Arizona baseball drops Stanford series finale 6-5
Quinn Brodey hit a two-run inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning to lift Stanford to a 6-5 comeback win over the Arizona baseball team on Sunday at Hi Corbett Field.
The Wildcats led 5-4 heading into the final frame, but the Cardinal put the tying run at second with one out. Kevin Ginkel, who escaped a jam in the eighth inning and started the ninth, was replaced by Cody Moffett, who gave Arizona a favorable, lefty-on-lefty matchup.
Moffett struck out the first lefty he faced to get the second out in the inning, but couldn’t retire the second one. Instead, Brodey launched a fly ball to deep right center field — the deepest part of spacious Hi Corbett Field — and it continued to carry, landing just past the outstretched glove of right fielder Zach Gibbons.
“It’s a big park,” Arizona head coach Jay Johnson said. “You can’t cover all of it. We positioned him in a way to make a play to end the game right there. I thought he broke back, I thought he went hard, but this park has been really good to us and advantageous lately, but it beat us right there.”
The ball took an unorthodox bounce off the wall and skipped away from Gibbons, allowing Brodey to come all the around and score, giving Stanford a decisive 6-5 lead. Had Gibbons pulled up and played the ball off the wall instead, he may have been able to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring.
“I know I was positioned pretty far back almost in ‘no doubles’ [position] to the hitter and he just stung it and it just kept carrying," Gibbons said. "I thought I took a good route, took my head off the ball and I thought I was on it, but it just kept going … I feel like I just missed it.”
Gibbons said he didn’t give much thought about playing the ball off the wall.
“With the runner on tying run on second, that’s a game-making play,” Gibbons said. “If I catch that, it’s ball game, so I was just trying to be aggressive and if I make a mistake, make an aggressive mistake rather than a passive mistake.”
The Wildcats had a chance in the bottom of the ninth to extend, or win, the game. With the tying run on first with two outs, Bobby Dalbec skied a popup into shallow left field. Tommy Edman, Stanford’s shortstop, fell to the ground but was able to hang on for the final out.
Dalbec made the final out but also started on the mound for the Wildcats, allowing just one run in the first seven innings. Arizona held a 5-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, which Dalbec began. But things unraveled from there.
Dalbec walked and hit the first two batters of the inning, then Brodey hit an RBI single to center to cut Stanford’s deficit to 5-2. The Cardinal would tack on another run via an error by Arizona third baseman Kyle Lewis, then Jonny Locher had an RBI groundout to make it a 5-4 game.
“He had given us everything he could; plenty good to win the game,” Johnson said. “He pitched his tail off.”
Dalbec finished pitching 7.2 innings while allowing four runs (two unearned). Dalbec’s performance allowed Arizona to control most of the game, despite having just five hits.
With the tying run still on second, Johnson removed Dalbec and inserted Ginkel, who’d walk his first batter then induce a groundout to end the inning with the one-run lead intact.
The Wildcats took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Gibbons scored on a passed ball.
In the second inning, Cody Ramer doubled to drive in Kyle Lewis. Ramer eventually scored on a wild pitch to extend Arizona’s lead to 3-0.
An Austin Barr RBI double gave Stanford its first run in the fourth, but the Wildcats responded, scoring Ryan Aguilar on a suicide squeeze by Lewis in the sixth inning. Aguilar then hit an RBI single in the seventh to increase Arizona’s lead to 5-1.
Arizona couldn’t hold on to the four-run lead, however, and failed to complete the sweep of the Cardinal.
“There’s a lot of disappointment in this thing. There’s no getting around it,” Johnson said. “We dominated the series for 26 innings.”
The loss drops the Wildcats to 22-14 overall and 7-8 in Pac-12 Conference play, good for No. 7 in conference standings.
Arizona returns to action Wednesday when it will host New Mexico State University. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
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