Nathan Bannister tossed his first complete game of the season Friday night to lift the Arizona Wildcats to a 4-1 victory over the Stanford Cardinal at Hi Corbett Field.
The senior right-hander dominated on his home field yet again, scattering just five hits and one run over nine innings. He didn’t issue a walk and needed just 114 pitches to earn the win. The Peoria native is now 5-0 at home this season with a 0.86 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting just .151 against him at cavernous Hi Corbett.
Bannister retired 20 straight hitters in the win Friday, spanning from the second inning to the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning. During that stretch, only five balls left the infield. The effort marked Bannister’s second complete game of his career, with the other coming last season.
Trailing 2-0 in the eighth inning, the Cardinal had an opportunity to try to get something going off Bannister when pinch-hitter Austin Barr roped a hit to left field. But as he raced around first base to head to second, he missed first base and was ruled out on appeal to end the eighth. The Wildcats then added two insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning to ensure victory for Bannister, who gave up his only run with two outs in the ninth.
The game was scoreless until Arizona’s offense broke through in the fifth inning. With two outs, Cody Ramer laced a double to right field. One batter later, fellow senior Zach Gibbons singled through the right side on a 1-1 count to plate Ramer and give the Cats a 1-0 lead.
That remained the score until the seventh when the Wildcats added another run. J.J. Matijevic started the inning off with a walk and moved to second when Louis Boyd grounded out to third. Catcher Ryan Haug then singled to move Matijevic to third after he had to freeze on the line drive hit.
That brought up Justin Behnke, who took four straight pitches to walk. On the fourth ball, Stanford catcher Alex Dunlap couldn’t handle the pitch and was given a passed ball, which allowed Matijevic to score from third to make it 2-0.
Bannister kept the Cardinal off the scoreboard in the eighth, thanks to the appeal. In the bottom of the inning, Bobby Dalbec started the inning with a walk and stole second. After a strikeout, Jared Oliva walked to put two on. Coach Jay Johnson then decided to pinch-hit Kyle Lewis for Matijevic. Lewis singled through the left side on a hit and run to score Dalbec from second and move Oliva to third.
Oliva then scored on another passed ball to make it 4-0. Lewis is now 6 for 7 at Hi Corbett Field this season after the RBI hit. He has two doubles, six RBI and three runs scored in his seven games at home this season.
The Cats had five hits in the win, with Ramer, Gibbons, Lewis, Haug and Behnke each collecting one. Dalbec reached base twice on walks and scored a run to go with his stolen base. Haug also stole a base in the win and Behnke added two.
The Wildcats will go for the series win Saturday at 7 p.m. Dalbec (7-3, 3.07 ERA) will start for the Wildcats versus left-hander Chris Castellanos.
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