Arizona Explodes Late To Even Series

The Arizona Wildcats scored 11 unanswered runs to finish the game Saturday night en route to a 14-4 victory over Stanford. The Cardinal held onto a one-run lead before the Wildcats struck for three runs in the fifth, one in the sixth, and seven in the eighth to run away with the win. The weekend series is now tied at a game apiece with the rubber contest scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Tucson.

After 4 1/2 innings Saturday night, the Stanford Cardinal held onto a slim 4-3 lead.  The offense had produced six hits and outside of a couple of long balls surrendered, Jeremy Bleich was throwing well.  Then the floodgates opened.  The Arizona Wildcats exploded for 11 unanswered runs to finish the game en route to a convincing 14-4 victory.  Tonight's result evened the series at a game apiece with the rubber contest scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Tucson.

The Wildcats took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth with three runs against Bleich.  After Max Fearnow gave up a run in the sixth, Arizona put the game out of reach with a whopping seven scores in the bottom of the eighth. 

Bleich threw relatively well during the first two trips through the order.  The freshman southpaw, who was making his second career start, fell victim to the home run ball early in the contest.  The bottom of the first saw UA shortstop Jason Donald connect for a two-out, two-run homer to left.  Then in the fourth, catcher Konrad Schmidt blasted his first homer of the season - a solo shot to tie the game at 3-3. 

Bleich had retired six straight hitters before the Schmidt blast and then started the fifth on the right foot with a strikeout of Travis Peep.  But with one out in that fifth inning, and the Cardinal ahead by a 4-3 margin, Arizona started to rally.  Leadoff batter Brad Boyer stepped to the plate and smoked a triple to deep right field.  Colt Sedbrook then attempted a safety-squeeze bunt play.  The #2 hitter bunted the ball back to the mound, but Boyer elected to stay at third base in the fear of Bleich throwing him out.  The surprised Cardinal pitcher than was unable to make a play at first base and thus Sedbrook reached safely on the single.

David Plante was up next and the Arizona left fielder continued his big day with a single through the right side scoring Boyer with the tying run.  Then a passed ball from catcher John Hester scored Sedbrook from third base giving the Wildcats a lead they would not relinquish.

Two batters later, Bill Rhinehart delivered an RBI single to make it a 6-4 game which ended Bleich's evening.  Unfortunately for Stanford, the worst was still to come.

Trailing 6-4, the Cardinal had an opportunity in the top of the sixth when a leadoff walk and a two-out single put a pair of runners on.  But Hester grounded into an inning-ending fielder's choice to keep the deficit at two runs.

Then with the score at 7-4, Stanford had a golden opportunity in the top of the seventh.  Facing relief pitcher Daniel Schlereth, Chris Lewis, Brent Milleville, and Brian Juhl drew back-to-back-to-back two-out walks.  Schlereth threw just two strikes during the course of facing those three batters to give the Cardinal an indication they may not have to swing the bat to draw closer.

Jim Rapoport was up next and Schlereth missed the strike zone with the first three pitches of that at-bat.  Needing just one more ball to force home a run, Schlereth composed himself though to fire a pair of strikes.  Then on the 3-2 offering, Rapoport popped out weakly to shortstop to keep the score at 7-4.

Arizona broke the game wide open in the bottom of the eighth sending 12 men to the plate - seven of which scored runs.  A pair of Cord Phelps misplays at second base helped the Wildcats cause tremendously, but Arizona did their fare share of hitting in the frame.

All total, the Wildcats pounded out six hits in the bottom of the eighth - two doubles and four singles.  After the fourth hit of the inning - a two-run double from pinch-hitter Derek Decater - Fearnow was removed from the contest.  Down 11-4, struggling lefty Blake Holler was summoned into pitch and it wouldn't get much better for Stanford.  Two batters into his stint on the mound, Holler yielded a two-run double to Rhinehart before Brad Glenn capped the scoring with an RBI single.  When the dust had settled, the Wildcats had turned a one-run deficit into a commanding ten-run lead in just four innings.

The Stanford offense managed just two singles in their final four innings at the plate while Arizona broke out.  Earlier in the contest, Seawell, Rapoport, and Taylor delivered clutch extra base hits to key run-scoring rallies.  In the third, Seawell doubled with one out and eventually scored on a two-out passed ball.

