TUCSON, Ariz. – A freshman came through with the biggest hit of his young career, and a veteran junior later delivered a walk-off single to give the University of Arizona baseball team a 3-2 victory over Stanford in 10 innings before a crowd of 3,082 on Friday night at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona (19-28, 8-17 Pac-12) trailed by a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when freshman designated hitter Michael Hoard, who was hitless with three strikeouts in his previous at-bats, knocked home Trent Gilbert with a single to send the game to extra innings.
In the 10th inning, Gilbert came to bat with one out and runners at first and second. The junior second baseman slapped a line drive down the left field line, sending home Kevin Newman with the decisive run.
Gilbert finished 4-for-5 with the game-tying run and game-winning RBI.
The comeback was sparked by late-game timely hitting that avoided the Wildcats early on. Arizona was 0-for-6 batting with runners in scoring position over the first eight frames, but combined for three such hits in the final two innings.
Lost in the late-inning heroics was an impressive pitching duel between Stanford freshman right-hander Cal Quantrill and Arizona senior righty James Farris. Neither factored in the decision, but Farris was on the hook for a tough-luck loss after leaving with a 2-1 deficit with one down in the ninth.
Farris tossed 8.1 innings and allowed only two runs on 10 hits. He racked up five strikeouts and did not issue a walk.
His counterpart, Quantrill, turned in 7.2 strong innings with only one run allowed on four hits. He also struck out five, while issuing a pair of walks.
Closer A.J. Venegas inherited a two-out jam after the Wildcats put two on with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. But the right-hander came on to coax an inning-ending foul out to preserve a 2-1 lead for the Cardinal.
Stanford (22-21, 9-13 Pac-12) put a pair of runners on in the top of the ninth, but was unable to extend its one-run lead after Arizona called on closer Bobby Dalbec to record two quick outs and send the game to the bottom of the ninth inning.
That crucial frame started when Gilbert singled and was bunted to second by Tyler Krause. One out later, Riley Moore reached on a high-chop infield single that took too much time for the pitcher, Venegas to even attempt a throw to first base.
With the tying run to third base, Hoard shook off a rough day at the play to bounce a single up the middle.
The bottom of the 10th inning saw Zach Gibbons lead off with a single, but he was thrown out at second when Newman attempt to bunt him into scoring position. Instead, Scott Kingery singled and moved Newman to second, before Gilbert capped the game with his fourth hit of the night.
The Cardinal took the first lead of the game in the fourth with three-consecutive two-out singles. The final hit was tallied by Zach Hoffpauir, who drove in Alex Blandino.
The Wildcats tied the game in the home half of the fourth after Kingery led off with a single. He scooted to third on a hit-and-run single by Gilbert, and then scored on Krause’s ground out.
Two innings later, Austin Slater hit a one-out double to left field, where Krause was unable to pick up the ball in the sun-setting twilight at dusk. Brant Whiting later put the Cardinal ahead with a sacrifice fly.
The two schools continue the three-game series on Saturday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MST) with a live radio broadcast on 1290 AM.