March 17, 2012Photo Gallery: Refsnyder's Diving Catch
TUCSON, Ariz. - The No. 6 Arizona baseball team swept a Saturday day-night double-header from Washington State to capture a series victory in the Pac-12 opener for both schools at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats won the first game 8-7 and claimed the nightcap 12-9.
The two victories secured Arizona (16-4, 2-1 Pac-12) its fifth-straight weekend series victory to open the season and salvaged a much-needed conference series win after dropping the opener on Friday night, 6-0.
In fact, entering the bottom of the first inning of today's first game, the Wildcats trailed a cumulative 11-0 after the Cougars broke through for five first-inning runs. Arizona did not waver, however, battling back to earn come-from behind victories in both halves of the double-header.
Robert Refsnyder keyed the resilient offensive attack with a 6-for-8 combined effort at the plate to go with four runs scored and four RBI. Alex Mejia collected five hits and four runs scored, while Seth Mejias-Brean had three hits and five RBI in the two contests.
Washington State (10-8, 1-2 Pac-12) pressured the Wildcats all day long with a relentless offensive attack. The Cougars had 23 hits on the day, including nine for extra bases, but the UA pitching staff issued only two walks over the two games - both in the first contest.
Derek Jones and Taylor Ard went a combined 10-for-18 on the day, scoring six runs and driving in six. Jones hit for the cycle in the second game.
Arizona resumes its non-conference schedule with two games against New Mexico State this week (March 20-21) at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats then jump back into conference action next weekend at Oregon State (March 25-25) to wrap up a stretch of 18 games in 24 days.
Game 1 Recap
Robert Refsnyder went 3-for-3, drove in three runs and hauled in a spectacular diving catch to highlight a resilient come-from-behind victory for the No. 6 Arizona baseball team that captured the first game of a double-header over Washington State, 8-7, on Saturday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona (15-4, 1-1 Pac-12) evened the three-game series despite falling behind 5-0 in the top of the first inning. The Wildcats answered with three runs of their own in the home half of the initial frame, before eventually tying the game 5-5 in the third inning. The Cougars reclaimed a one-run lead in the fifth, but three runs in the eighth propelled the Wildcats to their first lead of the game.
Refsnyder punctuated a furious two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run single to give the Wildcats the two-run advantage. Alex Mejia preceded Refsnyder's clutch hit by reaching on a fielding error by shortstop Ian Sagdal that allowed the tying run to score with the bases loaded and two outs.
Washington State (10-7, 1-1 Pac-12) came out swinging in the first inning against starter Konner Wade and capitalized on two errors. The Cougars scored five runs on four hits and left two runners on base.
Wade settled down and pitched into the seventh inning, officially throwing 6.1 innings. He scattered seven hits and struck out four, while being charged for six runs, but only three earned. He turned the game over to Stephen Manthei with one out in the top of the seventh inning.
Manthei received a spectacular defense effort by Refsnyder in right field. Taylor Ard launched a high fly ball into the gusty skies as Refsnyder raced towards the Wildcat bullpen down the right field line, where Refsnyder made a diving catch before crashing head-first into the fencing. The catch helped preserve a one-run deficit as Manthei escaped with no runs allowed.
In the third inning, another splendid defensive play by a Wildcat outfielder kept the Cougars off the board. With one down, Sagdal flied out into foul territory down the left field liner, where Johnny Fade made the catch and fired to home plate where catcher Riley Moore was waiting to tag out Nelubowich for the final out.
The Cougars cut UA's lead to a single run when Manthei issued a two-out walk in the eighth. Later, pinch-hitter Ty Jackson singled home Patrick Clausen, who drew the walk, which set the score at its eventual final, 8-7.
Mathew Troupe closed the game and earned his third save of the season in the ninth. A leadoff single by Ard brought Derek Jones to the plate, but Troupe struck out the left-hander before getting a line-drive double play off the bat of Adam Nelubowich to end the game.
Manthei earned the victory out of the bullpen to improve to 2-0. Joe Pistorese (1-2) suffered the loss after giving up the go-ahead run in the seventh.
The two teams will conclude the three-game series in the second game of the double-header tonight at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field. Right-hander James Farris will take the mound for the Wildcats against right-hander Kyle Swannack.
Game 2 Recap
Alex Mejia and Robert Refsnyder rapped out three hits and scored three runs apiece as the No. 6 Arizona baseball team again rallied from a deficit to overtake visiting Washington State and sweep a double-header with a 12-9 victory on Saturday evening at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona (16-4, 2-1 Pac-12) opened up a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Seth Mejias-Brean drove in Mejia and Refsnyder on a two-run single.
Washington Satte (10-8, 1-2 Pac-12) answered with three runs in the top of the fourth ignited by back-to-back triples by Derek Jones and Taylor Ard to lead off the inning. An RBI double by Adam Nelubowich and a run-scoring single from Patrick Clausen handed the Cougars a 3-2 edge. UA starter James Farriswas charged with the three runs.
The Wildcats came from behind and broke the game open with their highest-scoring inning of the season to date, plating seven in the bottom of the fifth inning. Eleven hitters went to the plate during the decisive frame, and UA collected six hits - all singles - and benefitted from three defensive errors.
Arizona was opportunistic throughout the game, hitting 6-for-11 (.545) with runners in scoring position throughout the game. Johnny Field and Mejias-Brean has two and three RBI, respectively, while seven different players scored a run.
The Cougars tallied 12 base hits, eight of which went for extra bases. Ard and Jones were a combined 7-for-10 in the game with five runs scored, and Jones hit a ninth-inning solo home run to complete the cycle in the game.
Lucas Long took over for Farris in the fifth inning and pitched 1.2 innings. He allowed four runs on three hits before turning the ball over to Stephen Manthei and Mathew Troupe. Manthei (3-0) threw a strong 2.1 innings of one-hit relief to earn the win. Troupe gave up a run on a hit, but recorded the final two outs to preserve the victory in a non-save situation.
While the nine runs allowed on 12 hits was a blemish on the UA pitching staff's line, the trio did not issue a walk in the game - a key with the extra base hit prowess of the Cougars.
Washington State starter Kyle Swannack gave up the two first inning runs, but settled down over the next three innings, retiring 11 consecutive hitters. But he ran into trouble in the fifth inning after a leadoff error, and was charged with six runs - five earned - in the game as he fell to 1-2 on the season.
Saturday's double-header was caused by an approaching winter storm forecasted to impact Southern Arizona on Sunday. It was Arizona's second home double-header of the season after the Wildcats split two games with Auburn in February.