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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball gets first Pacific 10 series win against Cal

Annie Marum / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Baseball vs Cal Double Header
Annie Marum
Annie Marum / Arizona Daily Wildcat Baseball vs Cal Double Header

With No. 22 Arizona baseball down by two runs to the No. 13 California Golden Bears in the bottom of the ninth on Friday night, the Wildcats needed a spark from their lagging offense.

The answer started with pinch hitter Bobby Brown, who doubled into the gap with one out. After Alex Mejia drew a walk to put two runners on, Josh Garcia stepped up to the plate and blooped a double down the left field line to tie the game 4-4.

Bobby Rinard came into pinch run for Garcia, who would come around to score the winning run on Jett Bandy’s walk-ff single to give Arizona a 5-4 win.

It was much-needed victory for the Wildcats (22-11, 4-5 Pacific 10 Conference), who had previously dropped three straight against conference teams. Friday night’s successes propelled the team to win the first game of the Sunday double header, 10-8, that secured the series victory over the Bears (20-9, 6-3).

Despite losing the second game of the double header 17-7, the confidence from getting their first series win will be essential for the team’s progression.

“”It feels real good. We want to win in the Pac-10,”” Bandy said. “”We’re a good team out of conference, but that doesn’t mean anything until you can do it in the Pac-10.””

Despite being on the hook for the loss before the offensive production came, Friday starter Kurt Heyer was stellar in his outing, striking out 11 over 8.2 innings of work.

After Saturday’s contest was rained out, the double header on Sunday gave way to an offensive explosion for both sides.

Both teams combined to score 42 runs on an unthinkable 65 hits in the 18 innings played on Sunday.

After winning the first game, Arizona’s bullpen struggles returned in the second game.

“”The second game got out of hand, we played sloppy in the outfield and did some (other bad) things,”” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “”We obviously didn’t get any help from the bullpen, and that’s really a concern for me.

“”We really need to get us a couple of guys out of the pen, to get us to (closer Matt Chaffee).””

While the offensive and defensive efforts have been pretty consistent, the lack of a consistent bullpen puts extra pressure on Arizona’s starters to go deep in the game and give Chaffee a lead. In the eighth inning of both of the Sunday games, the Wildcats let in a combined 10 runs.

Regardless of the struggles in the bullpen, the club is satisfied with securing the series win this weekend, and that confidence will be necessary when the Wildcats face the No. 24 UCLA Bruins next week.

“”We really needed the wins this weekend, that was huge for us,”” Chaffee said after the game. “”Hopefully we can keep that up for next week.””

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