to 10 straight games on Saturday afternoon at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.
Arizona (15-4) opened up leads of 5-1 in the fourth inning and 7-4 in the seventh inning, but the visiting Hornets posted three runs in the top of the eighth to tie the game, 7-7.
The Wildcats were retired in order in the eighth, but put their leadoff runner on base in the ninth. However, Ethan Chavez, who singled, was picked off first by Hornet reliever James Chamberlin, which cleared the bases with one out.
Seth Mejias-Brean, who was batting with Chavez on base, started a one-out rally with a single up the middle. UA then called a hit-and-run with Alex Mejia at the plate, who lunged at an outside fastball and bounced it through the right side to put runners at the corners.
Chamberlin then walked Bryce Ortega unintentionally to load the bases with one out. He fell behind in the count to Rickard, 3-1, and was tagged with the loss after Rickard’s ball rolled to the wall in the left centerfield gap and Mejias-Brean came across with the winning run.
Arizona seemed to be in steady control of the game in the middle innings after starter Bryce Bandilla turned in the longest outing of his career with a six-plus inning effort.
But, with a 5-1 lead after the fourth inning, Bandilla surrendered a pair of runs in the top of the fifth and then a solo home run off the bat of Blake Miller to lead of the seventh, which put the Hornets within a run of the Wildcats at 5-4.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 7-4 in the home half of the seventh thanks to a Mejias-Brean run-scoring double and an RBI single by Rickard.
The Arizona bullpen ran into trouble in the eighth, however. Stephen Manthei allowed a one-out double, followed by an RBI single and a bunt single before being lifted with two outs in the inning.
Tyler Hale came on in a save situation, but was unable to turn away the Hornets. Hale walked the first batter he faced, then saw a double fall in down the right field line off the bat of Justin Mezzaneras to bring home two runs, which tied the game at seven.
Arizona failed to capitalize on scoring situations throughout the game. The Hornets committed four errors in the game, but Arizona only capitalized on one of those when three unearned runs came across in the fourth. The Wildcats stranded 13 runners in the game – three counted after the winning run scored – including eight in the first four innings.
Bandilla did not factor in the decision despite his career-long outing of 6.0 innings. He scattered nine hits and allowed four runs with three strikeouts.
Hale earned the win as he pitched the final 1.1 innings. He walked two and allowed one hit.
In the game, seven players scored runs for the Wildcats, led by Mejias-Brean’s two runs, including the game-winner. Rickard and Steve Selsky, who hit his first home run of the season, drove in a pair of RBI.
The Wildcats are now 5-1 in one-run ballgames on the year, including 3-1 in games with a final score of 8-7.
Arizona will try for the series sweep on Sunday as the teams conclude the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for Noon at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.