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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Comebacks help baseball sweep

    If late-inning clutch hits were a major, UA second baseman Brad Glenn earned his Ph.D. this weekend.

    Glenn led the Arizona baseball team to a three-game series sweep over Washington State, through nail-biting, come-from-behind victories that extended the Wildcats’ winning streak to 10 games.

    Arizona (25-11, 6-6 Pacific 10 Conference) concluded the series yesterday with a 4-2 win over the Cougars (19-18, 3-9), continuing the weekend-long theme of close games at Sancet Stadium.

    Left fielder Bobby Coyle delivered a one-out RBI single in the eighth inning to put Arizona up 3-2. With the bases loaded, Glenn launched a sacrifice fly to deep left-center field, scoring T.J. Steele for an insurance run.

    Such big-moment hitting came one day after Glenn delivered a walk-off, two-run home run Saturday night to give the Wildcats a 6-5 win. Glenn scored the game-winning run in the 12th inning off Rafael Valenzuela’s double on Friday.

    “”Good teams play better from the seventh inning on and they’ve been able to do that the last couple nights,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez.

    Starting pitcher Eric Berger (4-2) received the win after a stellar outing yesterday. He allowed one run on seven hits in eight innings, throwing 112 pitches – the most since his surgery in 2006. At one point, Berger retired 11 consecutive batters.

    After redshirting last season from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, Berger believes yesterday’s outing instilled confidence in not only himself, but also his teammates.

    “”I was in a groove today,”” Berger said. “”I just stuck with it, didn’t try to change anything, just tried to get myself out of the rut I’ve been in.

    “”I want to throw well to get myself back to where I was at,”” Berger added. “”I want to show the team that I’m back.””

    Added Lopez: “”He was spectacular. (His performance was) not only gratifying, but a very needed situation. He did a marvelous job.””

    As a ground-ball pitcher, Berger survived off solid defensive play, especially throughout the infield to keep the game close. While defensive miscues plagued a mid-season team slump, positive momentum has returned Arizona to consistent defense amidst its 10-game winning streak. The Wildcats recorded only one error over the weekend.

    “”Anytime you can look up and see zeros underneath the error column, it’s definitely a good feeling,”” Glenn said.

    Lopez said such improved defense plays a big role during the current winning streak.

    “”We’ve played clean defense and we’ve gotten a couple key hits,”” Lopez said. “”It’s been real consistent pitching with some defense and a couple timely hits.

    “”I’m okay with that,”” Lopez added. “”My heart would probably do well with a couple 10-run wins.””

    Arizona’s offense struggled early, forcing hitters to manufacture runs in unordinary ways despite WSU starting pitcher Chard Arnold’s 8.80 ERA entering the game.

    With C.J. Ziegler on first base, Glenn hit a hard chopper to short right field, allowing enough time for Ziegler to advance to third. As the relay throw came back into the infield, Glenn’s pickle allowed Ziegler to score, tying the game at 2-2.

    With six home runs in the last 13 games, Glenn raised his batting average up to .241.

    “”Everybody else on the team in the middle of the lineup – they’ve been carrying us the whole year,”” Glenn said. “”It’s about time I step up and start hitting.””

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