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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball fends off Bears in NCAA regional

It wasn’t pretty, but the Arizona baseball team took advantage of sloppy defense by Baylor University to turn 13 hits into 10 runs and squeak past the Bears, 10-9, in the first round of the Fort Worth Regional Friday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas.

Freshman shortstop Alex Mejia plated four runners on three hits as Arizona made the best of four Baylor errors and grabbed hold of a 10-4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Bears scored five runs in the ninth against lefties Vincent Littleman and Bryce Bandilla, and had the go-ahead run at first base with two outs. But with runners on the corners, Bandilla induced a fly out and the Wildcats vaulted themselves into the winner’s bracket of the regional.

It was a back-and-forth contest early on as Baylor struck first, taking a 1-0 lead on a solo shot yielded by Arizona freshman Kurt Heyer, who allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits over six innings of work.

The Wildcats answered back with a pair of home runs by Steve Selsky and Josh Garcia to take a 3-1 lead, but the Bears wouldn’t go away.

After leaving the bases loaded to end the third and fourth innings, Baylor finally broke through with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to recapture the lead, 4-3.

But the Wildcats wouldn’t waste much time mounting a comeback. Baylor struggled to field the ball cleanly in the sixth inning, resulting in three errors and five Arizona runs, all unearned.

That run support allowed Heyer to keep the Wildcats afloat and hand the ball over to the Arizona bullpen that has been amongst the best in the country as of late.

The bullpen struggled for Arizona, however, but Bandilla ultimately shut the door for Arizona, which has now won five consecutive first-round playoff games.

With the victory the Wildcats will take on the winner of No. 1 seed and host Texas Christian University and No. 4-seeded Lamar University Saturday night at 5.

Arizona expects to start sophomore right hander Kyle Simon – 8-5, 3.91 ERA – in the contest.

 

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