Arizona baseball walks off with series win
It took all nine innings for Arizona baseball to win its second Pac-12 conference series on Sunday against No. 22 UCLA.
Arizona (17-20) defeated UCLA (19-15) in walk-off fashion, 6-5, after sophomore Kevin Newman singled to third base, driving sophomore outfielder Zach Gibbons home to win the game and series.
“It was a good win for us and definitely a good weekend going two out of three,” head coach Andy Lopez said.
The Wildcats have won five of their last six games and their last two Pac-12 series.
Arizona beat UCLA 6-5 after Kevin Newman's ninth inning single to bring in Zach Gibbons' winning run at Hi Corbett Field on Sunday. The Wildcats have now won five of their last six games.
Gibbons and Newman led Arizona offensively. Gibbons finished with four hits, two runs batted in and two runs scored. Newman finished with three hits and two RBIs.
“I was really confident about my last at bat,” Newman said. “I got two strikes, I tried to make contact, I did that and it all worked out.”
Sunday’s game wasn’t all positive for Arizona, as Scott Kingery injured himself running to first base in the fourth inning and had to leave the game. The sophomore centerfielder was second in the Pac-12 in batting going into Sunday’s games.
Lopez said Kingery has a bruised bone in his foot and Gibbons will stay in the lead-off spot for now. Gibbons had two doubles.
The Wildcats rebounded to win the series after a slow start. Arizona lost the first game 8-0 on Friday, before winning 3-2 on Saturday.
Newman said he thinks this past weekend was really good for the team considering the fact that it was UCLA.
“Being able to get together as a team and win the last game of the series was huge for us,” Newman said. “We’re definitely getting there.”
Sophomore Tyger Talley started for Arizona, pitching three innings, allowing seven hits and four runs. In the top of the fourth inning freshman Morgan Earman relieved Talley. Sophomore Cody Moffett was the third pitcher Arizona to appear and the probable reason why Arizona won according to Lopez.
Moffett pitched 3.2 innings allowing two hits and no runs.
“I thought Moffett did a great job,” Lopez said. “He was outstanding tonight and he’s probably the reason we won.”
Moffett said he felt good about his performance on the mound.
“I hit my spots and I gave my team a chance to win,” Moffet said. “My only goal was to keep the team in the game and it worked out.”
Arizona won the series against Utah, beat ASU and won the series against UCLA, which has made Lopez notice changes in his players’ performances.
“They’ve been playing well for about the last five or six games,” Lopez said. “We’re going in the right direction … I’m thankful for the energy level and the competitiveness.”
Lopez said there are still things that aren’t going the right way, but that they will work on that and get better for the rest of the season.
The plan for Arizona now is to take a day off Monday and work hard until Thursday before traveling to Los Angeles to play USC.
—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal