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BASEBALL DROPS HEARTBREAKER 10-9 IN SERIES FINALE AT NO. 1 ARIZONA
TUCSON, Ariz. - The No. 1 ranked Arizona Wildcats came back from an early 5-0 deficit to defeat the Sacramento State Hornets 10-9 in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday, March 2 at Kindall Field.
With the loss, the Hornets fell to 1-5 on the season, while the Wildcats improved to 5-1.
Sacramento State was able to push runs across in each of the first three innings off of Wildcat starter Ryan Perry, building a 5-0 lead. In the top of the first, senior third baseman David Flores blasted a solo homer to center field, his first home run of the run, to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead. In the top of the second, junior shortstop Blake Crosby hit a double down the right field line, scoring senior designated hitter Wes Oberlin, who had reached on a one-out single to increase the lead to 2-0. One more run was pushed across in the inning, as senior outfielder Brian Boyd singled to right center, plating Crosby, to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Hornets would then light up the scoreboard for two more runs in the top of the third, as Flores led off the inning with a double, and scored on a RBI triple by senior first baseman Gabe Jacobo. Jacobo then scored on a sacrifice fly from sophomore outfielder Tim Wheeler to give the Hornets a 5-0 advantage.
The Wildcats, however, would get all five runs back in the bottom of the fifth, tying the score at 5-5. With one out, Robert Abel hit a two-run homer to left center, scoring Colt Sedbrook, who had reached on a fielders choice, making the score 5-2. The final three runs would all cross home plate with two outs, as Diallo Fon tripled down the right field line, Jon Gaston drew a walk, and C.J. Ziegler drove them in with a three-run blast to left field.
Sacramento State retook the lead in the top of the sixth, as senior catcher Travis Kirkman connected on a one-out single to right field and then stole second, which was followed by Boyd reaching on a walk. With runners at first and second, junior second baseman Hunter Martinez connected on a two-run triple to center field. The Hornets, however, missed an opportunity, as Martinez was stranded on third after reaching the base with just one out.
As was the tone for the series, the No. 1 ranked team in the land responded right back, scoring four runs in the bottom half of the inning, all with two outs. Dwight Childs earned a two-out walk, and reached third on a double by Fon to right field. Gaston then connected on a two-run single to center, scoring Childs and Fon. Ziegler then stepped to the plate with a runner on and connected on his second home run in as many at bats to give the Wildcats a 9-7 advantage.
The Hornets were not done yet, however, as in the top of the seventh they pushed two runs across the board to tie the game back at 9-9. Boyd hit a two-out two-run double to left center, scoring Oberlin, who had walked, and Kirkman, who had reached on an error.
The game's final run would be scored by Arizona in the bottom of the seventh, as T.J. Steele hit the eventual game-winning home run to center field. The Hornets had a chance in the top of the ninth to tie the game, as Wheeler led off the inning with a single, was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Oberlin, and advanced to third on a wild pitch with one-out remaining. But, again, the Hornets were unable to capitalize on a runner on third with one-out situation, popping up to the first baseman and striking out to end the contest.
Neither starter factored in the decision, as Arizona starter Perry was roughed up for five runs, all earned, on seven hits in just 2.2 innings. Hornet sophomore right-hander Trevor York pitched well, allowing five runs, just two earned, on six hits, striking out three in 4.2 innings pitched, before earning the no-decision. Hornet freshman Chris Baek was the hard-luck loser, allowing only one run, the Steele homer, in 1.2 innings pitched out of the Hornet 'pen. Left-hander Daniel Schlereth picked up the win out of the Wildcats bullpen, allowing two runs, neither earned, in 1.2 innings pitched with three strike outs, while closer Jason Stoffel picked up his third save of the season, pitching 2.0 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out two.
The Hornets were led at the plate by Martinez, who posted a 3-for-5 day at the plate with two RBI in his first career start. Boyd was 2-for-3 on the day with 3 RBI, while Flores was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI. Arizona was led by Ziegler, whose two home runs gave him 5 RBI on the day. Leadoff man Fon was 3-for-4 with a triple and two doubles, scoring two runs.
Sacramento State returns to action as it co-hosts the River City Classic with UC Davis this week, March 6-9, at Hornet Field. Participating teams include the Hornets and Aggies, as well as BYU, Portland, San Jose State and Utah Valley. Two games will be contested each day at Hornet Field, with one contest slated for 10 a.m. and the second contest, which will always feature the Hornets, scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Sacramento State will kick off tournament play against BYU on Thursday afternoon.
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