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February 24, 2013
On a windy Sunday afternoon, the Arizona baseball squad poured on five runs in the seventh and four runs in the eighth to complete a 9-4 comeback victory and series sweep over visiting San Jose State.
Entering the seventh inning, the No. 23-ranked Wildcats (7-1) had not yet attained a hit in the game. That all changed when catcher Riley Moore broke up Spartans starter D.J. Slaton's no-hit bid with a single through the right side of the infield. Back-to-back walks drawn by Johnny Field and Brandon Dixon juiced the bases for Trent Gilbert, who floated a single over the second baseman's head for the Wildcats' first run of the game.
"I was trying to see a fastball up in the zone," Gilbert said. "Just trying to get something into the outfield to get a run across."
With the bases still loaded, reliever Daniel Chavez entered the game and consecutively walked Kevin Newman and Ryan Koziol to tie the game at three runs apiece. An RBI fielder's choice and RBI groundout by pinch-hitters Cody Ramer and Joseph Maggi in the next two at-bats elevated the Wildcats' seventh-inning run total to five.
Arizona stayed hot in the eighth, adding four more runs on four hits, two walks and a hit by pitch. Gilbert, Koziol, Maggi and Kingery were credited with all four RBIs in the inning.
"We did a great job of keeping our poise," UA head coach Andy Lopez said. "That's the unique thing about baseball. It doesn't matter what is going on in the other eight positions, if that guy in the little circle is pitching well, it's a pretty good ballgame."
Arizona starter Stephen Manthei (1-0, 5.11 ERA) pitched 7 2/3 innings to earn his first win of the season in his longest career outing to date. His previous long was just 4 1/3 innings pitched. The Las Vegas native gave up four runs, three of which were earned, and did not give up a walk.
"Once I gave up the run, it's over," Manthei said about the run he allowed in the first inning. "Have to focus on getting the next guy out. You're going to give up runs as a starter so it doesn't really faze me."
Moore, who has caught both of Manthei's starts this season, had high praise for the right-hander.
"[Manthei] likes a good battle, likes a good fight," Moore said. "Staying closed with his front shoulder allows him to stick pitches in different locations, which he didn't have opening weekend. All those minor details that he had last year and I think that he will have this year, he got all sound and perfect this time."
Closer Mathew Troupe gave up a walk and single in relief of Manthei, but earned his third save on the season in the final 1 2/3 innings.
Despite throwing a no-hitter through the first six innings, Slaton (0-2, 4.09 ERA) took the loss for the Spartans.
"I was really proud of our guys," Lopez said. "I thought we did a really good job of competing this weekend."
The Wildcats' next game will be played Tuesday against Utah Valley at Hi Corbett Field at 6 p.m. Starters are yet to be determined.
GOAZCATS.com Baseball Staff Writer
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