Cats Hold Off No. 6 UCLA
April 25, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. – The No. 17 Arizona baseball team defeated No. 6 UCLA, 6-4, on a day in which the Wildcats jumped out a 6-1 lead and used a pitching staff by committee effort to win on Sunday afternoon at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.
The Wildcats plated a run in the first inning and added three in the fourth to knock out UCLA starter Rob Rasmussen from the game early. A pair of runs in the sixth inning gave UA a seemingly comfortable 6-1 lead, but the Bruins chipped away with two runs in top of the seventh to cut their deficit to 6-3.
The game remained tense in the ninth inning as Nick Cunningham came on to close. The freshman right-hander allowed a pair of hits to open the inning, but retired the next three hitters in order, including Cody Keefer, who flew out to left field to end the game. UCLA did push across a run on an RBI groundout by Dean Espy, which set the score at its final, 6-4. Cunningham earned his third save of the season.
Rasmussen (6-1), pitching on the heels of an eight-inning start by Gerrit Cole on Friday and a complete game effort by Trevor Bauer last night, lasted only 3.2 innings as he suffered his first loss of the year.
Joey Rickard doubled to open the game offensively for the Wildcats and moved to third on a groundout by Rafael Valenzuela. Jett Bandy drove in Rickard with a sacrifice fly to center as the Wildcats claimed a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins answered with a run in the top of the second off UA starter Daniel Workman, who pitched 3.1 innings in his second start of the week. He allowed the one run on three hits with five strikeouts in a no-decision effort.
In the fourth, the Wildcats strung together five-consecutive hits with two outs, including a triple by Bobby Brown and an RBI double by Seth Mejias-Brean to start the rally. Bobby Rinard followed with an RBI single to put the Wildcats up 3-1.
Alex Mejia then put down a bunt single, which drew a wild throw at first base by third baseman Cody Regis. The errant throw allowed Rinard to score and UA suddenly had a 4-1 lead as Rasmussen was lifted in favor of Erik Goeddel.
Bryce Bandilla took over for Workman in the top half of the fourth inning and preserved UA’s lead into the seventh inning. Bandilla (4-2) turned in 3.0 innings from the bullpen in which he allowed two runs on two hits to earn the win.
Arizona (28-11, 8-7 Pac-10) added a couple of runs in the home half of the sixth inning. Robert Refsnyder reached on an error to open the frame and came into score on a second error later in the inning as Rinard reached on a fielder’s choice. Rinard then scored on Mejia’s double to centerfield, one of his three hits on the day.
The Bruins, trailing 6-1, were able to plate two runs in the seventh. Niko Gallego reached on an infield hit before Bandilla issued his only walk of the game to Amaral.
From there, Joe Allison, Augey Bill and Stephen Manthei combined to finish the inning. Bill hit the only batter he faced, which forced in a run with the bases loaded, and Manthei threw a wild pitch to bring home the second run.
The win caps a week in which Arizona played No. 1 Arizona State in a conference game and then the No. 6 Bruins for three games. The Wildcats finished the week 2-2 and will now hit the road for a three-game conference series at USC April 30-May 2.