Derek Jones drew a bases-loaded walk to hand Washington State a 7-6 victory over Arizona in 10 innings on Saturday afternoon.
May 14, 2011
Washington State 7, Arizona 6 (PDF)
PULLMAN, Wash. - The homestanding Cougars used the long ball to rally, but merely needed a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th inning to walk off with a 7-6 series-opening victory over visiting Arizona on Saturday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field.
Washington State (21-22, 6-13 Pac-10), which once trailed 5-1, loaded the bases against reliever Matt Chaffee with two outs in the home half of the 10th inning. Derek Jones, the Pac-10 home run leader, stepped to the plated and forced a full count, before taking a fourth ball high and out of the zone to drive in Kyle Johnson with the game-winning run.
Earlier in the inning, Johnson, who previously entered as a pinch-runner, hit a two-out double in his only plate appearance of the game. That prompted Arizona to intentionally walk leadoff man Cody Bartlett to bring up Trace Tam Sing, a late-inning defensive replacement. But Chaffee hit Tam Sing with a pitch that loaded the bases before Jones drew the game-winning walk.
Chaffee (5-3) suffered the loss after giving up the game-winning run, but the left-hander was also key in pushing the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth and the Wildcats trailing by a run, Chaffee entered with one out and the bases-loaded. He induced an inning-ending double-play to send the game to the top of the ninth.
The Wildcats were able to tie the game, 6-6, in the ninth. Bryce Ortega drew his third walk of the game to lead off the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cole Frenzel. Johnny Field reached on an error to put runners at first and second with one out. Robert Refsnyder stepped to the plate and laced a single up the middle to score Ortega from second and tie the game.
Arizona (30-17, 9-10 Pac-10) found itself having to battle back in the late innings after the Cougars surged ahead with a big inning. Starter Kurt Heyer was strong through the first five innings as he had scattered five hits and allowed just one run with four strikeouts and no walks, but the Cougars mounted a rally in the bottom of the sixth.
Heyer put a pair of runners on base to lead off the inning following a hit batsmen and an infield single. That set the table for a three-run home run by Taylor Ard, which cut Arizona's lead to 5-4.
An ensuing error continued the rally. Patrick Claussen, who reached on a grounder that Frenzel was unable to handle, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Nelubowich singled home Claussen to tie the game. Collin Slaybaugh then tripled to center field to bring home Nelubowich and give the Cougars a 6-5 lead.
The early innings were kinder to the Wildcats, who were staked to a two-run lead in the top of the first inning. Ortega drew a walk and Frenzel was hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on with one out. Field followed with an infield single to load the bases, before Refsnyder lined a single to right field that drove in Ortega and Frenzel.
The Cougars scratched across in the bottom of the third inning. Nelubowich, who was pinch-hitting Chad Arnold, lined a ball that hit in the netting of the left field foul pole for a solo home run.
Arizona tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth inning thanks to three straight two-out hits. With Jett Bandy on first base, Alex Mejia singled to left field to put runners on second and first. Seth Mejias-Brean followed with a single to right that scored Bandy, and Joey Rickard followed with a single to left that plated Mejia.
But the early success off WSU starter Adam Conley faded as the game wore on. Conley turned in 8.0 innings of work and handed over a 6-5 lead to closer Paris Shewey in the ninth inning, but Shewey was unable to preserve the victory.
Even so, Arizona mustered just three hits after the fourth inning and left a total of 10 runners on base in the game.
Conversely, Wildcat pitchers granted a handful of free passes throughout the game. In fact, the staff issued six walks - one intentional - and hit four batters in the game. The Cougars stranded 12 runners in the game, three of which were when the game ended on the walk-off walk.
The series continues on Sunday with the second game of the three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for noon (PDT) and the game will be broadcast on 1290 AM in Tucson.