No. 21 Wildcats Zip By Zags

April 12, 2010

Final Box Score (PDF) | Arizona Overall Stats (PDF)

SPOKANE, Wash. – The No. 21 Arizona baseball team captured its third win in four days as it held on to beat Gonzaga, 5-4, on Monday afternoon at the Patterson Baseball Complex to wrap up a four-game swing in the Pacific Northwest.

Arizona (23-9) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning and reclaimed a 5-1 edge in the sixth, before holding off an eighth-inning rally by the host Bulldogs.

Augey Bill, after allowing just one hit over three innings in relief of starter Joe Allison, issued a leadoff walk to Drew Heid, who earlier tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run. Nick Cunningham was called on to take over for Bill.

The first batter Cunningham faced, Steven Halcomb, hit a slow roller to third that was fielded by Seth Mejias-Brean, but a low throw in the dirt to first baseman Rafael Valenzuela allowed Halcomb to reach on a throwing error and Hein scooted around to third.

Clayton Eslick hit an RBI double to score Hein and put runners on second and third, cutting UA’s lead to 5-2. Halcomb scored on a sacrifice fly by Mark Castellitto, and Eslick came in on an RBI groundout by Andy Hunter to put the Bulldogs within a run, 5-4.

That was all the scoring the Bulldogs could do in the eighth, though, and of the three runs to cross home, only one was earned in the inning.

The Wildcats, who rapped out 10 hits over the first six innings of the game, went three-up, three-down in the top of the ninth.

On the mound, Cunningham was able to retire the first two hitters he faced in the bottom of the ninth. But, an error by shortstop Alex Mejia extended the inning and brought up the Bulldog’s leading hitter, Heid, for a chance to extend or win the game. However, Heid lined out to Mejia to end the game.

Bill earned his first career win after pitched three solid innings in relief. He allowed just one hit, struck out two and walked one.

Arizona broke the game open in the sixth inning with four runs.

Valenzuela, who staked the Wildcats to a 1-0 lead in the third with a solo home run to right field, reached on an infield hit as he slapped a ball the leg of GU starter Andrew Danner. Jett Bandy drove home Valenzuela all the way from first with a double to left center, giving UA a 2-1 lead.

Steve Selsky followed with a single to left field, which put runners at the corners. After a Robert Refsnyder strikeout, Bobby Rinard singled to drive home Bandy and give UA a two-run cushion.

But the Wildcats were not done. A double steal moved Selsky and Rinard to third and second, respectively, with Mejias-Brean at the plate. The freshman third baseman delivered a two-run single to right field, putting UA on top, 5-1.

Allison made his first start of the season and turned in four solid innings. He scattered four hits, walked one batter, and tallied two strikeouts while giving up just one run – the solo home run to Heid in third.

For a second-consecutive game, UA’s pitching staff combined to throw 120 pitches or less in a game, a figure applauded by head coach Andy Lopez. It also helped UA complete the Monday matinee game in a brisk two hours and thirty minutes.

Arizona will now return home and resume Pacific-10 Conference action as it hosts Washington State in a three-game series April 16-18 at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium in Tucson.


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