No. 15 Arizona scored the game's final five runs as Kurt Heyer improved to 4-1 on the season and Matt Chaffee earned his second save.
March 25, 2011
Arizona 5, Arizona State 2 (Box Score)
TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 15 Arizona baseball team rallied from a two-run deficit to score the game's final five runs en route to a 5-2 series-opening victory over No. 6 Arizona State in the Pac-10 Conference opener for both schools on Friday night at Packard Stadium.
Trailing 2-0 after five innings of play, Arizona (17-5, 1-0 Pac-10) chipped away with a run in the top of the sixth and captured a one-run lead with a pair of runs in the seventh inning. The Wildcats tacked on single insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to set the score at its final, 5-2.
Kurt Heyer improved to 4-1 on the season after pitching 7.1 innings. The right-hander struck out eight and allowed just two runs on six hits and three walks in the game. Matt Chaffee threw the final 1.2 innings with two strikeouts and one hit allowed to earn his second straight save.
It was not an easy first several innings for Heyer or the Wildcats. The sophomore right-hander labored through the first four innings, surrendering a run on two hits in the third and yielding a lead off solo home run to Matt Newman in the fourth frame.
But Heyer, an All-Pac-10 pitcher a year ago, shut down Arizona State (16-6, 0-1 Pac-10) the rest of the way. Heyer retired the next 11 hitters he faced, including six strikeouts, following the home run.
The Wildcats cut into the Sun Devils' 2-0 lead with a run in the top of the sixth. Jett Bandy, who went 3-for-4 on the day, doubled to left field to lead things off. Bandy advanced to third on a ground out by Steve Selsky and scored on a wild pitch.
In the seventh inning, Arizona took the lead for good. Seth Mejias-Brean, who collected three hits in the game, reached with a single and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Mejia. Bryce Ortega drew a walk to put a pair of runners on for Joey Rickard, who followed with an RBI double that ricocheted off the third base bag to plate Mejias-Brean.
Arizona's go-ahead run was scored by Ortega on a wild play. With Cole Frenzel batting, Joseph Lopez's pitch skipped away from catcher Austin Barnes. Ortega raced for home, but was going to be thrown out easily except for the fact that Lopez dropped the ball before applying the tag, which allowed Ortega to score and give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.
An inning later, Robert Refsnyder singled to center and moved to second on a balk by reliever Trevor Williams. One out later, Mejias-Brean drove in Refsnyder with an RBI single to left field.
In the top of the ninth, Ortega led off with a single to right field and moved to second on a bunt by Rickard. With two outs, Bandy delivered a key two-out, run-scoring single to left field to give Arizona a comfortable three-run margin.
Despite giving up a lead off single, Chaffee pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning. The left-hander induced three soft fly balls to Selsky in right field to end the game.
Heyer and Chaffee combined for 10 strike outs in the game and limited the Sun Devils to two hits over the final five innings of work.
Offensively, Arizona tallied 12 base hits in the game, including seven in the final four innings to score the five runs. The Wildcats put their leadoff hitters on base six times in the game, including all four innings in which they scored the five runs.
The two clubs will continue the three-game series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (MST/PDT) at Packard Stadium.