Sunday's walk off helps UA baseball win home stand
Arizona baseball took on Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson and were able to come away with a 2-1 series, including a walk-off win to cap off the weekend and to improve to 8-4 on the year. Here's a rundown of how each game played out.
It was a successful opening game of the three-game set against the Panthers, as the Arizona baseball team was able to pick up UA head coach Jay Johnson’s 200th win of his Division I coaching career on Friday with a 14-6 victory.
Led by a three-hit, two RBI performance from Matthew Dyer, every starter in the Wildcat lineup logged a hit.
After getting off to a 6-1 lead early on, capped off with a Matt Frazier bomb to right field over the Terry Francona Hitting Center, starting pitcher Randy Labaut lost control of his command, as he surrendered five runs in the fifth inning.
“Randy [Labaut] is one of our best guys," Johnson said after the game. “He throws three pitches for strikes. I thought he pitched well the first time through the order, and then it just seemed like he was up in the zone, like that last dink hit that got into left field. It wasn’t hit very hard, but when you leave the ball up, they can do that. He’ll bounce back.”
Labaut was replaced by Nate Brown, who allowed the inherited runners to score, but was able to get out of the inning unscathed otherwise. The bullpen was dominant the rest of the way after Labaut was taken out, combining to go 4.2 innings of two-hit ball.
In the seventh inning, the Wildcat lineup was able to get those five runs back as they batted around the lineup.
“I don’t want to say it is expected, but I’m not surprised. One through nine, I feel like there is no hole in our lineup,” Frazier said. “It’s kind of scary we feel like to face us.”
This was a back and forth game early on, as both teams scored in the first two innings topped off with RBI hits by Dayton Dooney and Frazier, giving the Wildcats a 4-2 lead into the third inning.
The fifth inning seemed to be the unlucky inning of the series for UA pitchers, as they surrendered seven runs in that inning Saturday night. After starter Bryce Collins recorded two quick outs on two pitches to begin the inning, it all went downhill from there, and four pitchers later, the Wildcats were down 9-4.
Arizona couldn't scratch across another run the rest of night and lost by a final score of 10-4.
This was easily the most entertaining Arizona game so far this season, filled with lots of hits, scoring and a walk-off Arizona win.
UA faced three different deficits of four runs, going down 4-0 through four and a half innings, 7-3 through five and a half innings, and then going down 11-7 going into the bottom of the ninth.
Nick Quintana, who was struggling earlier in the game, going 0-3 with an error as well, picked up his first collegiate walk-off hit, which capped the five-run comeback for the Wildcats in the bottom of the ninth.
“I wasn’t thinking too much. I was 0-3 previously in the game, but I was putting balls into play,” Quintana said after the game. “I have really just been trusting my routine and trusting my process, you know, just sticking with it and not necessarily giving up on it.”
The team had a tough afternoon defensively with four errors, which led to seven of the 11 runs allowed being unearned.
Avery Weems posted a solid outing, going 4.1 innings while allowing four runs with just one of them being earned. He also allowed six hits while walking one and striking out one.
The bullpen struggled early on, as Preston Price and Zach Sherman followed Weems, allowing three earned runs over the next 1.1 innings. Gil Luna picked up his first win of the season, finishing the game with 1.1 innings and allowing just one hit and no runs.
Cannon and Frazier combined for six hits and five RBIs. Donta Williams, who pinch hit in the fifth inning, picked up another two hits and two RBI’s as well.
“They care a tremendous amount about being successful,” Johnson said after the game. “I am proud of them of that, and there is a lot that can be gained from that. Not just in baseball, but in life, having that attitude and hopefully it supply’s confidence in them which will allow us to play better moving forward.”
The Wildcats will continue this home stand on Tuesday, as the Michigan State Spartans come to Hi Corbett with the first pitch set for 6 p.m. MST.
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