In the fourth, Rapoport drove a two-out, RBI triple into the right field corner to tie the game at 3-3.  He would later score on a throwing error from the third baseman Peep.

Stanford's final run of the evening came in the top of the fifth when Taylor belted a triple off the fence in left center field.  He scored, to make it a 4-3 affair, on a Chris Lewis ground out.

Stanford    0 0 1  2 1 0  0 0 0   -   4   8   1
Arizona     2 0 0  1 3 1  0 7 X   -  14  18   1

Stanford          POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Ryan Seawell       CF    5   1   2   0      0   1
John Hester         C    5   0   2   0      0   0
Chris Minaker      SS    5   0   1   0      0   0
Michael Taylor     RF    5   1   1   0      0   1
Chris Lewis        3B    4   0   0   1      1   2
Brent Milleville   1B    3   1   0   0      2   2
Greg Reynolds      DH    0   0   0   0      0   0
 Brian Juhl       PH/DH  2   0   1   0      2   0
Jim Rapoport       LF    4   1   1   1      0   1
Cord Phelps        3B    3   0   0   0      1   2

2B: Seawell
3B: Taylor, Rapoport
SB: Milleville

                      IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Jeremy Bleich (L)    4.2   9   6   5   0   4
Max Fearnow          2.2   7   7   4   1   3
Blake Holler         0.2   2   1   1   1   1

Arizona           POS   AB   R   H  RBI    BB  SO
Brad Boyer         2B    5   2   1   0      0   1
Colt Sedbrook      1B    4   2   1   0      1   0
David Plante       LF    4   2   3   1      0   1
 Kenny Williams   PR/LF  0   0   0   0      0   0
 Derek Decater    PH/LF  1   1   1   2      0   0
Jason Donald       SS    5   1   1   2      0   1
Bill Rhinehart     RF    5   1   2   3      0   1
Brad Glenn         DH    5   1   2   1      0   2
Konrad Schmidt      C    4   2   2   1      1   0
T.J. Steele        CF    5   1   2   0      0   1
Travis Peep        3B    4   1   3   2      0   1

2B: Decater, Rhinehart, Steele, Peep
3B: Boyer
HR: Donald (3rd), Schmidt (1st)

                       IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Brad Mills (W)        6.0   7   4   2   3   5
Daniel Schlereth (S)  3.0   1   0   0   3   4

WP: Brad Mills (4-3)
LP Jeremy Bleich (2-3)
S: Daniel Schlereth (3)

Records: Stanford (17-16, 3-8), Arizona (16-20, 4-7)

* After allowing just one run over six innings last weekend at Oregon State, Bleich endured many more difficulties this evening.  The left-hander had allowed just six earned runs in his first 26 innings pitched this year.  He allowed five earned runs tonight.  In addition, the two home runs surrendered were the first two Bleich had given up this season.

* Arizona starter Brad Mills endured six stressful innings to earn the victory.  Mills pitched out of the stretch in every inning and ended up throwing 113 pitches on the night.

* Stanford left 11 runners on base.

* Seawell continued his hot streak as the leadoff batter producing two hits in five trips to the plate tonight.  The center fielder has spent the last four games in the leadoff position compiling multi-hit games every time out.

* Juhl earned the "start" at DH for the Cardinal.  The sophomore back-up catcher has played well in limited action this year and was given an opportunity to see some extended time on the field this evening.  Juhl reached base safely three times (single and two walks) and is now batting .385 (5-for-13) with a .579 on-base percentage this season.

* Rapoport made his first start of the season in left field tonight.  The junior though has been seeing considerable time at that position off the bench over the last week.

* In addition to struggling in the field during the dreadful bottom of the eighth, Phelps also went hitless in three at-bats (two K's) at the plate.  The freshman infielder has just three hits in his last 39 at-bats (.077) and is batting .184 for the season.

* The Cardinal and Wildcats will play the rubber game of this series on Sunday afternoon.  First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 P.M. (PDT).  Matt Manship (1-4, 5.31 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for Stanford while Arizona is expected to counter with lefty David Coulon (1-3, 7.00 ERA).

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