After 15 scoreless innings against Stanford, Arizona scored seven runs over a four-inning stretch and rode the arms of Kyle Simon and Matt Chaffee to a 7-3 victory on Saturday.
May 21, 2011
Arizona 7, Stanford 3 (Box Score)
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Locked in another scoreless game through four innings, the Arizona baseball team erupted for seven runs over a four-inning stretch en route to a 7-3 victory over Stanford that tied the three-game series at one win apiece on Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.
Arizona (33-18, 12-11) was stuck in a slump of 15 innings without scoring a run against the Cardinal before two key extra base hits sparked a rally. A run-scoring double by Bobby Rinard in the fifth inning put the Wildcats on the board. Then with a 2-0 lead an inning later, Josh Garcia blasted a two-run home run - his seventh of the season - to give the visitors a 4-0 edge.
Kyle Simon tossed 7.1 innings on the mound to earn his 10th victory of the season, and Matt Chaffee finished off the final five hitters of the game to record his seventh save. Simon became the school's first 10-game winner since Preston Guilmet racked up 12 wins during the 2007 campaign, a year when the former Wildcat was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year.
The Wildcats were hitless through four innings of play until Robert Refsnyder hit a single through the right side. Jett Bandy moved Refsnyder to second base on a hit-and-run play, before Rinard lined a double to the left field wall to score Refsnyder. Alex Mejia followed with a run-scoring single to push a second run across.
In the sixth, Cole Frenzel drew a one-out walk to set the stage for Garcia. The senior, who had gone 10 games without a start prior to being slotted as the designated hitter on Saturday, launched a two-run shot to left center to give Arizona a 4-0 lead. The homer pushed Garcia into a tie for second in the Pac-10 with seven home runs.
Stanford (29-19, 11-12 Pac-10) threatened to close the deficit in the home half of the sixth. Pinch-hitter Ben Clowe doubled to lead off the frame and moved to second on a groundout. Tyler Gaffney followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Cardinal on the board for the first time in the game. The inning continued following an error and a base hit, but Simon struck out Austin Wilson to end the threat.
Arizona kept on the offensive in the seventh against reliever Scott Snodgrass, who took over for starter Danny Sandbrink. A walk, a bunt base hit and another walk loaded the bases, before Snodgrass was lifted in favor of A.J. Vanegas.
Vanegas allowed a pair of runs to score when he hit Joey Rickard with a pitch and then gave up a sacrifice fly to Bryce Ortega. Despite loading the bases again, Vanegas stranded three Wildcats and kept the score at 6-1.
Simon, who did not walk a batter in the game, retired the Cardinal in order in the bottom of the seventh.
In the eighth, the Wildcats added an insurance run that would prove critical in the bottom of the frame. Bandy was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game - the 50th of his career - to put a runner on first with no outs. Mejia followed with his third hit of the game on a perfectly placed bunt, and both runners moved up a base on a double steal. With two outs, Rickard reached on an error by shortstop Kenny Dekroeger that allowed Bandy to score and give the Wildcats a 7-1 lead.
Simon ran into trouble in the home half of the eighth. With one out, Zach Jones singled and Gaffney put down a bunt base hit of his own. Stephen Piscotty followed with a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to 7-2. Brian Ragira continued the rally with a single to load the bases. Then, Simon hit Wilson with a pitch that forced in a run and brought the potential tying run to the plate.
The Wildcats called on Chaffee from the bullpen, and the junior lefty was lights-out. He quickly picked up a strikeout and a groundout to strand three Cardinal base runners. In the ninth, Chaffee worked a perfect 1-2-3 innings to close out the game.
For the Cardinal, Sandbrink suffered the loss after giving up the four runs - all earned - in six innings. He surrendered five hits, one walk and struck out four.
Simon worked into the eighth inning for the third straight game and earned his third consecutive win. Simon did not issue a walk in the game, keeping his season total at just 10 walks in 111.0 innings pitched. He has issued just two free passes in the last 40.2 innings, and none over a stretch of 16.1 innings.
Mejia, who was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI, extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Combined with a pair of hits of hits on Friday, Mejia has raised his batting average to .347 overall, and to .375 in 23 conference games.
Even with seven runs scored, Arizona struggled offensively in scoring situations. The club was just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. In Friday's 1-0 loss, the Wilddcats went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The rubber match of the three-game series is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 1290 AM in Tucson and online through www.arizonawildcats.com.