Arizona baseball: Early runs, Wade power Wildcats to 10-1 win against Cal
With two outs, top of the ninth inning, Konner Wade had a chance at a complete game shutout, his first since a College World Series bout with UCLA on June 17.
The Wildcats led 10-0, but two men were on base. So head coach Andy Lopez called on Augey Bill for relief, much to the chagrin of the 3,109 fans at Hi Corbett Field, who greeted pitching coach Shaun Cole with boo birds as he trotted out to the mound.
Wade was out, Augey Bill came in, and Wade’s shutout ended. Bill walked a batter and gave up an RBI single before finally ending the game with a groundout to second base and a final score of 10-1.
““I was pretty tired towards the end,” Wade said. “I was trying to be too fine on most of [the walks], some of them I thought were pretty good pitches but just didn’t get them.”
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Baseball lost 9-2 to San Francisco Sunday afternoon. The Cats won the series overall 2-1.
Wade (3-2) departed with three strikeouts, allowing six hits, one earned run, and he walked four batters on 122 pitches. The win was Wade’s first since March 1 against San Francisco.
“He was not really sharp,” Lopez said. “I know some people will think ‘come on you took him out with 122 pitches and hadn’t given up a run.’ But, he had four walks and that really hurt his chances of going a complete game.”
The Wildcats (19-11, 4-6 Pac-12) won the game on the heels of a five-run second inning that saw Arizona power Wade to a six run cushion. It was Arizona’s fourth straight win after starting Pac-12 play off with six straight losses.
After scoring one run — on a Zach Gibbons RBI single — in the first inning, the Wildcats opened with a Kevin Newman single and stolen base. Freshman designated hitter Jackson Willeford grounded out, advancing Newman to third base and the Wildcats were off to the races.
““It was great,” Wade said. “It lets me take a breath and each pitch isn’t quite as important per se.”
Added leadoff man Johnny Field, who went 3-for-5 with one RBI and three runs: “Konner was lights out, the team was swinging the bat…. And he just dominated tonight.”
Ryan Koziol scored Gibbons on a safety squeeze, then scored himself when Gilbert singled him home.
After a Brandon Dixon sacrifice fly and Gibbons RBI single, the Wildcats came out of the inning with a 6-0 lead.
“We put some things together offensively,” Lopez said of the second inning spurt. “They helped us a little bit, obviously. But it’s Pac-12 baseball you have to do that.”
Gilbert, the Wildcats second baseman, drove in another run in the bottom of the fourth inning to give Arizona a 7-0 lead. He went 3-of-5 on the night, with a double, two RBIs and two runs, boosting his batting average to .358 for the season.
The Wildcats tagged on one more run in the fifth inning on and another two in the eighth in their fourth straight win after losing six in a row to open Pac-12 play.
Cal starting pitcher Ryan Mason (4-1), who came into the game 4-0 with a 2.37 era, struggled to the tune of eight earned runs and 12 hits in six innings pitched.
Eight of Arizona’s nine batters had at least one RBI and the other — right fielder Joseph Maggi — went 2-for-3 with two runs.
“It was a big win tonight,” Wade said. “But we got to go win the series tomorrow.”
The Wildcats will trot out James Farris for the second game of the Cal series at 6 p.m. Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field.