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Steele's Walk-Off Homer Pushes Baseball Past Northern Colorado, 7-5
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/26/2007
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            TUCSON, Ariz. ?- T.J. Steele hit a one-out, two-run homer to left in the bottom of the 12th inning to push Arizona past Northern Colorado 7-5 at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on Sunday. The extra-innings victory handed the Wildcats a three-game series sweep over the Bears (7-12), extended their winning streak to seven straight and improved them to 21-6 for the year.

 

            Steele’s home run capped off a four-hit day at the plate for the sophomore outfielder and helped Arizona complete a comeback in a contest that it trailed for nearly 8 2/3 innings.

 

            Down 6-5 with two outs in the ninth inning, Colt Sedbrook plated Robert Abel from third with a single up the middle to tie the game and force it into extra frames. UA relievers Daniel Schlereth and Paul Bargas then held UNC off the scoreboard for three additional innings before Steele ended the game with his second career homer.

 

            In the bottom of the 12th, Bill Rhinehart followed a C.J. Ziegler ground with a single to right and was replaced at first by pinch runner Hunter Pace. However, the move and Pace’s speed became irrelevant after Steele lofted Bear reliever Matt Collins’ 2-2 pitch over the left field fence and the pair trotted around the bases for UA’s second walk-off victory of the week.

 

            The two-run shot made a winner out of Bargas (2-1), who held UNC scoreless on two hits over the final two innings. The left-hander struck out one and walked none. Collins (0-1) was charged with the loss.

 

            Northern Colorado took advantage of a wild first inning to jump out to a 3-0 lead. The Bears plated three runs on two hits, a UA error and a walk by starter David Coulon.

 

            Arizona cut the lead to two at 3-1 with a run on a Ziegler sac fly in the bottom of the first and pulled even in the third on a two-run triple off the bat of Abel.

 

            The 3-3 tie didn’t last long, as UNC’s John Ray hit Coulon’s 3-1 offering over the left field fence for his second homer of the year to leadoff the fourth and force the Wildcat left-hander from the game. Reliever Mike Colla replaced Coulon on the mound and surrendered another run on a pair of walks and two-out double by Anthony Garcia before finally getting out of the inning with UNC ahead 5-3.

 

            The game remained that way until the eighth when Rhinehart reached on a fielder’s choice and scored from first on a Steele triple to deep to right field.

 

Abel was then hit by a pitch with two outs in the ninth, advanced to third on a single by Diallo Fon and trotted home with the game-tying run on Sedbrook’s single.

 

UNC missed out on a chance to pull ahead in the 11th when it loaded the bases with one out off of Schlereth with a single and a pair of walks. The Bears couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity however, as Schlereth worked out of the jam with an infield fly to first and a strikeout to leave all three runners on base.

 

Steele wrapped up his day 4 for 6 with the game-winning homer, a triple, three RBI, two stolen bases and a run scored. Fon (2 for 6, R), Sedbrook (3 for 6, RBI) and Rhinehart (2 for 6, R) all chipped in with multiple hits for the games for Arizona and Abel went 1 for 2 with a triple, two RBI and a run scored in the win.

 

Arizona will take on Arizona State on Wednesday in the 2nd-annual Challenge at Chase in Phoenix on Wednesday before opening Pac-10 play next Friday when it hosts defending national champions Oregon State in a three-game series at Kindall Field. First pitch Wednesday against the Sun Devils is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. with right-hander Ryan Perry the starter for the Cats.

 

Notes from Sunday

Arizona won two of its five games this past week on walk-off hits. Freshman Kevin Rodland joined Steele with game-winning hits when he drove home the the go-ahead run with one out in the ninth inning on Wednesday against Morehead State ... After allowing five runs on six hits and five walks in the first three innings, the Arizona pitching staff held Northern Colorado scoreless over the next nine innings on Sunday ... Relievers Ryan Perry, Jason Stoffel, Cory Burns, Daniel Schlereth and Paul Bargas teamed up to hold UNC to just six hits and two walks while striking out nine in the final nine innings

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Arizona Baseball Week in Review

(21-6, 0-0 Pac-10, 15-2 Home, 6-4 Road)

 

Last Week

March 20         Morehead State            W, 5-4

March 21         Morehead State            W, 7-6

March 24         Northern Colorado       W, 12-0 (Game One)

                        Northern Colorado       W, 6-2 (Game Two)

March 25         Northern Colorado       W, 7-5 (12 Innings)

 

Next Week

March 28         vs. Arizona State          6:30 p.m.

                        Challenge at Chase ?- Chase Field Phoenix

March 30         Oregon State                7 p.m.

March 31         Oregon State                6 p.m.

April 1              Oregon State                12 p.m.

 

Player of the Week Nomination

T.J. Steele, So., OF, Tucson, Ariz.

