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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cats come back against UCLA

    Ari Lerner / Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Ari Lerner / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Lulled to sleep by a sharp Bruin starter for six innings, Arizona’s bats picked the exact right moment to wake up.

    Down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats scored three times to take a two-run lead they would never relinquish, downing UCLA 4-3 last night at Sancet Stadium.

    With the win, the Wildcats (15-16) improved to 3-4 in Pacific 10 Conference play, and, coupled with the rest of Pac-10 action last night, tied the Bruins (18-15) for sixth place in the nine-team league.

    “”It’s huge, I think this conference is up for grabs, there’s no one that’s really going to run away with it,”” said junior shortstop Jason Donald, who finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and a RBI. “”And I think … if we get hot, we can definitely win this conference.””

    Said Arizona head coach Andy Lopez: “”Every game’s a monster now, because you only have eight weekends (of conference play), and if you don’t do it in eight weekends, there’s no NIT, so you got to get ready.

    “”I have a funny feeling that the Pac-10’s going to be very close, I really don’t think there’s going to be one team that’s going to run away and carry themselves away.””

    Freshman center fielder Jon Gaston got things rolling by ripping a pitch from the Bruins’ Paul Oseguera that allowed senior designated hitter Derek Decater to score from third and, after a throwing error by Bruin center fielder Josh Roenicke, senior second baseman Brad Boyer motored home as well to help the Wildcats take their first lead of the game at 3-2.

    “”That’s my job,”” said Gaston, who finished 1-for-3 with the RBI. “”When I go up there, it’s just my job to get on, and if someone’s out there, it’s my job to get them in.””

    Oseguera, a one-time Wildcat recruit, entered the game with a 0.84 ERA and two saves in 21.1 innings over 14 appearances.

    “”We didn’t know that, we try not to look into that stuff too much,”” said Donald, who added to the Wildcat lead a batter later by doubling home Gaston. “”Sometimes stupidity is the key. The less you know, the better.””

    “”On paper when he came in, I went ‘Oh boy, here we go,'”” Lopez said. “”But we did a good job when we had to.””

    The Bruins would add a run in the top of the ninth to cut down on the Wildcats’ breathing room, but after relieving freshman starter Preston Guilmet, freshman lefty Daniel Schlereth (2-3) pitched the game’s final four innings – limiting UCLA to one run on two hits – for the win.

    Schlereth got the nod because junior closer Mark Melancon is unavailable for the series because of a stomach ailment.

    Oseguera (2-1) was charged with the loss.

    “”Anytime you can win (the first game of a series), it sets the tone for the rest of the weekend,”” Donald said. “”It puts them against the wall a little bit, and then us in a forward lean.””

    UCLA’s starter, right-handed redshirt junior Hector Ambriz, held the Wildcats in check for the first six innings, striking out four against eight hits and three walks while surrendering a lone run.

    “”I think any time you can knock a starter out and get into a team’s bullpen, that’s always a plus for your offense,”” Donald said. “”We definitely did a good job tonight of attacking their bullpen, that’s what you have to do to win (the first game of a series).””

    Ambriz, who was also in the Bruin lineup as a designated hitter, singled past a diving Boyer at second base in the top of the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie, plating freshman shortstop Brandon Crawford to put the Bruins up 2-1.

    Relaying a throw from junior right fielder Bill Rhinehart, Boyer gunned down UCLA’s freshman left fielder Tim Murphy at the plate on the same play to prevent the Bruin lead from growing even larger.

    The Wildcats had a number of scoring chances thwarted early on by stellar Bruin defense, including a diving stop by redshirt senior Sean Smith at second base after the ball had gone through the umpire’s legs, which, from his knees straight from his glove, he flipped to Crawford, who completed the double play.

    UCLA got things started in the top of the first, when Crawford led off the game with a homerun, his fourth of the year, taking Guilmet’s 3-2 pitch to right for a 1-0 lead.

    The Bruins threatened to add more when they loaded the bases with nobody out three batters later, but Smith popped out to Arizona’s freshman first baseman Brad Glenn in foul territory and then Guilmet induced senior first baseman Brett McMillan into an inning-ending double play to end the threat.

    Decater tied the game for the Wildcats an inning later, when he singled home junior catcher Konrad Schmidt, who was on with a double.

    The teams continue their three-game set tonight at 6 with junior left hander Brad Mills (3-2, 3.75) toeing the rubber for the Wildcats against the Bruins’ own junior lefty Dave Huff (3-2, 2.69).

    Tomorrow, sophomore southpaw David Coulon (1-2, 5.40) will face UCLA’s junior righty Tyson Brummett (4-4, 3.98) at noon.

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