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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Comeback ‘Cats down UNLV

Valentina Martinelli/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Valentina Martinelli
Valentina Martinelli/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

During the Arizona baseball team’s Tuesday night loss to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, it was the Runnin’ Rebels (7-3) that came up with the timely hits down the stretch, resulting in a 12-10 Arizona loss.

But the Wildcats turned the tables Wednesday night, as they fought back from a two-run deficit in the bottom of the 12th inning to ultimately steal a 5-4 victory after more than four hours of play.

“”If there’s one thing about this group, they don’t give up,”” said head coach Andy Lopez. “”They played hard last night and they played hard tonight. They compete.””

The Wildcats put the marathon of a game on ice after sophomore Bobby Brown singled, stole second and ultimately scored on a UNLV error committed on a sacrifice bunt by freshman shortstop Alex Mejia.

A night after stranding 11 runners on base, Arizona, once again, couldn’t capitalize on runners in scoring position. It stranded 12 base runners, but got the big hits when they mattered most.

“”I think we had a lot of momentum at the end of this game,”” said sophomore right fielder Steve Selsky. “”We had a lot more opportunities that finally kicked in.””

After the Rebels surged ahead in the top of the 12th off a two-run home run from UNLV second baseman Travis Feiner, Arizona answered back, plating two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.

Sophomore outfielder Ethan Chavez singled up the middle and after a wild pitch, sophomore catcher Jett Bandy drove him home with a single of his own.

Later in the inning with two outs and Bandy now on third, freshman center fielder and Las Vegas native Joey Rickard tied the game with a single through the left side of the infield.

“”I didn’t want to miss the fast ball,”” said Rickard, who finished the night 1-for-5 with two RBIs. “”They’re all big games, but this one’s a good one to get.””

While the late-game hitting propelled Arizona past the Rebels, it was the Wildcats’ pitching that kept them in the game. After getting blasted for six runs in 1 2/3 innings on his last start, junior starter Daniel Workman went 4 1/3 innings, allowing only one run on two hits.

“”The game plan today was throwing a lot of strikes,”” Workman said. “”That was something we kind of struggled with this past weekend was pounding the zone when we had guys on base and stuff.””

Workman threw only 75 pitches since he was on a pitch count due to arm soreness he’s been dealing with all season. But the redshirt junior was solid, and for the first time in three games, the bullpen followed suit.

In a combined 8 2/3 innings the Arizona bullpen only yielded two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while punching out eight UNLV hitters.

“”I’m real pleased with those guys. They did a good job,”” Lopez said of the bullpen. “”Working back from Joe Allison, Tyler Hale, (Nick) Cunningham, Vince Littleman. They did a good job.””

Lopez has been preaching all season that pitching is imperative to the success of the team, and it certainly showed. Aside from a two-run home run that Hale conceded in the top of the 12th, the UA pitchers were near dominant.

“”There was just one pitch that they got two runs off, but besides that our pitchers were shutting them down,”” Selsky said. “”When our pitchers are throwing strikes, it’s amazing. The tempo is better. You can definitely feel the difference.””

Arizona did the little things Wednesday night — five stolen bases, an RBI sacrifice fly as well as numerous sacrifice bunts — that don’t show up in the box score.

“”As a young group they’re going to have to make some things happen,”” Lopez said. “”They’re going to have to make momentum for themselves.””

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