Arizona third baseman Brandon Dixon leaped straight up in the air, fully extended and snared a line drive out of the air in the seventh inning of last night’s 10-9 win over Arizona State.
Two men were on base, but Dixon secured the third out and helped relief pitcher Augey Bill out of a jam.
“That was a huge catch,” Bill said. “That was amazing. I knew I left that pitch a little bit up when I threw it then the guy just turned on it. I thought it was gonna be a double or even a triple down the line…but [Dixon] made an amazing play.”
Dixon followed that up with a single, a steal and a game-tying run in the eighth, completing the Wildcats’ comeback in a 8-2 deficit to knot things up 9-9. Arizona finished things off with a 10-9 win, but Dixon’s acrobatic catch almost didn’t happen.
Dixon jumped as high as he could, and thought he only had the ball at the tip of his glove.
“I honestly didn’t think I caught it because it was at the tip,” Dixon said, “and I didn’t think I caught it so I had to make sure. When I saw it in my glove I was pretty excited.”
After Dixon’s catch, the Wildcats scored three runs in the seventh inning to come within one run of the Sun Devils.
Then in the eighth, after Dixon got his second hit of the night and advanced to second on a Zach Gibbons groundout, Dixon asserted himself on the basepaths, stealing third base.
After his 26th steal of the season — and an errant throw by ASU catcher R.J. Ybarra — Dixon trotted across home plate.
“He wanted to do that,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “He gave the sign to me in fact and I agreed with it, and most of the time I wouldn’t, but he’s a good base runner.”
Added Dixon, who hit 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI: “It was a good opportunity to go and get a good jump, I figured it would help. I knew if I got to third, [shortstop Kevin] Newman was going to be able to get me in a lot easier than if I was at second.”
On his way out of the dugout to speak to reporters after last night’s win, Andy Lopez tripped coming up the stairs.
Lopez has a herniated disk, so walking up the stairs isn’t exactly easy for him. A three hour, 42 minute game didn’t help.
A long Sunday night, standing around in Phoenix wasn’t exactly good for his health either.
The Wildcats flew into Phoenix Sky Harbor Inernational Airport at midnight on Sunday after their series with Washington State in Pullman, Wash., and they remained there for a good two hours longer than they were supposed to.
Lopez didn’t get home and into bed until 5:15 a.m, and most of the players only 20-30 minutes earlier.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” said outfielder Scott Kingery. “We got there, we were standing outside with our bags waiting for the bus to come.”
But it didn’t — at least not the one that was supposed to, as the original bus driver fell asleep.
“They forgot us,” said Dixon.
Added Kingery: “I think we waited like two hours before it came. We had to call around to get a bus, which took 45 minutes to get. It was rough.”
Dixon didn’t have class the next morning, so he slept in. But Kingery wasn’t so lucky.
“It was a late night,” Dixon said. “We were just hanging out at the hotel. We actually ended up getting in around 4:30.”