Utah scored five runs in the ninth inning to top Arizona 7-6 Saturday afternoon at Smith’s Ballpark.
Arizona scored two runs in the top of the ninth to extend its lead to 6-2, but couldn’t close out the inning. The Wildcats got two outs in the inning, but the Utes were able to put two men on. Cody Scaggari singled to bring home two runs to make it 6-4 off freshman right-hander Austin Rubick. Rubick then walked the next two batters to load the bases.
Left-hander Cameron Ming took over, but gave up a single to Max Schuman to tie the game at six. Patrick Flynn then singled to deep right field to score the winning run and give Utah (9-14, 6-2 Pac-12) the series victory over Arizona.
Starting pitcher JC Cloney, who was scheduled to start Friday, but was bumped back a day after a bout with the flu, was dominant for the second straight week, but picked up a no-decision. The junior left-hander went 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He didn’t issue any walks and struck out three.
The lefty tossed a complete game last weekend against UCLA in a 6-1 win over the Bruins. Cloney didn’t surrender a hit until one out in the third inning. He didn’t give up another hit until the sixth inning.
Arizona (17-10, 3-5) didn't waste any time getting on the scoreboard. Justin Behnke, batting in the No. 1 spot in the lineup for the first time this season, lined an opposite-field double to left field to open the game. He moved over to third on a fly out from Cody Ramer. Zach Gibbons and Ryan Aguilar then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out.
After a fielder's choice got Behnke at home, Jared Oliva came through with a two-out, two run single to put Arizona up 2-0.
The Cats went right back to work in the second to add on to their lead. J.J. Matijevic led off the inning with a single and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Louis Boyd. Behnke then beat out an infield single to put runners on the corners with one out. Ramer then came through for Arizona, roping a single to score Matijevic to make it 3-0.
That remained the score until the fifth inning. Ramer opened the inning with a double to center. He moved to second on a groundout from Gibbons and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Aguilar to make it 3-0.
Utah cut into the lead in the sixth when Hunter Simmons came through with a two-out single to score DaShawn Keirsey Jr. The Utes plated a second run when reliever Cody Deason was called for a balk with two outs in the eighth to score Scaggari. The run was charged to Cloney, who gave up a single to Scaggari to lead off the inning.
Cody Moffett entered for Deason after the balk and struck out Flynn to end the inning and send the Cats to the ninth with a two-run lead.
Arizona extended that lead in the ninth. Kyle Lewis, who entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, doubled down the left field line to open the inning. With one out, he was moved to third when Behnke beat out a bunt for a base hit. Lewis then scored when Ramer reached on an error by the third baseman to make it 5-2.
One batter later, Gibbons hit a hard grounder that was snagged by the second baseman, but allowed Behnke to score from third to give Arizona a four-run lead.
However, Utah put together a five-run inning for the second straight game to come up with the victory. Arizona was without preseason All-American Bobby Dalbec, who missed the game with the flu.
The two teams will finish the series Sunday at noon MST. The Wildcats have yet to announce a starting pitcher.
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