Late rally falls short at Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. – Anthony Hall hit a pinch-hit three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to get Oregon within a run, but Arizona got out of the inning without further damage in a 5-4 Wildcat win in Pac-12 Conference play on Friday night.
Oregon kept it close throughout the game, but a couple of crucial miscues in the bottom of the eighth allowed Arizona (15-6, 2-2 Pac-12) to extend its lead to four runs over Oregon (11-4, 2-2 Pac-12) heading into the ninth.
How It Happened: Most of the game shaped up as a pitcher's duel between Oregon's Robert Ahlstrom (1-2) and Arizona's Chase Silseth with both lasting at least six innings.
Arizona put up two runs on Ahlstrom in the bottom of the third inning. Nik McClaughry led off the inning with an infield single and came around to score on a Donta Williams' double. Jacob Berry singled to score Williams and the Wildcats led 2-0.
The teams traded runs in the fifth. Robby Ashford led off the inning with a double into the left-center field gap and moved to third on a Gavin Grant sacrifice bunt. Tanner Smith drove Ashford home with an RBI infield single to cut the lead in half.
Arizona got it right back. Kobe Kato singled and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch. He ended up scoring on a soft grounder to Gabe Matthews at first in the UA half inning.
Arizona added some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth with a little help from the Ducks. Nico Tellache walked the leadoff hitter and he came around to score when Daniel Susac doubled down the left-field line. After getting two outs, Susac scored on a fielding error by shortstop Josh Kasevich, who first of the season.
Inside the Box Score: Before Hall's home run, the last Oregon player to hit a pinch-hit home run was Phil Craig-St. Louis at UCLA on April 26, 2016 … Hall's three RBI were a career high … Ashford scored two runs to match his season high with both two-run games coming in the last three contests … Oregon's 16 strikeouts was a season high, two more Ks than game one of the UC Santa Barbara series … Four Oregon pitchers combined for four strikeouts, tied for the fewest this season (at Oregon State – March 14) … Kenyon Yovan's 10-game hitting streak and 28-game reached base streak both ended with the Ducks' DH going 0-for-5 … Aaron Zavala's 17-game streak of reaching base also ended as the Ducks' right fielder went 0-for-4 … Two of Oregon's five hits came from players who came off the bench (Hall and Josiah Cromwick) … Oregon committed a season-high two errors in the game running its season total to five in 16 games … The Ducks still boast a .992 fielding percentage.
On Deck: Oregon will look to even the series Saturday with a 3:05 p.m. first pitch. Cullen Kafka (2-0, 0.43) will take the mound for the Ducks while the Wildcats will counter with Garrett Irvin (0-1, 2.55).