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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats fall to Utah 7-6, Utes score five runs in ninth inning

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Emily Gauci

Arizona pitcher JC Cloney (27) throws downfield during a game against UCLA in Tucson.

The Utah Utes scored five runs in the bottom of ninth inning, lifting them to a 7-6 comeback victory over the Arizona baseball team in Salt Lake City on Saturday.

The Wildcats, who recently had a couple of their own walk-off victories, took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but their bullpen couldn’t close the game out.

Cody Moffett started the inning on the mound and retired the first batter he faced, but things went awry from there. Utah’s Cole Taylor singled to left, then Kody Davis doubled to left, putting two runners in scoring position.

Moffett got the next batter to foul out, but was then replaced by Austin Rubick. Rubick promptly gave up a two-run single to Cody Scaggari, trimming Arizona’s lead to 6-4. Rubick then walked the next two batters to load the bases, putting the tying run on second and the winning run on first with two outs.

Left-hander Cameron Ming relieved Rubick, but Arizona couldn’t get the third out. Max Schuman singled through the left side, scoring two runs and tying the game at 6-6.

Then, with the winning run on second, Patrick Flynn completed the comeback, delivering a walk-off single to right field.

The Wildcats, who led for the entire game up until the ninth, wasted a stellar outing by JC Cloney.

Cloney was originally scheduled to start game one on Friday, but was a late scratch because of an illness, so his start was moved back a day.

The extra day of rest proved to be beneficial, as he pitched 7.1 innings, allowing just five hits and two runs and lowering his season ERA to 2.65.

Cloney held the Utes scoreless until the sixth inning and the Wildcats’ offense had no problem getting on the board early.

With two outs and bases loaded in the first inning, Jared Oliva singled to left, bringing home Ryan Aguilar and Zach Gibbons to give Arizona a quick 2-0 lead.

In the next inning, Cody Ramer, who had all three of Arizona’s RBIs in the series-opener, singled home JJ Matijevic to extend Arizona’s lead to 3-0.

A sacrifice fly by Aguilar in the fifth inning gave Arizona a 4-0 lead.

The Utes finally got on the board against Cloney in the sixth with an RBI single by Hunter Simmons and they tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth after Cody Deason balked in a run.

Still holding a two-run lead, the Wildcats added a couple of insurance runs in the top of the ninth.

With runners on the corners, Ramer dropped down a bunt and the Utes’ third baseman couldn’t handle it, allowing Kyle Lewis to score.

Ramer went 2-4 on the day with three RBIs, continuing a strong series performance for him.

A double steal by Ramer and Justin Behnke put them in scoring position with one out. Behnke would eventually score via an RBI groundout by Zach Gibbons, putting Arizona up 6-2.

Behnke had three hits in five at-bats.

Later in the inning, Alfonso Rivas would come to the plate with two runners in scoring position and two outs, but he grounded out to end the inning, stranding both runners.

It proved to be costly, as Arizona saw its four-run lead vanish in the bottom half of the inning.

The loss drops the Wildcats to a 17-10 overall record and a 3-5 Pac-12 Conference record.

They’ll look to avoid the sweep Sunday  and could be without third baseman/pitcher Bobby Dalbec for the second game in a row. Dalbec missed Saturday’s game with the flu.

First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.

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