March 24, 2012
Arizona 5, Oregon State 4 (Box Score)
CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Arizona baseball team had just two home runs all season and was homerless in its last 616 official at-bats before Bobby Brown and Riley Moore blasted back-to-back solo home runs in the top of the ninth inning to power the fifth-ranked Wildcats to a 5-4 victory over 19th-ranked Oregon State on Saturday afternoon at Goss Stadium.
It was an improbable way for Arizona (17-7, 3-2 Pac-12) to even up the three-game series at one game apiece. The home runs were the first in the respective careers of both Brown, a fifth-year senior, and Moore, a true freshman. More importantly, they capped a late-innings rally before the Wildcats held on for the victory in the bottom of the ninth.
Oregon State (15-6, 4-1 Pac-12) had surrendered a 3-1 lead in the eighth and found itself trailing in the ninth, but the Beavers quickly put the pressure back on the visitors. John Tommasini drew a lead off walk against reliever Stephen Manthei, forcing the Wildcats to turn to closer Mathew Troupe.
Troupe gave up a double to Max Gordon that hit off the base of the wall in right field, which put runners at second and third with no outs. A sacrifice fly out by Tyler Smith drove in one run and advanced the tying run to third base, but Troupe registered a strikeout and a groundout to strand Gordon at third base to preserve the right-hander's fourth save of the season.
Trailing by two runs in the seventh, the Wildcats pushed across a run in the top of the inning. Seth Mejias-Brean extended his hitting streak to 17-straight games with a leadoff double and scored on Brown's RBI double to right-center field. But the Wildcats wasted three opportunities to drive in Brown and still trailed 3-2.
Arizona was able to tie the game in the eighth, however. Johnny Field was hit by a pitch to open the inning, and he was bunted to second base on a sacrifice by Alex Mejia. After a pitching change and facing reliever Cole Brocker (0-3), Robert Refsnyder lined a single up the middle to drive in the tying run.
Konner Wade gritted out 7.2 innings on the mound for the Wildcats, but did not factor into the decision. Despite walking four and striking out just one, Wade scattered seven hits and allowed just three runs in the game.
Oregon State opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Wade, who had retired the first eighth batters of the game, surrendered a two-out double to Tommasini. Gordon followed with an RBI triple and Smith drove in Gordon on a single up the middle to give the Beavers a 2-0 edge.
Arizona scored its first run in two-out fashion as well. Moore singled with two down in the top of the fifth and scored on Trent Gilbert's double to right field. Brandon Dixon followed with a sharp single to right field, but right fielder Dylan Davis' throw to the plate was in time to retire Gilbert and end the inning.
The Beavers scored again with two outs in the fifth inning. Gordon drew a two-out walk and scored on Smith's double off the left field fence to push OSU's lead back to a two-run margin. From there, Wade and Manthei kept the Beavers off the scoreboard in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to buy enough time for the Wildcats' bats to heat up.
Manthei (3-2) earned the win in relief on day after suffering a toss loss out of the bullpen when the Beavers scored an unearned run in walk-off fashion to capture Friday night's contest, 6-5.
The two teams will meet again in the rubber match of the three-game set on Sunday at Goss Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PDT.