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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Padre’s walk-off single secures sweep

    Second baseman Colt Sedbrook congratulates Oliver Padre after his game-winning hit in front of UA assistant coach Keith Francis.
    Second baseman Colt Sedbrook congratulates Oliver Padre after his game-winning hit in front of UA assistant coach Keith Francis.

    Tied at 6 in the bottom of the eighth inning, he had grounded out to end the inning and end the scoring threat. So in the bottom of the tenth, Oliver Padre had a shot at redemption.

    Padre turned a curveball from Liberty’s Tim John into a one-out bloop single that scored pinch runner Hunter Pace and lifted the No. 15 Arizona baseball team (35-11) to a 7-6 win and a three-game sweep of the Flames (28-22).

    “”Curveball. That what’s he was going to with most of our right-handed hitters,”” said the freshman designated hitter Padre, who was removed from his redshirt last Saturday at UCLA. “”I should have known that the first time, but I knew if I came up the second time, I would be seeing the same stuff.””

    Two innings earlier, Padre had runners on first and second with two outs, but grounded to Liberty shortstop Patrick Gaillard to end the threat.

    “”That was a little frustrating not to come through that time,”” Padre said, “”but I got a second chance and I took advantage of it.””

    Left fielder Bill Rhinehart’s single to right got things started in the tenth. After first baseman Brad Glenn popped out, center fielder T.J. Steele was hit by a pitch, setting the stage for Padre.

    “”I won’t deny the fact that I really would have like to have kept his freshman year in a redshirt mode, but we were struggling offensively when we were heading to UCLA and we needed a little bit of a jumpstart,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”(Padre) and Hunter Pace have been the guys that have given us a jumpstart a little bit.””

    Padre also had a sac fly in the sixth that gave Arizona the lead at 6-5, but UA lefty David Coulon took over for starter Mike Colla in the seventh and gave up a run-scoring single that tied the game at 6.

    With two outs in the top of the second, Colla got himself into trouble. Despite getting two strikes on the next five batters, all five reached base – including a triple and a double – as Liberty jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

    Rhinehart led off Arizona’s half of the inning with his eighth home run of the season, a career high, and Steele followed that with his third homer of the weekend, a two-run shot, as the Wildcats cut the lead to 5-3.

    A balk and an infield single later, Arizona knotted it at five.

    “”It was good to see us do that,”” Lopez said of Arizona’s ability to tie the game so quickly. “”I can’t remember the last time we’ve done that, and I’m not knocking the hitters. It’s just been a long time since someone put up a three- or a four-run inning, and we just said, ‘Well, you know what, we’ll wipe that off the board right now.’

    “”Today we needed some offense in a clutch situation, and when you’re down 5-0, that’s about as much as you need it.””

    Steele, who was hitting .321 entering the weekend, upped his average to .358 after going 11-for-14 on the weekend with eight RBIs and five runs scored. He now has seven home runs on the season.

    “”The ball’s that he’s squaring up, they’re shots,”” said second baseman Colt Sedbrook, who finished 3-for-4.

    It was a far cry from a slump earlier this season that saw Steele hit just once in 20 at-bats.

    “”It’s a funny game of baseball, man,”” Steele said. “”You get out here and you hit good, and then other times you’re not.””

    After the rocky second inning, Colla retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced, and went a career-high six innings. He gave up the five runs on seven hits and struck out four against one walk.

    Righty Daniel Schlereth (2-0) gave up just one hit over the game’s final 1 1/3 innings for the win.

    John (2-2) took the loss for the Flames.

    Extra bases
    Arizona’s seven home runs in the series were a season high. … The Wildcats are now 4-0 in extra inning games, and have four walk-off wins.

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