Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Baseball Wins Opener 5-3
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 20, 2009
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Feb. 20, 2009

Final Box Score

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Arizona baseball team opened the 2009 season with a 5-3 victory over visiting Sacramento State as junior Jason Stoffel earned his 19th career save to become the program's all-time leader in the category.

The season opener for both teams drew 1,996 fans to Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on Friday evening. The Wildcats jumped on the board in the third inning by scoring five unearned runs to stake a 5-0 lead.

After two and half scoreless innings, sophomore shortstop Bryce Ortega led off the bottom of third inning with a walk. Ortega then stole second one pitch before Mike Weldon popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt. With one out, Rafael Valenzuela hit a hard ground ball to Hunter Martinez, but the Hornet first baseman was unable to field the ball. Ortega scored an unearned run on the error.

After a Brad Glenn flyout, Bobby Coyle laced a triple down the right field line to score Valenzuela from first base. The Wildcats added a third run on an RBI single by freshman right fielder Ryan Selsky.

First baseman Dillon Baird followed and lined a shot back up the middle that struck Hornet pitcher Jose Ramirez, who was unable to make a play at first. Ramirez left the game and was replaced by Brandon Sandoval.

UA designated hitter Matt Presley stepped in as the first batter to face Sandoval and smacked a line drive that once again struck a Hornet pitcher. Presley beat the throw from shortstop Derrick Chung at first, which was wide of the bag and rolled down the right field. Selsky and Baird scored on the throwing error, as Presley advanced to second base.

In all, five runs crossed the plate -- each unearned. From there, the Wildcats relied on pitching to close out the game.

UA pitcher Preston Guilmet was effective early, striking out six Hornet batters through four innings. But in the fifth inning, Josh Powers reached on an error by Brad Glenn to start the inning. Two singles later, Powers scored to cut the UA lead to 5-1.

Having surpassed the 60-pitch mark, Arizona head coach Andy Lopez lifted his starter and turned the game over to the bullpen.

Sophomore Matt Chaffee came on to retire one batter, before handing the ball to freshman right-hander Kyle Simon.

Simon proved effective in his Wildcat debut, lasting 2.2 innings and allowing only one run on three hits.

In position to earn his first career win, Simon gave way to senior Cory Burns in the eighth inning. The senior with a sidearm delivery baffled the Hornet hitters and struck three of the four batters he faced in the eighth inning.

It was then time for Stoffel to close the deal. But, the Baseball America First Team All-American decided to make things interesting for a few moments.

Stoffel yielded a leadoff single to Jeff Roth to start the ninth. Then after a strikeout, Martinez reached on a bunt single to put runners at first and second. Stoffel then retired Derrick Chung for the second out, which brought Tim Wheeler to the plate.

With Wheeler standing in, catcher Dwight Childs was unable to control a Stoffel pitch and the ball popped in front of home plate, which allowed the runners to advance to second and third.

Wheeler then singled to left field, bringing home Roth. Martinez was held at third.

Stoffel then buckled down and struck out Jason Lamb looking to end the game as he surpassed Mark Melancon who he was tied with in career saves entering the game.

The Wildcats will host the Hornets again on Saturday for the second game of the three game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.




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