TUCSON, Ariz. – Utah Valley scored three runs over the first three innings on Tuesday evening, then held on to earn a 3-1 upset victory over No. 10 Arizona and snap the Wildcats 12-game home winning streak at Hi Corbett Field. The win was the Wolverines second-straight against the Wildcats, and the programs fifth all-time win against a ranked team.
Utah Valley (4-4) scored two times in the second inning against Tyler Crawford. Kai Hatch reached on an error to lead off, then moved to third on Colby Croft's single. Kai scored on a double play groundout, and Court Zollinger reached on two-out single, before a fluky play allowed a second run to score.
Beau Kallas lofted a fly ball to straight away left field, but UA's Joseph Maggi lost the ball in the lights at dusk, allowing the ball to land behind him. Zollinger scored from first base and Kallas scampered into third with an RBI triple.
The Wolverines, who upended the Wildcats in Orem, Utah, last April, added to their 2-0 lead in the third. Willie Pratt drew a leadoff walk and Riley White singled to open the frame. A fielder's choice left runners on the corners with one out, and Crawford (L, 1-1) was lifted in favor of reliever Nick Cunningham. A sacrifice fly by Hatch pushed the lead to 3-0, which proved to be all the runs Utah Valley needed.
Arizona (7-2) mustered just one run on five hits in the game and stranded 10 runners on base. The Wildcats finished the game just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and left two runners on base in each of the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
The lone run for the homestanding Wildcats came in the fourth. With one out and Johnny Field on first base, Brandon Dixon was hit by a pitch to push Field into scoring position. Trent Gilbert, who finished 2-for-4, drove in Field with a single to center. The throw home allowed Dixon and Gilbert to move to third and second base, respectively.
With two runners in scoring position and just one down, Kevin Newman lined out to centerfield. The Wildcats appeared to have scored a run on a sacrifice fly, but an appeal to third base resulted in Dixon getting called out for leaving the bag early.
Despite the early 3-1 deficit, the Wildcats had a fighting chance to the end thanks to a dominant relief effort by Cunningham. The righty tossed a career-long 5.2 innings and allowed just three hits and no runs while striking out five. He turned the game over to Mathew Troupe, who retired each batter he faced in the top of the ninth.
But Arizona's offense was unable to string together enough hits against the Wolverines' pitching.
Starter Andrew Freter (W, 1-0) earned the win with 5.1 innings pitched and just one run allowed. He surrendered three hits and walked three, before he gave way to lefty Jeff Barto, whose 2.2 scoreless innings held the score for closer Brian Whatcott. The right-hander entered with a runner on base and he eventually allowed the tying run to reach in the ninth via a walk, but he struck out Riley Moore to earn his second save of the season.
The two teams wrap up the brief two-game series on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field.
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