June 4, 2010
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FORT WORTH, Texas – The Arizona Wildcats held on in dramatic fashion to top Baylor, 10-9, in the first game of the Fort Worth Regional on Friday afternoon at Lupton Stadium.
The No. 3 seed Wildcats took a 10-4 lead into the ninth inning, but had to withstand a furious five-run rally by the No. 2 Bears to win by one win. Baylor, which left 12 runners on base, had the tying and winning runs on base when Bryce Bandilla got Raynor Campbell to fly out to right field to end the game.
Arizona (34-22) overcame 1-0 and 4-3 deficits to take a seemingly comfortable 8-4 lead in the top of the sixth that it extended to 9-4 and 10-4 with lone runs in the seventh and ninth innings.
Baylor (34-23) took the initial lead on a solo home run by Gregg Glime in the third inning. Steve Selsky answered back with a solo shot of his own in top of the fourth before Josh Garcia later launched a two-run home run to give the Wildcats a 3-1 edge. Selsky took over the team-lead in home runs with nine, while Garcia hit his first home run since March 21.
The Bears regained a 4-3 lead in the bottom of fifth inning. Arizona starter Kurt Heyer gave the three runs – one earned – on three doubles and an error.
Once again, the Wildcats immediately answered back as they scored five runs in the top of the sixth. Baylor reliever Shawn Tolleson issued a leadoff walk to Cole Frenzel, before the Bears committed three errors in the inning, including one by Tolleson, which accounted for the five unearned runs.
The first run in the inning scored on a fielder’s choice ground out by Seth Mejias-Brean. Alex Mejia followed with a two-run double, and Joey Rickard added an RBI single on an infield hit. Rafael Valenzuela drove in the fifth run with a groundout.
In the seventh, Robert Refsnyder hit a one-out single and moved to third on another single by Mejias-Brean. Mejia drove in Refsnyder with a groundout to second base.
Mejia, who was 3-for-4 in the game, collected his fourth RBI of the game with a single to left field in the ninth, giving UA a 10-4 lead.
The Wildcats escaped danger twice in the early innings. Heyer worked himself out of bases loaded jams in both the third and fourth innings as the Bears look to break the game open early.
In the seventh, Baylor again loaded the bases, but reliever Vincent Littleman again turned away the threat and stranded three Bears on base.
Heyer, who was named to the All-Pac-10 team on Thursday, improved to 7-4 as he turned in six-plus innings of work. He struck out five and walked four while scattering six hits.
Littleman pitched a steady two innings in relief, allowed no runs in the seventh and eighth innings. However, he issued a walk and gave up a hit to open the ninth before being lifted in favor of Bandilla.
Bandilla gave up a one-out base hit and later an RBI groundout that brough home two runs that were charged to Littleman. Bandilla then induced a potential game-winning groundout, but Mejia’s throw from shortstop was low and allowed designated hitter Chris Slater to reach and a third run to score, cutting the UA lead to 10-7.
The Bears loaded the bases two batters later with a single and a walk. Brooks Pinkard drove in two runs with a single to put Baylor within a run, before Bandilla was able to get the game’s final out on the flyball to Selsky in right.
Tolleson suffered the tough-luck loss despite allowing only one earned run in 3.2 innings of work. He replaced starter Logan Verret, who turned in 3.1 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits.
The win marks UA’s fifth-straight win in an NCAA regional opener dating back to the 2004 season. The 10 runs scored by the Wildcats were a season-high for the club away from home this season.
The Wildcats advance to the winner’s bracket of the regional. They await the winner of tonight’s TCU-Lamar game that began at 7 p.m. CDT. UA and the winner will meet tomorrow night at 7 p.m. CDT.