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Fullerton Game One
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/14/2008
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????????????TUCSON, Ariz. ?C?The top-ranked Arizona baseball team set a school record for consecutive shutout innings that almost didnˇ?t matter. Leading 2-0 after seven, No. 20 Cal State Fullerton (8-6) snapped UAˇ?s scoreless streak at 34 2/3 straight innings with three runs in the top of the eighth to take a one-run lead.

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????????????With the school record intact but the contest and Arizonaˇ?s 10-game winning streak still in the balance, the Wildcats (11-1) rallied for six runs on five hits and a key Titan error in the bottom of the inning to win, 8-3, in the opener of a three-game series.

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????????????Trailing by one, senior C.J. Zielger started the Wildcats on the comeback trail with a single up the middle to lead off the eighth. Sophomore Dillon Baird came through with a two-strike bunt down the third baseline that spent the majority of the trip in foul territory before curving back and hitting the bag to put the Cats in business.

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????????????Pinch hitter Mike Weldon followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt that reliever Brian Wilson fielded cleanly but threw away attempting to get lead runner Robert Abel out at third. The errant throw allowed Abel to score to tie the game at 3-3 and placed runners on second and third.

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????????????After a strikeout by T.J. Steele for the first out in the frame, Fullerton elected to intentionally walk to Colt Sedbrook and load the bases for true freshman Bryce Ortega. The first-year Wildcat, who took over the starting shortstop position just five games ago, delivered a two-run single through the left side of the infield to hand the Cats a 5-3 edge.

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????????????Dwight Childs reached on UAˇ?s third successful bunt in the frame to reload the bases for pinch hitter Rafael Valenzuela. The Nogales, Ariz., native put the game away on a 1-1 pitch with a bases-clearing triple to the gap in right-center to make it 8-3 Cats.

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????????????Closer Jason Stoffel (1-0) then worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to pick up his first win of the year.

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????????????Fullerton, which had mustered just two hits off of UA starter Preston Guilmet through the first seven innings, started its late rally when the Arizona ace plunked Corey Jones with one out. Teammate Joel Weeks followed with a single through the right side of the infield to place runners on first and second.

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????????????Guilmet, who finished with seven Ks and no walks for a third straight start, surrendered a run-scoring single to pinch hitter Jon Wilhite to end UAˇ?s scoreless streak and make it 2-1 UA before being lifted for Stoffel.

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????????????The sophomore right-hander, who entered the game 10-for-10 in his career in save conversions, saw that streak come to an end when pinch hitter Matt Fahey singled to left. The base knock scored Weeks from third and a fielding error by Hunter Pace on the play allowed pinch runner Khris Davis to scoot all the way from first to hand CSF the ill-fated lead.

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????????????Arizona raced out to a 2-0 edge in the first on a RBI double by Ziegler and a run-scoring single by Baird.

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????????????After that Guilmet and CSF starter Jeff Kaplan traded zeros over the next six innings. Neither starter factored in the decision. Fullerton reliever Jason Dovel (0-1) was charged with the loss after surrendering the lead in the eighth. He allowed two runs ?C one earned ?C on two hits in 2/3 of inning.

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????????????Arizona and Fullerton will meet up for game two of the three-game series on Saturday at 6 p.m. UA left-hander David Coulon is the scheduled starter for the Cats.

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Notes

Preston Guilmet has struck out 30 and walked none in his last three starts, a span of 22 2/3 innings pitched ˇ? Friday marked the first contest this season in which the Wildcats did not hit a home run ˇ? The crowd of 4,250 was the largest for an Arizona home game since 4,644 came to see the Wildcats take on No. 1 Texas on March 4, 2005.

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