Baseball splits twin bill with Sac State

The Arizona baseball team split a double-header with Sacramento State as part of a makeup for Friday's rain-out.

Saturday afternoon was ugly for the Arizona baseball team.

The Wildcats committed five errors and surrendered six unearned runs in a 9-8 loss to Sacramento State in game one of a doubleheader at Kindall Field.

"I don't think I've won many games when we've made five errors, so I'm not completely surprised," said UA coach Andy Lopez. "You can't give up six unearned runs. You can't do that in an intrasquad."

Four different Wildcats (7-6-1) had fielding miscues, including shortstop Jason Donald who had two. Moises Duran misplayed a bunt, as did pitchers Koley Kolberg and Mark Melancon. Kolberg and Melancon fielded bunts cleanly, but threw wildly past the first baseman, allowing runs to score.

"They both told me they lost their footing," Lopez said. "It's hard to explain. It just happened."

Kolberg's error came at the end of a Jekyll and Hyde outing in which he allowed three hits and no runs through the first five innings, but six hits and seven runs over the next two. The reigning Pac-10 pitcher of the week was lifted after 109 pitches in six-plus innings of work, his second lowest pitch count of the year. Kolberg threw 132 pitches in his win over Baylor last week in Waco.

"He just got a little tired at the end," Lopez said. "But to their credit, he made a couple of mistakes and they punished him. He made two mistakes on two pitches and they hit them both out."

Buddy Morales and Jack Arroyo hit the home runs for the Hornets (11-9) and combined for three RBI. Brian Blauser went 3-4 and drove in two.

Duran, Donald and Bill Rhinehart did most of the offensive damage for the Wildcats. The trio combined for seven of Arizona's 15 hits and drove in seven of the eight runs. Rhinehart picked up his two RBI on a homer as part of Arizona's four-run second inning which staked the home team to a 4-0 lead.

The Wildcats extended their advantage to 5-0 in the fourth after Brad Boyer reached on an error, stole second and came around on Duran's RBI single.

Sacramento State roared back with four runs of its own in the sixth and three more in the seventh to take a 7-5 lead.

After the Wildcats tied it at 7 with single runs in the seventh and eighth, the Hornets reclaimed the lead with two in the top of the ninth including one on Melancon's throwing error and another on a suicide squeeze.

Arizona scored once in the ninth on Jordan Brown's pinch hit single but had the tying run stranded at second when Hornets right fielder Craig Johnson made a spectacular diving catch on John Hardy's foul pop up in the bullpen.

Melancon took the loss to drop to 3-2 on the season. Renecke Stelzriede worked the final two innings for his third win of the season.

Game Two:

Arizona did not play well in game one of Saturday's doubleheader against Sacramento State, prompting head coach Andy Lopez to wonder how his team would respond in the nightcap.

Two and a half hours later, the coach had his answer.

Luis Cortez tossed eight and two-thirds innings of eight-hit ball and Trevor Crowe went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored as the Wildcats beat the Hornets 5-2.

"It was good to see us bounce back," Lopez said. "It was a good example of playing the game soundly, getting some timely hitting and getting a great starting performance. We needed that."

The Wildcats did not commit an error after they had a season-high five in game one. But the defense was only needed to make routine plays behind Cortez, who struck out eight and walked just three in his time on the mound. He was lifted after surrendering a two-out homer to Matt Wilson in the ninth.

"I worked a lot this week on location and spotting my fastball and it showed up in the game," Cortez said. "If you can locate the fastball, it's going to be a mismatch."

Crowe was a mismatch for the Hornet pitchers. He had three consecutive hits after a fly out to center in his first at-bat in the second. He singled in the fourth, tripled in the sixth and drilled a two-run homer to straight away center in the eighth.

"I was just trying to go up the middle, " Crowe said of his home run. "Sometimes when you just try to not do too much a good swing turns into a great swing, and that's what happened."

Crowe needed some great swings to break out of his early-season slump. The sophomore entered the game hitting just .240 after posting a .316 average as a freshman, but his 4-for-5 day, including a two-out single as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of Saturday's opener, might be exactly what he needs to get back on track.

"It was good to see him get back in the swing of things," Lopez said. "He's a good player and I know he hasn't gone the way he's wanted to go, but it was good to see him go out and hit the way he did today."

Nick Hundley, Jordan Brown and Jason Donald also drove in runs for Arizona (8-6-1), which overcame another early deficit to get the win.

Craig Johnson homered off Cortez with two out in the top of the first to give the Hornets (11-10) a 1-0 lead. It was the 10th time in 15 games that Arizona has trailed after the first inning.

The Wildcats tied it in the third on Donald's RBI groundout. They took the lead in the fourth after Crowe singled, stole second and came home on Hundley's base hit.

Crowe's second run of the game came in the sixth. His triple set the stage for Brown's RBI single. In the ninth, Jeff Van Houten doubled in front of Crowe's second home run of the season.


Wildcat Authority Top Stories