Cats fall just short against No. 1 Horns

Arizona proved it could play with the best. The Wildcats fell behind early but gave the Texas Longhorns before falling in the ninth. A key mistake kept the inning alive and the Longhorns prevailed 5-4.

The Wildcats trailed 4-2 but fought back to tie the game late. However, Texas took the lead in the top of the ninth and did not look back.

Mark Melancon pitched a solid eighth, but ran into trouble in the next frame. He walked the leadoff hitter before retiring the next two batters. Clay Van Hook singled. Chance Wheeless hit a hopper to second baseman Lee Franklin, who hesitated before throwing the second. The moment of indecision proved costly as Van Hook slid under the tag to keep the inning alive. Melancon hit the next batter Robby Hudson to give the Longhorns their fifth run.

Arizona failed to score in the ninth as Brent J. Cox forced three straight fly outs to ice the win.

The Longhorns struck first in the second. Van Hook doubled which allowed Will Crouch to third. Wheeless ground out which allowed Crouch to score.

Texas extended the lead in the third. Leadoff hitter Drew Stuffs walked. Nick Peeples laid down a sacrifice bunt, which was fielded by pitcher John Meloan, but the Wildcat starter's throw got away from him and rolled down the right field line. Stubbs scored, while Peeples advanced to third. Seth Johnston hit a sharp grounder to second which allowed Peeples to score.

Arizona answered in the bottom of the third. Brad Boyer singled and the next batter, Jeff Van Houten sent a screamer to center field which was misplayed at the wall. Boyer scored and Van Houten followed suit one batter later after a single by Jordan Brown. Catcher Nick Hundley gave the Cats their fourth hit in a row and he and Brown advanced to second and third on a passed ball but were stranded after the final two batters got out.

Texas got back on the board in the sixth Wheeless singled and Hudson advanced him to second. Both runners advanced to scoring position on a passed ball. Peeples hit a deep shot to left that scored Wheeless and the Longhorns led 4-2.

The Cats struggled to score. They stranded ten batters before breaking through in the seventh. Reliever Buck Cody walked the first two batters of the inning but settled down to retire the next two UA hitters. Chris Frey singled to center, allowing Brown time to head home. Texas attempted to throw Brown out and the ball got away from catcher Taylor Teagarden. The throwing error gave Hundley enough time to race to the plate and tie the game at four.

Melancon took the loss, while Cox got his second win of the season. Arizona's Jeff Van Houten (1 for 5, R, RBI) and Jordan Brown (1 for 4, R) extended their hitting streaks to 21 and 15 straight games respectively The two teams meet up again Saturday.

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