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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Timely power keeps Arizona baseball from disastrous weekend

Over the first 23 games of the season, the No. 5 Arizona baseball team hit only two home runs, both by junior Alex Mejia.

But in their last two games, the Wildcats hit three — and they came with some dramatic flair.

“It couldn’t have happened at a better time,” catcher Riley Moore said. “It was when we needed it the most.”

Moore was part of back-to-back home run shots on Saturday night against No. 19 Oregon State to complete a ninth-inning rally and then Mejia added to his team-high total Sunday to preserve the series victory.

Arizona entered the top of the ninth inning on Saturday trailing 4-3 when designated hitter Bobby Brown walked up at the plate.

The fifth-year senior is batting just .239 on the season and had never hit a home run in his previous 205 career at-bats at Arizona — but this time was different.

Brown made his first career home run memorable, belting a solo shot to tie the game at 4-4.
However, the Wildcat rally wasn’t finished, and the second hero was just as unlikely as Brown.

Moore is a freshman who came to Arizona after walking a majority of his plate appearances at San Marcos High School his senior year. So far Moore hasn’t lit it up offensively as a Wildcat, batting .273 on the season.

But the freshman was ready for the big stage, as he improbably followed Brown’s lead and hit a second home run out of Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., completing the comeback 5-4.

“(They) were just really clutch at-bats from me and (Brown),” Moore said.

Not only were those the first back-to-back home runs this season, but they also propelled the Wildcats to a comeback victory that ended a three-game losing skid.

Mejia joined in on the long-ball fun in the series finale against the Beavers the following day.
Mejia’s solo shot in the top of the sixth inning extended the Wildcats’ lead to 7-5, which ended up being the final score.

His third home run of the season didn’t carry as much drama as either Brown or Moore’s, but it was another instance of clutch hitting for the Wildcats against the Beavers.

While the long ball finally became a factor for the Wildcats, head coach Andy Lopez attributes the emergence of power to the fact that the team finally was on the road.

“We love playing (at Hi Corbett Field), but it’s a big field,” Lopez said. “It’s a big park. We’re going to get our share of home runs, but we’re probably going to get most of it on the road.”

Arizona has played 25 games already this season, but only five of them on the road.

“We probably would have had more than a couple home runs if we were playing anywhere but Hi Corbett,” Lopez said with a laugh.

A smaller field in Corvallis may have helped the balls get over the wall, but the timeliness of the previously unseen home run still helped the Wildcats move to 4-2 in the competitive Pac-12 Conference.

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