TUCSON, Ariz. – Propelled by a four-run first inning, the Arizona baseball team captured a series-clinching victory, 6-4, over visiting California before a crowd of 3,365 on Friday evening at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona (20-11, 5-6 Pac-12) again utilized a balanced offensive attack to defeat California (16-15, 5-6 Pac-12) for the second straight night. The Wildcats won the opener, 10-1, on Friday.
After scoring six runs over the first two innings on Friday, the Wildcats tried a similar formula on Saturday with the four-run first inning. Unlike Friday's tilt, the Golden Bears fought the Wildcats to the final out.
Arizona held a 6-4 advantage entering the bottom of the ninth and sent closer Mathew Troupe to the mound. Troupe quickly struck out Grant Diede to open the frame, but subsequently hit Mike Revenkamp with a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate.
Troupe came back to strike out Devin Pearson, but Brenden Farney hit a two-out single to right that left runners on the corners. Then, facing the go-ahead run, Troupe struck out Devon Rodriguez to end the game and secure the sophomore his seventh save of the season.
The Wildcats rapped out 11 hits on Saturday, including run-scoring hits from six different players. Johnny Field led the charge with a 3-for-5 night, while Zach Gibbons went 2-for-4 with a triple. Brandon Dixon and Scott Kingery added their own triples, with each driving in a run.
Arizona struck early and often against California starter Justin Jones, who lasted just one inning after giving up five-straight hits to open the game. Jones (L, 1-4) suffered the loss after surrendering four runs on six hits in his only inning.
California's bullpen did a steady job limiting the Wildcats the rest of the way. Chris Fisher-Muse, Ryan Wertenberger, Trevor Hildenberger and Keaton Siomtin combined to allow only two runs over the next seven innings.
Trailing 4-0 in the top of the second, the Golden Bears scored twice off starter James Farris. A one-out double by Jacob Wark ignited an early rally as Chris Paul and Diede later delivered RBI singles.
The damage could have been worse if not for a big defensive play made by the Wildcats.
With two out and runners on first and second, Pearson lined a single to right field. Diede tried to score from second, but Joseph Maggi's throw to the plate skipped perfectly into the glove of catcher Riley Moore, who applied the tag for the final out of the inning.
Arizona added a run in the bottom of third after Gibbons tripled to the right field corner. Newman followed with a perfectly placed bunt single to tack on another run.
An inning later, Sam Parris ripped a single up the middle and advanced to second on a bunt. Field followed with an RBI single to center field, and the Wildcats held a 6-2 lead.
That remained the score until the top of the seventh when the Golden Bears strung together three straight hits against reliever Tyger Talley. Diede, who was 2-for-3 in the game, plated a run with his second hit of the game.
Augey Bill took over for Talley and, despite allowing a run to score on a groundout, retired three of the four batters he faced. The final out came when Bill struck out Andrew Knapp to strand the tying run in scoring position. Bill went on to pitch a clean 1-2-3 eighth.
Talley (W, 3-0) earned the win after coming on in relief of Farris, who allowed only two runs on six hits over 4.2 innings despite battling an illness. Talley gave up two runs on three hits over 1.2 innings before turning the game over to Bill and Troupe.
Arizona, which has won a season-high five consecutive games, can sweep its second straight conference series with a win on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. (MST) at Hi Corbett Field. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and broadcast on 1290 AM.
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