Alfonso Rivas is the hero for Arizona as it beats Oregon State 6-5 in walk-off fashion to win series
After eight and a half innings, Alfonso Rivas drilled a ball over the head of Oregon State’s left fielder to give Arizona a dramatic 6-5 comeback win.
Less than 24 hours after putting up 15 runs, Arizona appeared to be on pace to have another high run total. The expectation of a high scoring game was furthered by the first pitch Nick Quintana saw today, which he hit a line drive that cleared the wall in left field to give the Wildcats and early 2-0 lead.
However, that was the only scoring the 'Cats would see until the bottom of the 8th.
Slowly, Arizona kept getting baserunners and quality at-bats to start the comeback as the 'Cats had fall behind 5-2 in the innings between then.
“I think we just strung together a chain of quality at bats," UA head coach Jay Johnson said. "Cal led off with a two strike walk...and then Cameron got hit by a two strike pitch so there’s two free bases and we got lined up for our best hitters.”
The Beaver couldn't add an extra insurance in the top half of the ninth, so the pressure was on the 'Cats if they didn't want to do into extras. Matt Fraizer reached second on the throw that went into the Wildcats' dugout, then Ryan Haug put down a bunt but Frazier couldn’t advance. After sacrifice bunt by Cal Stevenson, the Beavers intentionally walked Cannon to get to Alfonso Rivas.
After taking a ball and a strike, Rivas got a slider up and drilled it over the left-fielder’s head for the walkoff win.
“I saw the coach give the four pitch walk sign to Cannon and all those moments I’ve had during my college career... started coming back," Rivas said. "I felt really comfortable at the plate, my most comfortable of today. I got a pitch up in the zone, a slider, and drove it the other way.”
Tempers had flared throughout the game, but it peaked in the seventh inning.
Arizona was struggling at the plate, and OSU's pitcher looked into the Arizona dugout and some yelling ensued. Ultimately, Robby Medel ended up getting thrown out of the game and both benches got a warning.
“Just 18 to 20 year olds being 18 to 20 year olds," Johnson said regarding the incident, "Their guy is fired up, he’s a good pitcher, pitched great for two innings and was pumped up about his strikeout and I thought it was a little bit over the top."
Arizona now improves to 19-11 and 4-5 in conference play, including 16-2 at home. Oregon State now falls to 24-6 and 7-5 in conference play. Arizona will look to use this series win as serious confidence booster as they head into the back half of their season. Arizona will be back at home on Tuesday, April 10 at 6 p.m. against GCU before going to USC for a three game set this next weekend.
Follow Jack Cooper on Twitter