Kevin Rodland delievers game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth as Cats prevail 7-6 over Morehead State
TUCSON, Ariz. Freshman Kevin Rodland drove home Brad Glenn from second with the game-winning run on a one-out single to left in the ninth inning, as Arizona came up with just enough in a 7-6 victory over Morehead State at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on Wednesday.
The Wildcats’ fourth straight win improved them to 18-6 on the season, while the pesky Eagles dropped to 4-15 on the year despite out-hitting Arizona 13 to 6 on Wednesday.
Tied 6-6 after eight and half innings, Glenn drew a one-out walk in the ninth and stole second to move into scoring position.
Rodland, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the seventh and was 1 for his last 13 at the plate, came through with the clutch hit by lacing reliever Quentin Morgan’s 2-1 offering past shortstop and into left for a single to plate Glenn with the go-ahead run.
The one-run margin of victory was UA’s fourth in its last six games and improved the Cats to 6-0 on the year in single-run contests.
MSU drew first blood in the first inning, scoring a run on a Ryan Kinder single up the middle that plated Trent Hanna from second. Kinder proved to be a thorn in UA’s side all night, finishing the game 4 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored.
Arizona, which has struggled offensively at the plate of late, appeared to be back on track with the bats by scoring two runs on two hits and a MSU error in the home half of the frame. Bill Rhinehart delivered the first run on a sacrifice fly and Glenn chipped in with a RBI-single in the next at bat to make it 2-1 Arizona.
The Cats tacked on another run without the aid of a hit in the third when Diallo Fon led off the frame with a walk, advanced all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt by reliever Alex Pounds and scored on a sacrifice fly by Robert Abel to make it 3-1.
MSU rallied to take a 4-3 lead after four and half innings with a run in the fourth and two in the fifth. JD Ashbrook, Justin Johnson and Jarred Seasor all came up with run-scoring hits for the Eagles.
The MSU edge didn’t last long as UA took advantage of five walks, including two for RBI, a run-scoring balk and another error on a failed pickoff attempt to score three two-out runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Erik Castro and Jon Gaston drove home runs on free passes and MSU’s Chase Huffman chipped in another run with his first balk of the year, as UA managed to retake the lead at 6-4 despite collecting just one hit in the inning.
The Eagles plated a pair of runs in the eighth on pinch hit single by Drew Lee and a sacrifice fly by Kinder to notch the game at 6-6 and pave the way for Rodland’s heroics.
UA reliever Cory Burns (3-1) picked up his second victory in the series by working the final 1 2/3 innings. He finished with one strikeout and no walks. MSU’s Morgan (0-3) was charged with the loss after giving up Rodland’s game-winning hit in the ninth.
Arizona will return to action on Friday when it opens a three-game series against Northern Colorado at Kindall Field. First pitch for the opener is slated for 7 p.m. with right-hander Preston Guilmet the scheduled starter on the mound.