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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball stuns No. 2 Stanford with comeback victory

Despite of one of its worst defensive performances of the season, the No. 8 Arizona baseball team scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk off with an 8-7 win over No. 2 Stanford tonight at Hi Corbett Field.

In terms of moments, Arizona starter Kurt Heyer had only one place on his list to put tonight’s win.

“This is probably number one for me,” Heyer said. “It’s not everyday you get to play the No. 2 team in the nation, the fan support was awesome.”

The Wildcats (19-7, 5-2 Pac-12) entered the home half of the ninth down 7-4, and with the combination of poor Stanford pitching and an electric Arizona crowd, the Cardinal (16-4, 2-2 Pac-12) simply crumbled.

Arizona center fielder Joey Rickard was hit by a pitch to lead off bottom half of the inning and after, Stanford starter Mark Appel and reliever David Schmidt walked the next two Arizona hitters.

With one out, third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean hit a rope into right field, scoring one, and leaving the bases juiced.

Then fifth-year senior Bobby Brown came to the plate, whose starting spot was in question until last week at Oregon State.

On an 0-1 pitch, Brown ripped a single up the middle that scored two, but Cardinal center fielder Jake Stewart couldn’t keep a hold of the ball, and Mejias-Brean charged in from third and crossed the plate.

The Arizona bench cleared and consumed Brown in celebration, reflecting the exuberance of the season-high 4,250 people in the stands.

“The crowd was amazing tonight,” Brown said. “It’s probably the game that I’ll always remember, hopefully we’ll have some more of those games to come.”

It was the highest recorded attendance for the Wildcats since March of 2008, and it wasn’t just the numbers, but the excitement that they brought.

During the Arizona rally, the stadium was shaking.

“You’re hearing a bunch of feet stomping in the stadium, it gets into the pitcher’s
mind,” Heyer said. “This is as much (the crowd’s) win as it is ours.”

Arizona head coach Andy Lopez echoed this sentiment, saying that in his ten years coaching in Tucson, he had never seen an atmosphere like this.

Things weren’t all peachy for the Wildcats though.

The UA defense committed a season high-five errors that were responsible for five of the seven Cardinal runs.

“We got away with one,” Lopez said. “We did not play very good baseball throughout the course of the game. We’re fortunate to get the win.”

In a contest that featured two of the best arms in the Pac-12 tonight’s match-up was originally touted as a pitcher’s duel.

Heyer and Appel only lived up to their billing for a first inning, comprised of consecutive one-two-three halves that only took eight minutes combined.

That was all the love either pitcher would get from the opposing defenses, as the pair gave up a combined 22 hits in the rest of the game.

Despite the offensive fury that persisted throughout the contest, the Wildcats were on top when the dust settled. Mejias-Brean thought that the odds of coming back in this contest were pretty
astronomical.

“They probably weren’t that great,” he said. “Probably like winning the lottery.”

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