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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball tops UC Riverside 4-3

Jen Pimentel
Arizona infielder Cody Ramer swings at the ball during Arizona’s 11-5 win against St. Mary’s on March 6 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats defeated UC Riverside 4-3 on Wednesday.

With Arizona baseball and UC Riverside tied going into the ninth inning, Ryan Aguilar drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded to send home Louis Boyd to win the game 4-3 — the second walk-off win for the Wildcats in the last three games.

The win moves Arizona to 17-8 on the season.

“I thought we responded well today,” Arizona baseball head coach Jay Johnson said. “It was a good win. I just wish we wouldn’t wait until the ninth inning.”

Johnson had to go deep into his bullpen, using seven different pitchers to get series split against UC Riverside.

Austin Schnabel was unable to retire a batter, giving up a single, double and walk to load the bases. Johnson wasted no time to take him out, and left it up to left-hander Cameron Ming to get the Wildcats out of the jam.

“We have what we call a magic moment of every game that we win, which is a kinda tipping point or turning of the victory,” Johnson said.

Ming was responsible for this game’s magic moment, starting by getting left-hander Cameron Haskell to strike out, then Tony Gudino hit a chopper just in front of the plate, and Cesar Salazar waited for the ball to drop down and turned to home, tagging out Mark Contreras just in time to prevent him from scoring.

With the bases still loaded and two down, Ming got Yeagar Taylor to strike out.

The Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Cody Ramer started off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Aguilar bunted him over to third, and Bobby Dalbec drove a double to left field just short of a home run to drive him in. Rivas then singled to left field to score Dalbec.

In the bottom of the second inning, Jared Oliva smacked Matthew Ellis’s first pitch to left center for his second home run of the season, putting the Wildcats up 3-0.

“I was talking to some of the coaches before just about the mental approach for the game,” Oliva said. He said he looking for a good pitch to hit, and he found it immediately on Ellis’s first pitch fastball.

After scoring in the first two innings, the Wildcats offense cooled down. They only had two base runners from the third to sixth inning. Rivas drew a walk in the third, and Aguilar singled in the fifth.

Ming gave up a solo homerun in the fourth to Taylor, and the Highlanders slowly began to come back.

Related: Arizona could make run at Pac-12 crown following series win over Bruins.

The Highlanders would score again in the fifth to cut the lead down to one. Right-hander Kevin Ginkel came into pitch in the fifth, but walked both the batters he faced. Johnson turned to Cody Deason. He limited the damage to one run, only giving up a double to Taylor, which scored Fernandez.

Deason remained in the game in sixth, and retired the side in order.

Riverside kept threatening, and after Adonis Morrison led off the seventh with a double down the leftfield line, Johnson put in right-hander Rio Gomez, who only lasted one batter after giving up a walk and allowing Morrison to advance to third on a wild pitch.

Austin Rubick then came in and got three batters to ground out, but Morrison scored from third on a ground ball to tie the game.

Rubick retired two batters to begin the eighth. Dalbec moved from third to pitch after Rubick gave up a single and was down in the count 2-0 to Contreras. Dalbec started by hitting Contreras, but he got Colby Schultz to pop out to get out of the jam.

“We had to grind,” Johnson said. “It took Cameron Ming’s bull dog performance, Austin Rubick — he’s really improving — and Cody [Deason] did Cody’s thing and stabilized the game, and got it to where we could get Bobby in for a few pitches.”

Tied at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Boyd started the rally by executing a perfect bunt down the third base line for a basehit. He reached second on a ground ball, and with Oliva at the plate; he advanced to third on a wild pitch.

After the wild pitch, the Highlanders intentionally walked Oliva with first open to set it up for Ramer. Jacob Worrell walked Ramer on four pitches to load the bases for Aguilar. Worrell seemed to be caught up in the moment, and walked Aguilar to force Oliva in from third to win the game.

“We definitely put off some rallies from last Saturday [to] here,” Oliva said. “It just takes a few quality at bats. We had a good feeling we were gonna win the ball game that inning.”

After the walk-off win, the Wildcats are now off to Utah to play a three game series against Utah and one game against BYU.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter

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