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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball downs No. 2 Stanford to win series

On the heels of a dramatic comeback victory on Friday, starting pitcher Konner Wade led the No. 8 Arizona baseball team to a 4-2 win over No. 2 Stanford (16-5, 2-3 Pac-12).

“It was big that we didn’t have a letdown,” Wade said. “We dropped the game last night from our system because it didn’t have any bearing on the outcome of today’s game. We needed to come out strong — and we did.”

Instead of the letdown it feared, Arizona (20-7, 6-2 Pac-12) came out strong from the start, thanks to a dominant performance by Wade.

The sophomore threw a complete-game, three-hitter for the Wildcats, shutting down a Stanford offense that head coach Andy Lopez described as one of the best he’s seen.

Wade retired the first five batters and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. His only flaw through the start of the game was a hit batter in the second inning.

“That kid — day in and day out— he’s just a phenomenal player,” junior Alex Mejia said. “Every time you go out there, you know you have a chance to win.”

The offense also started out of the gate quickly.

Mejia hit a two-out double straight at the third baseman Stephen Piscotty in the bottom of the first inning.

The Wildcats went straight back at Piscotty, as junior Robert Refsnyder followed had a soft hit over the head off the Cardinal third baseman. That single by Refsnyder turned into the first run of the game after the leftfielder misplayed it.

Wade ended up pitching 5.1 hitless innings before an infield single straight back at him broke up his no-hit bid in the sixth inning.

“It was a special night,” Lopez said. “When you have two good programs getting together like this, some guy is going to have a special day at the plate, some guy is going to have a special day on the mound. We’re fortunate we had it on our side.”

This was the second time Wade took a no-hitter into the sixth inning this season — the first coming in a 3-1 win against Harvard — but Stanford punished the junior this time around.

After men reached second and third in the sixth, the Cardinal tied the game up with a sacrifice fly. Junior Seth Mejias-Brean then misplayed a grounder later in the inning, allowed Stanford to take the lead.

Fortunately for the Wildcats, the favor was quickly returned by Stanford.

First a wild throw allowed senior Bobby Brown to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Then first baseman Brain Ragira botched a routine grounder to let the Wildcats retake a one run advantage, 3-2.

“We had a great pitching performance,” Lopez said. “They made a couple of small mistakes that we capitalized on, and we get to go home with the win.”

Wade shook off the little surge by Stanford and returned back to his unforgettable night.

“I just needed to get back to what I was the rest of the game— trying to get ground balls and trying to get my teammates the ball,” Wade said. “I have a great defense behind me and I know that they’re going to make the plays.”

Arizona added its final run when reliever David Schmidt hit Mejia with a pitch with the bases loaded.

“If you put two top-10 clubs on the field, it’s going to come down to the little details of the game,” Lopez said.

The offense could have made the victory a little more comfortable for Wade considering the Wildcats left 12 men on base and only scored their runs off of errors and a hit batter.

“We could have done a better job with situational hitting, but you have to give credit to Mooneyham too,” Lopez said. “That’s not an average arm out there — that’s a really good arm.”

The victory clinched a series win for Arizona and kept the Wildcats tied for first-place in the Pac-12 with UCLA.

Wade said the victory ranks as one of his best ever, especially in front of the 3,500 people in attendance at Hi Corbett Field, but he said the job isn’t done yet for the Wildcats.

“It’s great to get two wins, but we’re not satisfied,” he said. “We want to get another one.”

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