Wildcats eliminate Delaware in Lubbock Regional - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Wildcats eliminate Delaware in Lubbock Regional

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LUBBOCK, Texas – The Arizona Wildcats staved off elimination Saturday, topping Delaware 6-5 in 12 innings at Rip Griffin Park at Dan Law Field.

The win kept Arizona’s season alive and improved the Wildcats to 38-20 on the season. Arizona will play again Sunday against the loser of Saturday night’s Texas Tech-Sam Houston State game at 12 p.m., MST. With the loss, Delaware was eliminated from the Lubbock Regional.

The thriller of a game lasted four hours and four minutes, featured 10 different pitchers and had a two-hour, 18-minute weather delay. But in the end, Alfonso Rivas homered in the 12th inning with two outs to put Arizona up a run. Juan Aguilera, who entered in the 11th inning, pitched a scoreless 12th to nail down the win.

Aguilera pitched two scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season and Cesar Salazar finished 3 for 6 with three RBI to pace the Wildcats offensively.

Arizona led 5-1 heading into the eighth inning, but Delaware scored two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Cody Deason came on to pitch a scoreless inning to send the game to the 11th inning.

But before the inning could start, both teams were pulled off the field because of lightning in the area. When the delay finally ended, two-plus hours later, the Wildcats couldn’t push a run across in the top of the 11th. Aguilera came on and tossed a scoreless 11th to send the game to the 12th. Rivas gave the Wildcats the lead for good when he hit a home run to the opposite field with two outs.

It marked Rivas’ seventh home run of the season and his 63rd RBI. He and JJ Matijevic have now combined for 128 RBI, the most by a set of Arizona teammates since Bill Rhinehart and C.J. Ziegler combined for 129 in 2007.

The wild ending came after five scoreless innings on both sides. Left-hander Cameron Ming started for Arizona and held Delaware off the scoreboard for the first five, as did Delaware starter Nick Spadafino.

The first run of the game finally came in the sixth inning when Salazar came through for the Cats. Matijevic led off the inning with a single to centerfield. He moved over to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Jared Oliva. Two batters later, Salazar came up with two outs. He singled to center on a 3-1 count to score Matijevic and break the 0-0 tie.

The one-run lead didn’t hold up long, though. Delaware answered right away with a run in the bottom half of the inning. With a runner on second and one out, cleanup hitter Nick Patten blooped a single to centerfield to score Jordan Glover, who had an infield single to leadoff the inning.

Tied 1-1, Arizona saw its bats come alive in the eighth inning. Arizona erupted for four runs in the eighth to take a 5-1 lead. Nick Quintana led off the game with a single and was pinch-run for by Sawyer Gieseke. Kyle Lewis then came up and showed bunt, but pulled back and slashed a double down the left field line to score Gieseke. Louis Boyd dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Lewis up a base and Cal Stevenson followed with a double to right-center to score Lewis and make it 3-1.

After Matijevic was intentionally walked, Oliva popped up and Rivas walked to load the bases, Salazar singled up the middle to score Stevenson and Matijevic and make it 5-1. The Blue Hens got to Ming in the eighth and scored two more runs. Ming exited after 7 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, three runs, five walks and striking out two.

Delaware struck for two more in the ninth to set up extra innings and Arizona’s eventually thrilling win. Stevenson and Matijevic each went 2 for 5 in the win. Boyd went 1 for 3 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt. Aguilera went two innings, allowing one hit and one walk, while striking out two to earn the first win of his Arizona career.

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