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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Game blog: Arizona baseball continues College World Series against UCLA

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OMAHA, Neb. – It took 3 1/3 innings, but Arizona’s bats sprang to life in a fourth inning that proved to be the difference in a 4-0 win against UCLA in Sunday night’s World Series rematch between the Pac-12 co-champs.

UCLA pitcher Nick Vander Tuig did not allow a hit or walk a batter until a Johnny Field single broke up Vander Tuig’s attempt at a perfect game. Once Field got on, the gates swung open for the Arizona offense.

The next four batters all reached base, and Arizona plated four runs, two off of Seth-Mejias-Brean’s double and two more from a Bobby Brown standing up double that reached the corner wall in right field.

The Wildcats (45-17) took a 4-0 lead, but UCLA came storming back in the top of the fourth, much in the way Arizona took the lead.

UA starting pitcher Konner Wade, who was also perfect until the fifth inning Bruin rally, retired the first two batters easily, before giving up three hits in a row that loaded the bases with two outs. Wade, however, was luckier than Vander Tuig, as Kevin Williams’ bloop to left field was caught by Field, ending the threat.

Over the fifth and sixth frames, Vander Tuig regained his form, retiring all six UA batters he faced in order.

Wade remained hot, recording his fourth strikeout of the game on his 84th pitch of the evening in the seventh inning. The Cody Regis strikeout came in a stretch where Wade retired six of seven Bruin batters.

Over the eighth and ninth innings, Wildcat batters could not get anything going against the Bruin relief crew, as they were only able to record one hit after the four-run fourth, a Riley Moore single in the seventh inning.

Wade pitched a five-hit complete game shutout, only the 79th in College World Series history. The last time Arizona pitched a shutout, in 1980, the Wildcats won the World Series.

***

Wade’s night keeps getting better, as his defense has helped keep UCLA from getting across home plate. In the seventh, Wade struck out two and forced a groundout, continuing his effort for the what would be the first Wildcat World Series shutout since 1980. In 1980, Arizona won the World Series.

The eighth inning went quickly for Arizona batters, as they were retired in order for the fifth time in the game.

Arizona leads 4-0 in the top of the ninth

***

After Wade’s long half inning rest provided by Arizona’s batters, he gave up three straight hits to UCLA batters, almost mirroring the inning before it. The Bruins were able to load the bases with two outs, but thanks to a Kevin Williams pop out to Johnny Field, Arizona got out of the top of the fifth unscathed.

Vander Tuig regained his pre-fourth inning form, striking out Joey Rickard, who now 0-for-three with three strikeouts, and Johnny Field. Alex Mejia popped to third baseman Kevin Kramer, ending the fifth inning. In the sixth, he forced every Wildcat batter out in order again, two via strikeout.

Before the Bruins’ Beau Amaral got a chance to lead off the inning, Arizona head coach Andy Lopez replaced freshman first baseman Joe Maggi with Brandon Dixon, as usual in the top of the sixth.

UA’s Wade remains hot, giving up just one hit in the fifth to UCLA. Through six, Wade has tossed 72 pitches, 51 of which went for strikes.

4-0 Arizona top of the seventh.

***

The Wildcats finally found a way a way to best Vander Tuig, who remained perfect through 4 1/3 innings before left fielder Johnny Field singled to right field. Shortstop Alex Mejia was next to single, moing Field into scoring position. Robert Refsnyder continued the hitting parade for the UA, loading the bases with one out with a single of his own.

Seth Mejias-Brean stepped to the plate, and pounded a double into right-center field, scoring Arizona’s first two runs of the game. Bobby Brown knocked Arizona’s second consecutive double, scoring another two runs, prompting UCLA to start warming up pitchers in their bullpen.

The Wildcats had five hits in the inning, all of them in a row from Field, Mejia, Refsnyder, Mejias-Brean and Brown.

Every UA batter has been out once, while center fielder Joey Rickard is 0-2 with two strikeouts. Vender Tuig has thrown 68 pitches, 48 of them for strikes. Prior to the fourth inning, Vander Tuig had just 33 pitches. All four Arizona runs were charged to Vander Tuig.

The Wildcats are a perfect 3-0 when the opposing team does not score a run.

4-0 Arizona top of the 5th

***

A pitcher’s duel has ensued in Omaha. Prior to Sunday night’s game, left-fielder Johhny Field spoke on the importance of having a confident Konner Wade on the mound if the Wildcats are going to succeed.

Arizona got just that in the early going, as Wade threw just 14 pitches in the first two innings and retired every single batter, in order.

Nick Vander Tuig, pitching for the Bruins was equally as impressive, throwing —-pitches in the first two innings. Vander Tuig has also retired every batter and has only thrown 24 pitches through two.

0-0

***

There are no changes in the Arizona starting lineup for tonight’s game against UCLA:

1. Joey Rickard (.329)
2. Johnny Field (.379)
3. Alex Mejia (.362)
4. Robert Refsnyder (.354)
5. Seth Mejias-Brean (.357)
6. Bobby Brown (.347)
7. Joseph Maggi (.326)
8. Riley Moore (.300)
9. Trent Gilbert (.276)

P: Konner Wade (9-3, 4.49 ERA)

**Maggi is likely to be replaced sometime after the fifth inning for Brandon Dixon (.248)

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