Baseball splits a double header

Baseball splits a double header

For the second consecutive Saturday the No. 16-ranked Arizona baseball team (8-6-1) split a doubleheader, falling to Sacramento State (11-9), 9-8 on Kindall Field at Sancet Stadium in game one before rebounding to win game two, 5-2.

Game One

Leading 5-0 through five innings, Arizona committed three of its season-high five errors in the game in the final three innings to allow the Hornets to rally to victory.

Aided by a fielding miscue by freshman Jason Donald, Sac State scored four runs in the sixth off of UA starter Koley Kolberg to cut the Wildcats advantage to one.

Right fielder Craig Johnson led off the frame with a single to center and came around to score on Brian Blauser's one-out double two batters latter. Bret LeVier followed with a ground ball towards short, which Donald misplayed allowing Blauser to score and LeVier to reach base.

One-out later Buddy Morales hit his first home run of the year off of Kolberg to plate LeVier and cut the UA lead to 5-4.

After a John Acha solo home run to lead off the seventh tied the game at 5-5, the Hornets took advantage of yet another Wildcat error to take their first lead of the game.

With Ronnie Machado, Jr. on first, Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt on the third base side of the mound. Kolberg fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw to first baseman Pat Reilly sailed high and down the right field line.

The errant throw allowed Machado to round the basesto score and Johnson to slide safely into third. Blauser followed two batters later with a run-scoring single to hand CSUS a 7-5 lead.

The Wildcats rallied to tied the game with a pair of single runs in the bottom of the seventh and eight innings, only to have its bunt defense betray it again in the ninth.

With one-out and CSUS's Johnson on second, Acha bunted down the first base line for a single. Reliever Mark Melancon fielded the ball and threw over Chris Frey's head at first and into right field for the fifth error of the game. The poor throw allowed Johnson to score easily and placed Acha at third.

An intentional walk to Blauser paved the way for UA closer Derek Rodriguez to enter the game with one out and runners on the corners for LeVier. The Hornet shortstop executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt back to Rodriguez to plate Acha and give CSUS a 9-7 lead.

The Wildcats' attempt to tie the game again in the bottom of the ninth came up one run short. After Jordan Brown's two-out pinch-hit single brought the UA within one run, Johnson made a diving catch of John Hardy's foul ball down the right field line to strand Richard Mercado, the tying run, at second.

Sac State's Renecke Stelzriede picked up his third win of the year with year with two innings of work in relief. Melancon was charged with his second loss of the season after giving up two runs on two hits in 2 1/3 innings of work.

Counting Mercado's potential game-tying run in the ninth, Arizona stranded 10 runners on base, eight in scoring position.

Individually, Moises Duran led the way in the losing effort for the Wildcats. The senior finished 3 for 4 with three RBI. Freshman Bill Rhinehart hit his second home run of the season for Arizona.

Sac State's Blauser paced the Hornet attack with a 3 for 4, two-RBI day.

Game Two

Redshirt sophomore Luis Cortez struck out a season-high eight Hornet batters over 8 2/3 innings to help the Wildcats earn the doubleheader split. The right-hander gave up just two runs on eight hits for his second win of the year.

Trailing 1-0 in the third, Moises Duran tripled with one out and tied the game on Jason Donald's RBI ground out one batter later. Arizona took the lead for good an inning later on Nick Hundley's run-scoring single that plated Trevor Crowe.

UA added another run on Jordan Brown's RBI single in the sixth and two runs on Crowe's first home run of the season in the eighth.

Cortez, who stranded seven runners on base, did not allow a Hornet runner past first for four consecutive innings before surrendering a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Reliever Derek Rodriguez worked the final 1/3 of an inning to close out the win.

Crowe, who entered the game hitting just .208, finished Saturday's second game 3 for 4 with the home run, two RBI and three runs scored. Classmate Nick Hundley also broke out of a slump with a 2 for 3, one RBI effort.

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