 

            Sophomore T.J. Steele hit a one-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning against Northern Colorado on Sunday to cap off a perfect 5-0 week for the Wildcats. The second-year starter’s second career home run led the Cats to a come-from-behind 7-5 win over the Bears and handed UA its first three-game series sweep since Feb 9-11 vs. New Mexico. He finished the series finale against UNC 4 for 6 with the walk-off  homer, a run-scoring triple, three RBI, two stolen bases and a run scored ... In the five games last week, Steele batted .381 (8 for 21) with a triple, a home run, five RBI and two runs scored.

 

Pitcher of the Week Nomination

Preston Guilmet, So., RHP, Citrus Heights, Calif.

 

            Right-hander Preston Guilmet (5-0, 1.70 ERA) tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout against Northern Colorado in the opening game of a double-header on Saturday. The sophomore ace struck out 11 batters, one off his career-best, in the first CG of his UA career and he issued just one walk to win his team-best fifth game of the season. His nine scoreless innings against the Bears on Sunday extended his streak to 21 1/3 consecutive innings without giving up a single run. Over his last two starts ?- at Hawaii on March 9 and vs. Northern Colorado on March 24 ?- Guilmet is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 23 strikeouts and just eight hits and five walks in 17 innings of work. After surrendering two runs in the third inning against Eastern Michigan on March 9, Guilmet held to Eagles scoreless over the next 4 1/3 innings in a win to start his current streak.

 

Week-In-Review

Arizona went 5-0 last week, defeating Morehead State in Tucson on Tuesday and Wednesday before sweeping a home three-game series against Northern Colorado over the weekend ... Friday’s series opener against Northern Colorado was rained out and forced the two schools to play a double-header on Saturday ... Arizona’s two wins in the twin-bill on Saturday were the 999th and 1,000th all-time for the program at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium ... The Wildcats won a pair of the games over the week on walk-off hits. Kevin Rodland drove home Brad Glenn from second with a one-out single in the bottom of ninth inning in Wednesday’s 7-6 win over Morehead State and T.J. Steele ended Sunday’s 7-5 come-from-behind win with a one-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th against Northern Colorado ... Arizona improved to 2-0 all-time against Morehead State and to 35-3 against Northern Colorado.

 

Offensive Numbers from the Week

After some recent struggles with the bats, the Arizona offense rebounded to hit .347 in the five games last week ... The Cats averaged 7.4 runs, 12.0 hits, 2.2 doubles, 1.0 triple and 7.0 RBI per game in the five contests ... As a team Arizona went 19 for 24 on the week in stolen bases ... Leadoff hitter Diallo Fon paced the club with a .520 individual batting average, going 13 for 25 with a double, a triple, two RBI and a team-best nine runs scored in five starts. He also went 6 for 7 in stolen base tries over the week ... Brad Glenn (.429, 3 for 7, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 5 BB, 2 HBP), Robert Abel (.400, 6 for 15, 3B, 3 RBI, 6 R, 4 for 5 SB), Colt Sedbrook (.389, 7 for 18, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, 4 BB), T.J. Steele (.381, 8 for 21, 3B, GW HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 3 for 3 SB) and Bill Rhinehart (.350, 7 for 20, 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 4 R) all hit over .300 for the week.

 

Pitching Numbers from the Week

The UA staff led the Cats to the five-game sweep by posting a 2.81 ERA in 48 innings pitched ... The UA hurlers struck out 59 hitters over the week and limited the opposisiton to a .219 batting average ... The five starters teamed up to go 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA and 34 Ks in 25 1/3 IP ... The bullpen chipped in with a 3-0 record, a 1.59 ERA, one save and 25 Ks in 22 2/3 IP ... Starter Preston Guilmet continued his season-long dominance by shutting out Northern Colorado over all nine innings in the opening game of the double-header on Saturday. As noted above, the right-hander picked up his fifth win of the year after allowing just three hits, while striking out 11 and walking only one in his first career complete game ... Left-hander Brad Mills settled down after a rough start in the second game of the twin-bill. The senior allowed just two runs on five hits over seven innings while striking out 10 and walking none. He improved to 5-2 on the year with the victory ... Setup man Cory Burns, who appeared in four the five games last week, picked up back-to-back wins against Morehead State on Tuesday and Wednesday, and went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 7 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out six and walked none ... Closer Daniel Schlereth picked up his team-leading seventh save of the year on Tuesday against Morehead State and gave up just one hit in three appearances last week. He finished with seven strikeouts and four walks for the week ... Schlereth’s save was the 14th in his career at Arizona, moving the left-hander into a tie with Ryan Moskau for second all-time at UA ... Mark Melancon recorded the most saves in school history with 18 from 2004-06.

 

Misc. Notes from the Season

Arizona has won seven straight contests dating back to March 11. Arizona opened the year with a season-high nine straight wins ... Including 5-4 and 7-6 wins against Morehead State last week, the Wildcats are 6-0 this season in one-run games ... Including the non-league games against Arizona State at Chase Field on Wednesday, Arizona has only four non-conference games left on its schedule (ASU on March 28 and Liberty May 4-6) ... Last year the Wildcats had a 13-14 overall record 27 games into the season.

 

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