The Arizona baseball team rallied from a five-run deficit and scored three runs in the eighth to take a two-run lead before holding off Washington State for an 8-7 victory in the first game of a double-header.
March 17, 2012
Game 1: Arizona 8, Washington State 7 (Box Score)
TUCSON, Ariz. - Robert Refsnyder went 3-for-3, drove in three runs and hauled in a spectacular diving catch to highlight a resilient come-from-behind victory for the No. 6 Arizona baseball team that captured the first game of a double-header over Washington State, 8-7, on Saturday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona (15-4, 1-1 Pac-12) evened the three-game series despite falling behind 5-0 in the top of the first inning. The Wildcats answered with three runs of their own in the home half of the initial frame, before eventually tying the game 5-5 in the third inning. The Cougars reclaimed a one-run lead in the fifth, but three runs in the eighth propelled the Wildcats to their first lead of the game.
Refsnyder punctuated a furious two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run single to give the Wildcats the two-run advantage. Alex Mejia preceded Refsnyder's clutch hit by reaching on a fielding error by shortstop Ian Sagdal that allowed the tying run to score with the bases loaded and two outs.
Washington State (10-7, 1-1 Pac-12) came out swinging in the first inning against starter Konner Wade and capitalized on two errors. The Cougars scored five runs on four hits and left two runners on base.
Wade settled down and pitched into the seventh inning, officially throwing 6.1 innings. He scattered seven hits and struck out four, while being charged for six runs, but only three earned. He turned the game over to Stephen Manthei with one out in the top of the seventh inning.
Manthei received a spectacular defense effort by Refsnyder in right field. Taylor Ard launched a high fly ball into the gusty skies as Refsnyder raced towards the Wildcat bullpen down the right field line, where Refsnyder made a diving catch before crashing head-first into the fencing. The catch helped preserve a one-run deficit as Manthei escaped with no runs allowed.
In the third inning, another splendid defensive play by a Wildcat outfielder kept the Cougars off the board. With one down, Sagdal flied out into foul territory down the left field liner, where Johnny Fade made the catch and fired to home plate where catcher Riley Moore was waiting to tag out Nelubowich for the final out.
The Cougars cut UA's lead to a single run when Manthei issued a two-out walk in the eighth. Later, pinch-hitter Ty Jackson singled home Patrick Clausen, who drew the walk, which set the score at its eventual final, 8-7.
Mathew Troupe closed the game and earned his third save of the season in the ninth. A leadoff single by Ard brought Derek Jones to the plate, but Troupe struck out the left-hander before getting a line-drive double play off the bat of Adam Nelubowich to end the game.
Manthei earned the victory out of the bullpen to improve to 2-0. Joe Pistorese (1-2) suffered the loss after giving up the go-ahead run in the seventh.
The two teams will conclude the three-game series in the second game of the double-header tonight at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field. Right-hander James Farris will take the mound for the Wildcats against right-hander Kyle Swannack.