TUCSON, Ariz. – Johnny Field had four hits and Zach Gibbon's drove in the eventual game-winning run in the seventh inning as Arizona snapped a six-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over Utah on Thursday evening at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona (16-11, 1-6 Pac-12) found itself in a familiar position as it trailed much of the game until Field, who went 4-for-5 in the game, tripled and scored to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. One inning later, Gibbons, who was 2-for-2 with a run scored, drove in Kevin Newman to put the Wildcats on top for the first time in the game.
The one-run lead proved to be enough as Tyger Talley and Mathew Troupe backed up starter Konner Wade to shut out the Utes over the final three frames. The trio of righties combined for a team season-high 13 strikeouts in the game.
Talley (W, 1-0) entered with a runner on and nobody out in the top of the seventh. The freshman recorded two quick outs and worked around a hit batsman before striking out AJ Young to strand runners at the corners and shift momentum into the home dugout.
In the home half of the inning, Trent Gilbert singled to lead off and Newman reached on an error. After a failed sacrifice bunt forced out Gilbert at third base, Gibbons stung a ball back up the middle to drive in Newman, who scored two runs in the game.
Troupe took over to start the eighth inning and closed the game out for his fifth save of the season. The sophomore registered three strikeouts and allowed just two runners to reach in his two innings of work. A lineout to Scott Kingery in right field left the potential tying run stranded at second in the ninth.
Utah (12-11, 2-5) jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a double steal with runners at the corners in the first. Dallas Carroll drew a throw to second base and Kody Davis beat the return throw home for the first run of the game.
Davis then hit a one-out triple in the third inning to set up another run. After a walk, Trey Nielson put down a safety squeeze that knocked in Davis to put the Utes up by two runs.
Arizona tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. Newman reached on a leadoff error and was bunted to second, before Gibbons singled. With runners on the corners, Ryan Koziol laid a perfect bunt down the third base line for an RBI single. Later, Field's two-out single drove in Gibbons to tie the game, 2-2.
The Utes regained the lead in the sixth after Wade misplayed a comebacker off the bat of Nielson that was compounded by a walk to Young, which put two on with no outs. Wade bounced back with two strikeouts, but Tyler Relf delivered a two-out RBI single to hand Utah a 3-2 edge.
Arizona wasted little time answering. Field tripled off the wall in left-center and scored on Jackson Willeford's sacrifice fly to center to re-tie the game, 3-3.
Wade matched his season-high with eight strikeouts, but did not factor into the decision. The junior tossed six-plus innings and gave up three runs – two earned – on six hits and two walks.
Utah starter Mitch Watrous did not factor into the decision either. The righty pitched 4.2 innings and was charged with two unearned runs on six hits and three walks. He also struck out three.
Reliever Luke West (L, 1-1) suffered the loss after giving up a pair of runs on three hits and a walk over 1.1 innings.
The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for Arizona, its longest since 2008.
The two teams continue the three-game series on Friday at 6 p.m. (MST). Eric Thomae will call the action on a live radio broadcast on 1290 AM.
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