TUCSON, Ariz. – Trace Tam Sing collected four hits and scored two runs for Washington State, which held off the University of Arizona baseball team to secure a 3-2 victory and capture a three-game Pac-12 Conference series Sunday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field.
Washington State (6-9, 2-1 Pac-12) carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth when it brought closer Ian Hamilton into the game. Hamilton, who earned the save in Saturday night’s win, stranded the potential game-tying run at third base when he induced a soft liner off the bat of Kevin Newman to end the game.
Arizona (11-11, 1-2 Pac-12) trailed 3-1 entering the eighth when it made a late rally. Kevin Newman led off with a single against reliever Scott Simon and was bunted to second base by Trent Gilbert. One out later, Kenny Meimerstorf was hit by a pitch to place runners at the corners. Bobby Dalbec followed with a two-out single to drive in Newman and cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Cougars went to the bullpen and brought in left-hander Matt Bower to pitch to Riley Moore, who had doubled in a pinch-hit at bat an inning earlier. But Moore grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice to strand the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base.
In the ninth, Joseph Maggi led off with an infield single off Hamilton. He was bunted into scoring position by Scott Kingery, before advancing to third base on Cody Ramer’s groundout. Newman aggressively swung at the first pitch he saw from Hamilton, but it was easily caught by second baseman Luke Stratman, a late-inning replacement.
Missed opportunities were a theme for the Wildcats, who left 10 runners on base in the game, including six in their last four trips to the plate. Arizona finished the game 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Chleborad (W, 1-2) was steady in his start as he picked up the win. The right-hander scattered nine hits and a walk, but allowed only one run in 6.1 innings.
Arizona starter Austin Schnabel (L, 0-2) suffered the loss after giving up two runs on six hits over 4.0 innings of work. He turned the game over to Cody Moffett in the fifth, and the lefty surrendered one run in 2.1 innings of work.
The Cougars took the initial lead in the top of the third. Tam Sing, the No. 9 hitter in the order, doubled to lead off the frame. A groundout pushed him to third and he scored Collin Slaybaugh’s infield single.
An inning later, Schnabel issued a two-out walk to Ian Sagdal and Ben Roberts followed with a single. That set up an RBI chance for Tam Sing, and the shortstop delivered with a single through the left side to push the Cougars lead to 2-0.
Arizona answered with its first run in the home half of the fourth. Gilbert, who finished 2-for-3, tripled off the right field wall and scored Zach Gibbons single up the middle.
The Wildcats squandered a chance to do more damage.
After Gibbons singled – one of his three hits in the game – Willie Calhoun hit a sharp single and Dalbec reached on an infield hit to load the bases. But Jordan Berger bounced into an inning-ending double play and the Wildcats trailed 2-1.
The Cougars added a key insurance run in the seventh. Tam Sing led off with a single and Trek Stemp followed with a bunt single. Slaybaugh bunted both runners over, before Nick Tanielu was intentionally walked by Moffett. Yale Rosen followed with an RBI single to left field to push the advantage to 3-1.
Right-hander Tyler Parmenter came on and struck out P.J. Jones, and lefty Xavier Borde struck out pinch-hitter Patrick McGrath to limit the damage.
Dalbec retired all five batters he faced after he moved from first base to pitcher with one out in the eighth inning.
The Wildcats will step away from conference play to face Grand Canyon on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field. Thereafter, Arizona travels to Seattle, Wash., to take on Washington in a three-game conference series next weekend (March 21-23).