PALO ALTO, CA - The University of Arizona baseball team captured its first road series victory of the season with a 6-4 win over host Stanford University on a balmy Saturday afternoon at Sunken Diamond.
Arizona (18-6, 3-2 Pac-12) claimed the initial lead with a run in the second, surged for three runs in the third and added another lone run in the fifth for what seemed – at the time – to be a comfortable 5-0 advantage for starter Robby Medel.
The right-hander, who allowed a leadoff hit to Tommy Edman in the bottom of the first, cruised through his first four frames by retiring 12 in a row.
However, Medel ran into trouble in the fifth.
Stanford (9-10, 0-2 Pac-12) scored four times in the home half of the fifth after Medel walked Mikey Diekroeger to begin the inning. Designated hitter Austin Barr followed with a double, Jack Klein drove in two with a triple and, following the pitching change, Bryce Carter singled home the fourth run with an infield hit against Austin Schnabel.
Schnabel (W, 2-2) was able to calm things down for the Wildcats, escaping the fifth and going on to pitch 2.1 innings with no runs allowed.
Cameron Ming relieved Schnabel in the seventh to retire two batters, then opened the eighth with a walk, prompting the Wildcats to call on closer Bobby Dalbec.
Dalbec surrendered a one-out single, which left runners at the corners, but the righty coaxed Diekroeger into an inning-double play.
In the ninth, Dalbec walked the first batter he saw, but bounced back with a double play and secured his fourth save with a game-ending strikeout of Carter.
Michael Hoard was 2-for-3 and put the Wildcats on the board in the second inning following his leadoff single. Zach Gibbons' single advanced Hoard to third, and the red-hot designated hitter scored on groundball double play hit by JJ Matijevic.
Arizona added three more runs in the third, which was sparked when Stanford starter Keith Weisenberg walked Justin Benhke, who then stole second and advanced to third on an error. Scott Kingery, who was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs, drove in Behnke with another single.
The Wildcats kept their foot on the gas pedal with Kevin Newman knocking a single of his own. Kingery and Newman were bunted to second and third, respectively, by Riley Moore, setting up a run-scoring groundout from Dalbec and a key two-out, RBI single from Hoard to extend the lead to 5-0.
Weisenberg (L, 1-2) suffered the loss after lasting only 2.2 innings. He allowed four runs on six hits and a walk.
After the Cardinal cut the margin to one-run in the fifth, Arizona tacked on a key insurance run in the seventh as Behnke stole home straight up with two outs in the inning.
The two teams wrap up the series Sunday at 1 p.m. (PDT). The Pac-12 Network will have a live television broadcast and the Arizona IMG Sports Network will have a live radio broadcast on 1290 AM.
GAME NOTES: Arizona secured its first series win over Stanford since 2012. The Wildcats last won a series at Sunken Diamond in the 2009 season … Andy Lopez has now led the Wildcats to a series win over the Cardinal in nine of his 14 seasons, including five times at Sunken Diamond … Bobby Dalbec extended his season-opening streak for reaching base to 24 games … Zach Gibbons and Kevin Newman extended their hitting streaks to 12 and 11 games, respectively … Scott Kingery's double to lead off the game marked the 13th-straight contest Arizona has collected an extra base hit … Justin Behnke executed a straight steal of home in the seventh inning, becoming the second Wildcat to do so this year (Newman vs. Rice on Feb. 21) … The game was completed in 2:42, marking the first conference game under three hours for the Wildcats … Arizona's defense turned three doubles in the game, matching the season high set on two previous occasions.