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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Rice takes three-game series 2-1 over Arizona baseball

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Emily Gauci

Arizona infielder Kevin Newman gets a hit during Arizona’s 6-4 extra innings loss to Rice at Hi Corbett Field on Sunday. The Wildcats may have won Saturday’s matchup, but Rice won the three-game series 2-1.

The rally caps were on for Arizona baseball this weekend, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the overwhelming hitting power of No. 17 Rice. Arizona (6-2) lost the series 2-1 after losing Sunday’s rubber match at Hi Corbett Field.

The Wildcats rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the seventh inning to tie it up and push extra innings, but Rice (5-3) took advantage of a throwing error in the 10th to win the game 6-4.

Arizona first baseman Sawyer Gieseke committed the throwing error off a sac bunt by Grayson Lewis. He tried to connect with shortstop Kevin Newman at third to tag out Rice’s Ryan Chandler, but the ball ricocheted off the ground and into left field, allowing Chandler to score.

“It was a good one to win, tough one to lose,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “If Rice would have walked in here hitting .210 and averaging four or five hits a game, then I would have been concerned … but that’s a good hitting team.”

Arizona starting pitcher Tyger Talley pitched just 3.1 innings, giving up nine hits, four runs and recording three strikeouts. Relievers Cameron Ming, Bobby Dalbec and Xavier Borde combined to give up seven hits and two runs and prevented Rice from earning a run in the fifth through ninth innings.

“This proved to us that we’re never out,” Newman said. “It’s definitely good to know we can compete with anybody.”

Newman went 2-5 with an RBI on Sunday and scored on a game-winning walk off steal on Saturday to even the series.

Rice jumped out of the gate early on Sunday with a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Rice’s Ford Stainback reached home first, but was ejected at home plate after a tangle with Arizona catcher Riley Moore.

Arizona’s seventh inning rally came after Gieseke was hit by a pitch. Scott Kingery then hit a single that allowed Gieseke to beat out the throw at home plate. Kingery took off to second following the throw home, and Rice catcher John Clay Reeves overthrew second base to center field, allowing Kingery to round the bases for a two-run at-bat.

“I knew that as soon as I hit it, [Gieseke] would score,” Kingery said. “If they made a throw, I knew I would have to get into scoring position for Newman. When they made a bad throw and I saw the shortstop jump over me, I saw the ball rolling to the fence, and I just kept running.”

The second baseman also made a great defensive stop in the ninth inning off a grounder up the middle by Rice’s Charlie Warren. He flipped the ball back to Newman who had his foot on the bag to force out Connor Teykl, but the umpire ruled that Newman trapped the ball and called Teykl safe.

“It was tricky, because I was on top of the ball and the ball was in my mitt,” Newman said. “The umpire thought I was trapping it on the ground when the runner touched the bag, and I wasn’t.”

Rice ended Sunday’s game with 16 hits, contributing to their 43 total on the weekend. Rice’s Reeves went 5-6 with three RBIs in the afternoon matchup.

“That Reeves kid can hit,” said Dalbec, who recorded the decision loss. “They’re a tough team to pitch, and a tough team to beat.”

The Wildcats trailed 3-0 before scoring in the third inning in each game of the series. Arizona takes Monday off before returning to Hi Corbett Field to host Oakland for a two-game series on Tuesday.

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Follow Nicole Cousins on Twitter.

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