SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Tyger Talley’s debut in the weekend rotation turned into seven strong innings, and Scott Kingery sparked the offense for the University of Arizona baseball team, which defeated Utah, 5-2, to capture a Pac-12 Conference series victory Sunday afternoon at Smith’s Ballpark.
Arizona (14-19, 4-8 Pac-12) found timely hitting throughout, scoring all five runs with two outs. Kingery went 3-for-4 with a run scored a pair of two-out RBI to pace the offense, which rapped out a dozen hits in the rubber game of the three-game set.
Talley (W, 1-0) tossed seven complete innings in his first career weekend start, which followed two recent no-decisions as a midweek starter. The right-hander allowed only one run on five hits and a pair of walks. He limited the Utes to just one hit with runners on base in the game.
The Wildcats claimed the early lead with a pair first-inning runs after Kingery ignited a two-out rally against Utah starter Bret Helton.
Arizona was 0-for-20 batting with two outs in the series before Kingery’s line drive to left field. Freshmen Michael Hoard and Bobby Dalbec followed with singles, with Dalbec’s hit to left driving in Kingery. Later, Zach Gibbons drove in the second run with an infield single.
After falling behind 2-0, Utah (10-19, 1-11 Pac-12) plated a run against Talley in the bottom of the third. Josh Rose opened the inning with a single and eventually scored on a single by Cody Scaggari, who was 3-for-5 in the contest.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 4-1 with two unearned runs in the fourth. With Riley Moore on first and two down in the inning, Trent Gilbert reached on a two-base error that left a pair of runners in scoring position. Kingery then ripped a double into the left field corner to plate both juniors.
Helton (L, 2-3) struggled in his four-plus innings as he surrendered seven hits and three walks. He gave up four runs, but just two were earned before he handed the game over the Tanner Banks.
In the eighth, Arizona added its final run, which was also unearned against Banks. Kenny Meimerstorf reached on an error to lead off and advanced to second on a wild pitch. One out later, Gilbert collected his first hit of the series to send Meimerstorf home.
Nathan Bannister pitched a scoreless eighth inning in relief of Talley. Scaggari led off with a frame with a single, but Bannister settled down to record three quick outs and turn away the Utes.
The right-hander remained in the game in the ninth, but Cody Moffett took over with two on and one out. The lefty looked to quickly close out the game, but a trhrowing error by shortstop Kevin Newman allowed Wyler Smith to score an unearned run.
Scaggari stepped to the plate representing the tying run, but Moffett coaxed a game-ending fly out to earn his second save in as many games.
Arizona now turns its attention to rival Arizona State for a lone non-conference game to be played Wednesday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m. (MST) at Packard Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The game will be broadcast live by the Arizona IMG Sports Network on 1290 AM.