One day removed from a 24-7 romp over East Tennessee State, 11th-ranked Arizona came out on top once again, securing a series victory with a 6-4 win Saturday afternoon at Hi Corbett field.
The victory wasn't pretty, but the 'Cats were able to hang on, clinching their 10th weekend series in 11 tries.
"It's good to get another win," coach Andy Lopez said. "We did what we needed to do to get out on top."
Arizona (28-13) would get off to a hot start, scoring two runs in the first inning highlighted by an Alex Mejia RBI triple to left-center field.
ETSU (19-23) would get on the board in the top of the third, but the Wildcats would quickly answer back in a big way in the bottom half of the inning.
After Mejia scored on a sacrifice fly, Bobby Brown delivered a monstrous solo shot over the right field fence to increase Arizona's lead to 4-1. The home run was Brown's second of the season and his first at Hi Corbett, which has only yielded seven other blasts all season.
Brown wasn't sure if the ball would clear the fence due to the never-changing wind that blows in from right field.
"I hit really hard, and was fortunate enough that it went over," Brown said. "I saw the right fielder kind of stop and not go for it anymore, then I kind of slowed up a little bit around the bases."
The Buccaneers would bounce back, scoring in the top of the fourth on a two-run single by Clinton Freeman, cutting Arizona's lead to 4-3.
Arizona would increase its lead to 5-3 with a run in the fifth inning.
Wildcats starter Konner Wade (7-1) pitched 7 1/3 strong innings, giving up only three runs on eight hits while striking out seven.
Wade was happy with the result but thought there was room for improvement.
"I need to do a better job getting first-pitch strikes and working ahead of guys," Wade said. "I need to do a better job of having a shutdown inning after we score."
Reliever Stephen Manthei would replace Wade with one out in the eighth inning. After plunking a batter, Manthei struck out two consecutive batters to get out of the inning.
UA tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half of the eighth and headed to the ninth clinging to a 6-3 lead.
The Bucs would make the game interesting, scoring on an RBI double by Dylan Pratt. Then with two outs and one man on, the nation's leading home run hitter, Matthew Scruggs, would come to the plate representing the tying run. Manthei was able to get Scruggs to fly out to shallow right field to end the game, earning his second save of the season.
John Long (5-5) of ETSU received the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) on 13 hits in 7 1/3 innings of work.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow at noon in the series finale at Hi Corbett Field.
Click Here to view this Link.Matt Lundgren
GOAZCATS.com Staff Writer