TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Jason Donald drove home Brad Boyer with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the Arizona baseball team rallied to defeat La Salle 3-2 at Kindall Field on Sunday. The victory handed the Wildcats their first three-game series sweep of the season and improved their record to 8-4 overall. The Explorers dropped to 0-3 with the loss.
Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Donald delivered the game-winning hit with his second run-scoring double of the contest, a two-out liner down the left field line off of La Salle closer Gerard Breslin. The hit allowed Boyer, who reached on a one-out single and stole second, to score and hand the Wildcats their first lead of the game.
“Jason came up with a pretty clutch hit,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “But that’s what we expect from a guy that’s been in the program and has had some success. To tell you the truth, I’d have been more surprised if he didn’t come through in a situation like that.”
La Salle threatened to pull even in the ninth, but right-hander Mark Melancon stranded the tying run at second with one out on a pair of strikeouts to close the door on the victory and the series.
Melancon (2-1) picked up the win after coming in for starter Brad Mills in the sixth inning. UA’s closer struck out seven, walked none and gave up just one hit over the final 3 2/3 innings of the contest.
La Salle’s Breslin (0-1) was charged with the loss after giving up Donald’s hit in the eighth. Starter Dan Waters pitched well in a no-decision effort, limiting the Wildcats to two runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Trailing 2-0 for the majority of the game, Arizona rallied to tie the score in the bottom of the sixth on back-to-back doubles off of Waters by Donald and sophomore Eric Berger.
Donald’s first two-bagger of the game plated Colt Sedbrook from first base to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard, and Berger’s fourth double of the year rewarded Donald with a trip home to tie the game.
La Salle jumped out to its only lead in the series with a pair of runs off of Mills in the first inning. Left fielder John Vincent, who finished 3 for 4 on Sunday, and first baseman John Rickards posted run-scoring hits with two outs for the Explorers in the opening frame.
Arizona will head out of town for the first of two consecutive weekend road trips next Friday when it travels to Minneapolis, Minn., to take part in the Dairy Queen Classic at the Metrodome. The Wildcats will face Minnesota on Friday, Nebraska on Saturday and Notre Dame on Sunday.