TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Jason Donald drove Jordan Brown home with a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth for the game-winning run as the No. 8-ranked Arizona baseball team rallied to win its conference series against No. 15 Oregon State with a 7-6 victory at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on Sunday.
The win helped take the bite out of Saturday’s 17-1 loss to the Beavers, improved the Wildcats’ record to 26-11 overall and held them in first place in the Pac-10 with a conference mark of 10-2. Oregon State, which lost a series for the first time this season, dropped to 27-7 overall and 6-3 in the conference with the loss.
Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Arizona started its rally when leadoff hitter Trevor Crowe was hit by the first pitch he saw from OSU left-hander Kevin Gunderson. After a pair of unsuccessful sacrifice bunt attempts by Brad Boyer, Gunderson aided the Wildcats by balking Crowe to second. Boyer followed with a shallow single to center to advance Crowe to third.
Oregon State head coach Pat Casey moved Gunderson to right field and brought in right-hander Nate Fogle to face Jeff Van Houten. The senior right fielder tied the game at 6-6 with a run-scoring ground out to second base that plated Crowe and moved Boyer to second.
Gunderson was brought back in to face the southpaw Frey, who hit a sharp fielder’s choice to drawn-in shortstop Darwin Barney. The Beaver infielder threw Boyer out at the plate for the second out in the inning and brought Donald up to bat.
The sophomore, who was 0 for 6 with the bases loaded this season heading into the ninth, hit Gunderson’s first offering through the left side of the OSU infield to score Brown for the game-winning run. Donald finished the game 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI and a walk.
Leading for much of the game, Arizona saw a 4-2 advantage disappear in the seventh as Oregon State scored four runs on four hits to take a 6-4 lead. Hundley hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to one run and pave the way for UA’s third walk-off win of the season.
The come-from-behind victory handed Arizona closer Mark Melancon (3-2) his third win of the year. The sophomore right-hander gave up all four runs in the seventh, only two of which were earned, but settled in enough to hold OSU scoreless over the final two innings. He finished with three strikeouts and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.
OSU’s Gunderson (2-2) was charged with the loss after giving up the two ninth-inning runs. He gave up three runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings on the day and finished with four strikeouts and one walk.
Arizona will take a break from conference play this week with a Tuesday game at New Mexico and a weekend trip to Sacramento, Calif., for a pair of games against UC Irvine and one against Sac State.
Arizona’s two previous walk-off wins this season came on home runs by Jordan Brown against Arizona State on Feb. 15 and Jeff Van Houten against Washington on March 25 ... Van Houten and Brown each went 2 for 4 with a RBI and two runs scored against the Beavers on Sunday ... Sophomore Jason Donald set the school single-season record for HBP with 16 in Saturday’s 17-1 loss ... UA’s David Coulon pitched well in a no-decision effort on Sunday, giving up two runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked none.