April 16, 2013
TUCSON, Ariz. - The 25th-ranked Arizona baseball team scored five unanswered runs over its final two at-bats to cap a wild come-from-behind victory, 10-9, over No. 18 Arizona State in a non-conference contest before a crowd of 5,396 at Hi Corbett Field on Tuesday night.
Brandon Dixon singled to lead off the eighth inning and eventually scored on one of Arizona State's five errors to tie the game and erase what was at one time a six-run deficit for the Wildcats. One out later, Riley Moore reached on an infield single, and Scott Kingery, who came off the bench in the sixth inning, roped a double to the left field wall that drove in Moore with the go-ahead run.
Closer Mathew Troupe closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning with a strikeout to collect his ninth save of the season.
Arizona (24-12) won for the ninth time in its last 10 games, including a seventh-straight win at Hi Corbett Field. It was also the Wildcats' 13th last at-bat victory over the last two seasons, with 10 of the thrilling wins coming at Hi Corbett Field.
Tuesday's comeback might have been the most improbable.
In a sloppily played game by both teams, Arizona trailed by scores of 6-1, 8-2 and 9-5 before scoring the game's final five runs. The Wildcats scored three times in the sixth, three times in the seventh and two times in the eighth.
The clubs combined to commit eight errors, issue 13 walks, hit four batters, throw three wild pitches and a passed ball. The Sun Devils were called for catcher's interference on one occasion, and Arizona had a run taken off the board following an appeal to third base for a runner leaving early after attempting to tag up.
Still, it was a resurgent Arizona offense and a stingy bullpen late in the game that proved to be the difference.
Trailing 8-2, Kevin Newman, who was 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored, ignited the comeback bid with a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth. Moore and Kingery, who entered as a pinch-hitter, each drew walks to load the bases.
Joseph Maggi drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, before Johnny Field was walked to re-load the bases. The Sun Devils appeared to escape the jam with a groundball to second baseman James McDonald, but his attempt to throw out Trent Gilbert sailed wide of first. Moore and Kingery both came in to score to cut the deficit to 8-5.
Arizona State (22-11-1) bounced back with a run off reliever Tyger Talley in the top of the seventh, but the Wildcats still had plenty of fight left in them.
Newman again sparked a big inning with a one-out single in the seventh. Moore was then hit by a pitch and Kingery drew his second walk of the game to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Jordan Berger drove in a run on a sacrifice fly off reliever Matt Dunbar, which left runners at the corners.
Maggi, who had two RBI in the game, lined a single to centerfield that easily scored Moore from third. Kingery raced around and drew a throw to third base, while Maggi took a wide turn around first and was eventually caught in a run down. While the Sun Devils attempted to retire Maggi, Kingery broke for home and beat the throw to the plate.
Suddenly the Wildcats had cut the Sun Devil's lead down to just one run, 9-8.
Augey Bill, who entered to pitch the seventh inning, went back out and pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Arizona seized control in the home half.
Trailing by a run, Dixon singled to open the bottom of the eighth. He was bunted to second by Zach Gibbons, and then stole third base. Catcher R.J. Ybarra's throw to third skipped down the left field line, which allowed Dixon to score the tying run.
With two outs in the inning, Moore reached an infield single that deflected off reliever Darren Gillies' glove. Kingery then turned on an inside fastball and drove it over left fielder Kasey Coffman's head for an RBI double to give Arizona its first lead since going up 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
Troupe was dominant in the ninth to earn the save. Bill (W, 4-0) earned the win after tossing two scoreless innings with no hits and one walk allowed.
Arizona State jumped on Wildcats' starter Nick Cunningham for six runs - four earned - over two-plus innings. The Sun Devils scored twice in the second to take a 2-1 lead, then scored four times in third.
Arizona Reliever Cody Moffett pitched 3.1 innings and gave up two runs on five hits, but slowed the momentum the Sun Devils' enjoyed over the first few innings.
Tyger Talley took over for Moffett in the sixth and pitched 0.2 innings with one run allowed. From there, Bill and Troupe combined to pitch three scoreless innings in relief.
For Arizona State, starter Zak Miller saw his solid start spoiled by the Wildcats' late heroics. Miller turned in five innings and allowed only two runs on three hits and two walks.
The Sun Devils' bullpen then allowed six hits and five walks over the next three innings. Gillies (L, 0-2) suffered the loss after giving up the two runs in the eighth.
Arizona will return to conference action this weekend. The Wildcats will open a three-game series against Stanford on Friday, April 19, at 7 p.m. at Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto, Calif. The game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.
GAME NOTES: The Wildcats held a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings Monday ... The crowd of 5,396 was the largest of the season at Hi Corbett Field, surpassing the 5,145 that passed through the gates on Opening Day (2/15) ... Arizona has won nine of its last 10 games, including seven-straight at Hi Corbett Field ... The Wildcats' last at-bat victory was the team's 13th since the start of the 2012 season. Of those, 10 have come at Hi Corbett Field ... Arizona's last three wins against Arizona State have come in the final at-bat. The Wildcats defeated Arizona State in walk-off fashion twice last May, including by scores of 1-0 and 8-7 ... Johnny Field, who went 2-for-3 and collected his 200th career hit, has reached base in 23-straight games ... Trent Gilbert saw an 11-game hitting streak come to an end ... Arizona, which committed only three errors in its previous six games, had three errors on Tuesday. It was the second-most errors in a game this season (4 vs. Columbia, March 10) ... Brandon Dixon's eighth-inning steal of third base was his Pac-12-leading 26th steal of the year. Dixon has stolen third base eight times in 2013.