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Cats' Late Rally Falls Short
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/07/2009
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March 7, 2009

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TUCSON, Ariz. – A late-innings rally by the Arizona baseball team was not enough to overcome an early deficit as the Wildcats fell to Massachusetts, 9-8, on Saturday afternoon at Jerry Kindall Field.

The Wildcats, trailing 8-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth, rallied with four runs in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth, but it was not enough to overcome the visiting Minutemen.

Massachusetts starter Mitchell Clegg earned his first victory of the season and tossed seven innings, limiting the Arizona offense to only one run on five hits.

Arizona starter Donn Roach dropped his second game of the season, lasting only three innings. The freshman right hander allowed five runs – four earned – on seven hits.

The Minutemen jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the first off Roach, capped by a two-run double by Peter Copa.

The teams traded scoreless innings until the fourth, when Massachusetts added two more runs to its tally. A leadoff walk to Copa and a pair of defensive miscues by the Wildcats led to a 5-0 deficit by the time the inning was over.

After the minutemen extended the lead to 6-0 in the top of the sixth, Arizona broke its offensive slump with a single run in the bottom of the sixth on a Daniel Butler solo homerun.

Massachusetts answered with what seemed to be merely a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning. But the two runs off reliever Joe Allison proved to be more important than first thought an inning later.

In the eighth, the Wildcats scored four runs – all with two outs. After a pair of walks in the inning by Dillon Baird and Bobby Coyle, freshman Jett Bandy blasted a homerun off the center field batters eye to cut the Massachusetts lead to 8-4.

Later in the inning, Mike Weldon singled home Codi Harshman, who had reached on an error, and suddenly the Wildcats trailed only 8-5.

Arizona brought in junior Jason Stoffel to pitch the top of the ninth, but he yielded a one-out hsolo homerun to Mike Donato, which pushed the lead back to a four-run margin at 9-5.

After two quick outs in the ninth inning, the Wildcats again mounted a two-out rally. Mitchell Eilenberg was in line to earn his first save of the season, but back-to-back walks with two outs opened the door for the Wildcats.

Bobby Coyle then tripled to right field, which scored Luyben, who was pinch running for Rafael Valenzuela, and Baird. Bandy followed with a single to score Coyle from third, and suddenly Arizona trailed by only one.

Massachusetts went to the bullpen and called on Mike Gedman to try to close the game. But Gedman walked Harshman to put runners on first and second.

Gedman fell behind in the count to Weldon, but battled back to get the UA junior to pop up, which Gedman fielded in front of home plate.

The two teams will conclude the three game series tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for Noon at Jerry Kindall Field.

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