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February 27, 2013
The No. 20-ranked Arizona Wildcats scored in five out of eight innings to take down Utah Valley 14-5 and earn the series-split Wednesday at Hi Corbett Field.
Freshman Cody Moffett earned the win for the Wildcats (8-2) in his first-ever collegiate start, and head coach Andy Lopez was pleased with the left-hander's control.
"When we asked for the ball on the outter-half, he gave it to us on the outter-half. When we asked for a ball at the dirt, he gave us a ball at the dirt," Lopez said. "When you do that, you got a chance to be successful."
And successful he was. Moffett (1-0) tossed 5 1/3 innings, allowed three runs - two earned - and struck out one hitter.
"I was feeling my fastball and a little bit of my offspeed," Moffett said. "Just put the ball in the zone and let my defense work for me."
Utah Valley (4-5) struck first on offense, however, scoring a run in the top of the second inning off of Moffett to take an early 1-0 lead. Consecutive singles and a sacrifice bunt to leadoff the inning for the Wolverines put runners in scoring position for second baseman Beau Kallas, who sprayed a ground ball to Kevin Newman, scoring Colby Croft from third base.
Arizona responded in the bottom of the third with three quick runs of their own.
Zach Gibbons, who led off for the Wildcats this afternoon, sparked the rally with a single up the middle. All the offseason small ball practice worked to perfection in the next at-bat as, catcher Riley Moore bunted Gibbons over second a with sacrifice to third. Johnny Field then lined an RBI single through left side of the infield for the Wildcats' first run of the game.
In the following at-bat, Brandon Dixon launched a towering two-run home run over the left field fence to put UA ahead 3-1. It was Dixon's second career homer, both of which occurred at Hi Corbett Field.
"I've been flying out way too much lately, so I was just trying to hit a ground ball up the middle, to be honest," joked Dixon, who finished 3-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBIs. "I just got a good pitch and the rest happened."
After piling on another run in the fourth, the Wildcats exploded in the fifth, hitting all the way through the lineup.
The Wildcats had four hits - a triple (Trent Gilbert), double (Sam Parris) and two singles (Scott Kingery and Moore) - three steals, two walks and a hit batter for six runs.
Arizona added a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the sixth and an RBIs from Dixon (double), Gilbert (triple) and Newman (single) in the eighth to cap the scoring.
In relief, UA lefty Augey Bill did not allow a run in 2 2/3 innings pitched before giving way to closer Mathew Troupe, who fanned two Wolverines in a scoreless ninth.
"I thought Augey Bill did a great job," Lopez said. "Bill did a really good job of stopping the bleeding once they got a few hits [in the sixth]."
Utah Valley starter Ty Hansen (0-1) took the loss, allowing five runs - four earned - in four innings. Three of the four Wolverines relievers combined to allow the remaining nine runs.
This weekend, the Wildcats play host to a three-game series with San Francisco. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field.
GOAZCATS.com Baseball Staff Writer
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