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Walk-Off Hit Spoils Cats' Comeback
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/23/2012
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March 23, 2012

Box Score

Oregon State 6, Arizona 5 (Box Score)

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Ryan Dunn's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning spoiled a furious comeback by fifth-ranked Arizona and handed 19th-ranked Oregon State a 6-5 victory in the first game of a three-game Pac-12 series at Goss Stadium on Friday night.

Arizona (17-6, 2-2) dug itself out of a hole by scoring two runs in the eighth and two more in the top of the ninth to tie the game 5-5. Oregon State (15-5, 4-0 Pac-12) benefitted from a lead off error in the bottom of the ninth to set up Dunn's one-out walk-off hit.

The decisive ninth inning began with a pop fly that fell in between first baseman Robert Refsnyder, who was charged with an error, and second baseman Trent Gilbert. Reliever Stephen Manthei, who entered in the seventh inning, was replaced by closer Mathew Troupe.

Troupe struck out Michael Conforto for the first out of the inning, but on the third strike Tyler Smith, who reached on the error, stole second base. Troupe intentionally walked Dylan Davis to create a force-out situation, but Dunn belted a 3-1 pitch into left center-field to knock in Smith with the winning run.

After falling behind 1-0, the Beavers plated three runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning off UA starter Kurt Heyer, who struggled in the early innings. Heyer, who did not factor into the decision, gave up five runs in the first three innings before settling in and pitching into the seventh.

In fact, despite falling into a four-run hole, UA kept itself in the game with solid pitching from Heyer and Manthei. The two righties held the Beavers to just one base hit from the fourth through eighth innings and did not allow a run. Manthei (3-2) was charged with the loss after yielding the unearned run in the final inning.

The Wildcats began to chip away at the four-run deficit with a pair of runs in the eighth inning. Johnny Field and Alex Mejia collected consecutive to lead off the frame. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, then scored on Refsnyder's two-run double down the left field line.

Refsnyder advanced to third on a groundout by Seth Mejias-Brean for the first out of the inning, before the Beavers brought in closer Tony Bryant. The right-hander was able to strikeout Gilbert and pinch-hitter Bobby Brown to end the inning.

In the ninth, Bryant (3-0) issued a lead off walk to Riley Moore. One out later, Joey Rickard drew a walk before Field grounded out to Bryant, which allowed Moore and Rickard to move into scoring position. Alex Mejia followed with a single up the middle that was knocked down by second baseman John Tommasini in shallow centerfield, but both runners scored to tie the game.

Arizona pushed across the game's first run in the top of the first inning. Field hit a one-out single and moved to second on a ground out. After Refsnyder walked, Seth Mejias-Brean drove in Field with a two-out RBI single for the game's first run.

Oregon State wasted no time in answering the run. Max Gordon led off the bottom of the first with a single and scored on Smith's ensuing double to left field. One out later, Davis singled home Smith and Dunn, who was 3-for-5 in the game, doubled in Davis to give the Beavers a 3-1 advantage.

The Beavers tacked on single runs in the second and third innings. In the second, Jake Rodriguez was hit by a pitch with one down and later scored on Conforto's two-out single up the middle. In the third, Dunn scored on an RBI single up the middle off the bat of Ryan Barnes to give OSU a 5-1 lead.

Oregon State starter Dan Wetzler gave up the first inning run but cruised through the next three innings and actually faced 13 consecutive batters without giving up a hit from the end of the first inning through the end of the fifth. In the sixth, the Wildcats pressured Wetzler with singles by Rickard and Mejia. But with two outs and the bases loaded, Gilbert grounded out to end the inning and strand three runners.

The two teams continue the three-game series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. (PDT) at Goss Stadium. The game will be broadcast on 1290 AM in Tucson, Ariz.

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