April 19, 2013
Stanford 4, Arizona 3 (Box Score)
PALO ALTO, Calif. - The 25th-ranked Arizona baseball team saw an early lead wrestled away by host Stanford, which held off a ninth-inning rally by the Wildcats to win the series opener in front of a home crowd of 1,604 on Friday night at Sunken Diamond.
Arizona (24-13, 8-8 Pac-12), which chased Mark Appel out of the game in the seventh inning, trailed by a run and had the Stanford bullpen on the ropes in the final frame. Reliever Garrett Hughes threw six straight balls to open the ninth, walking Cody Ramer before being pulled from the game with a 2-0 count to Scott Kingery.
Sam Lundquist inherited the 2-0 count and tossed two straight balls to walk Kingery. Joseph Maggi then advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Stanford elected to intentionally walk Johnny Field, who was 1-for-3 with a triple in the game.
With the bases loaded, Trent Gilbert lined a ball to third base Alex Blandino, who knocked the ball down and threw from his knees to force out Ramer at home plate. The heady play prevented the tying run from scoring, but still left the bases loaded for Brandon Dixon, who was 2-for-5 in the game.
Down 1-2 in the count, Dixon hit a sharp chopper back to the mound, which Lundquist snared on one hop before tossing over to first for the final out. Lundquist earned his third save of the season.
The ninth-inning drama epitomized a night of missed opportunities for the Wildcats, who stranded nine runners in the game and went just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Meanwhile, Stanford (21-11, 8-5 Pac-12) cashed in just enough of its opportunities for the victory. The Cardinal was 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and pushed across three two-out RBI, each of which came in the fifth inning to erase a 3-0 deficit.
Momentum swung in the bottom of the fifth when Arizona starter Konner Wade, sharp over the first four innings, worked himself into a jam. The junior righty issued a leadoff walk to Brant Whiting and then hit Blandino with a pitch. One out later, the Wildcats appeared to escape trouble with a double play, but catcher's interference called on Riley Moore loaded the bases.
Brian Ragira was then hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in a run, and Austin Wilson delivered a two-run single up the middle to tie the game, 3-3.
An inning later, Austin Slater reached on an error by Gilbert and later scored on a double by Blandino, who finished 1-for-3 with a run and what proved to be the game-winning RBI.
Arizona had built a three-run lead through four innings, but missed on opportunities to open up the game.
Field led off the game with a fly ball that was dropped by centerfielder Wayne Taylor, which allowed the Wildcats centerfielder to advance all the way to third base. One out later, Dixon doubled to left field and drove in Field for the game's first run.
With Zach Gibbons at bat, Dixon, the Pac-12 leader in stolen bases, tried to steal third but was thrown out by Whiting, the catcher. Gibbons then lined a double to the right field corner and was left stranded.
The Wildcats added a second run in the third after Maggi led off with an infield single. Field followed with a liner to right field, where Wilson lost his footing. The ball rolled to the wall for a triple, and Maggi scored from first.
With Field at third and no outs, the Wildcats were unable to drive him in. Gilbert struck out, Dixon grounded out to third base and Gibbons struck out to leave another potential run on base.
Arizona added a third run in the fourth. Kevin Newman and Moore led off with singles that put runners on the corners, and Ramer placed a perfect safety squeeze bunt that drove in Newman and moved Moore to second base. Ryan Koziolwas then hit by a pitch to put two on with one out, but a pair of pop outs by Maggi and Fieldstranded two more runners.
Solid in the fifth and sixth inning, Appel saw his pitch count rise in the seventh when he issued two two-out walks. After 124 pitches, he was lifted in favor Hughes, who came on to strike out Dixon swinging.
Appel (W, 7-2) earned the victory after allowing just the three runs - two earned - on seven hits over 6.2 innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Wade (L, 3-4) suffered the loss after surrendering four runs - only two earned - on five hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out five, walked one and hit two batters.
Arizona's bullpen kept things close late. Augey Bill tossed a scoreless 0.1 innings in place of Wade, before Tyger Talley racked up four strikeouts and allowed on one hit over two full innings of work.
The teams will be back in action on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. (PDT). The game will be broadcast on 1290 AM in Tucson.