After trading early runs to reach the 4-4 stalemate, UCR opened the bottom of the sixth with a single by right fielder Aaron Grant off of UA starter Eric Berger. Brian Steinmeyer followed with a slash double down the left field line to advance Grant to third.
Preston Guilmet replaced Berger on the mound and got the first out in the inning on a run-scoring grounder to third by UCR’s Aaron Wible that broke the 4-4 tie. Grant advanced to third on a Guilmet wild pitch and came home when catcher Konrad Schmidt’s throw to third sailed in the left field for a throwing error on the play.
Trailing 6-4, Guilmet walked Jeff Abney, hit pinch hitter Drew Garcia and advanced the pair to second and third on a wild pitch before being lifted from the game in favor of Daniel Schlereth.
Schlereth induced Brett Bigler into an RBI-grounder to short for the second out in the frame before giving up a run-scoring single to D.J. Hollingsworth to make it a four-run UCR advantage at 8-4. Hollingsworth was caught trying to steal second to end the inning.
The Wildcat freshman lofted a ball to deep center field, but the cool night air swallowed the hit for an inning-ending flyout.
Highlander relievers Dan Runzler and Daniel Stange retired the Wildcats in order over the final two innings to make a winner out of starter James Simmons (2-0). Stange picked up his second save of the season after working a perfect ninth inning. Simmons, who lasted 6 1/3 innings, gave up four earned runs on 10 hits with eight strikeouts. The three UCR hurlers combined to punch out 12 UA hitters on the night.
Berger (1-1) was charged with the loss after surrendering six runs on 11 hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked none.
Arizona opened the scoring in the game on a two-run triple by freshman T.J. Steele in the top of the second, but UCR’s Kyle Barrett hit a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the frame to hand the Highlanders their first lead of the night.
UA countered with a pair of runs in the top of the third on RBI-singles by Derek Decater and David Plante for a 4-3 lead, but allowed UCR to tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a RBI ground out by Andrew Martinez.
The Wildcats and Highlanders will meet up for the second game of the three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m.