Zags Late Inning Rally Comes Up Short Against #21 Arizona
April 12, 2010
SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University’s late inning comeback was turned away by a fine game-ending defensive play as Drew Heid’s line drive headed towards the left center gap with the game-tying run on base was snagged by a leaping University of Arizona shortstop to hand the Bulldogs a 5-4 loss at the Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field Monday afternoon. Gonzaga has its record fall to 12-19-1 while the No. 21 ranked Wildcats improved to 23-9 overall.
Heid finished the day 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored while Clayton Eslick also added two hits, run scored and a RBI for the Zags. A four-run Arizona sixth inning proved to the difference as a three-run eighth inning by Gonzaga made it a one-run game before Heid lined out with the tying run on first to end it.
Gonzaga made it a one-run game before Heid lined out with the tying run on first to end it. Gonzaga nearly took an early lead in the second inning but an outstanding diving play turned in by the Wildcats kept the Bulldogs off the board. With runners on first and third and two outs, Gonzaga’s Brian Yardley took a pitch back up the middle for what would have allowed Andy Hunter to trot home for the score but Arizona second baseman Robert Refsnyder dove to his right, back up the middle and snagged the Yardley grounder and then flipped the ball while laying on his stomach to the shortstop standing at second base for the inning-ending force out.
An inning later both teams used the long ball to put single runs on the scoreboard as Rafael Valenzuela’s solo shot to right field off of GU starter Andrew Danner gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Heid answered right back for the Zags with a towering solo home run that sailed high over the 50-foot high netting beyond the right field fence to even the game up at 1-1. The Bulldogs missed out on a scoring threat later in the inning as a Clayton Eslick infield single and back-to-back hit-by-pitches loaded the bases for Cameron Edman. The Zags third baseman then drove a 1-1 pitch deep to centerfield, forcing the UA centerfielder Joey Rickard to turn his back and run but the wind blowing in from left field seemed to keep the ball in the yard as Rickard made the catch on the warning track for the inning’s third out.
Danner settled into a groove after surrendering the home run, working around a couple singles to post scoreless fourth and fifth innings before UA eventually got to the junior lefthander in the sixth. The Wildcats opened the sixth inning with three straight base-hits to score one run. After a strike out, Arizona added three more runs on back-to-back singles to build a 5-1 lead. Gonzaga reliever Liam Baron took over for Danner to record the final two outs of the sixth before he combined with Mark Phillips to keep UA off the board the final three innings.
In the eighth, the Zags got back into it with three runs to make it a one-run ball game. Heid opened the frame with a walk and Steven Halcomb reached on a throwing error by the Arizona third baseman to put runners on the corners. Eslick stepped in and drove a 2-1 pitch into the right centerfield gap for an RBI-double, scoring Heid and putting two runners on with nobody out for the heart of the Bulldogs lineup. Mark Castellitto drove home Halcomb with a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield that also allowed Eslick move up to third. Hunter capped the Zags three-run inning with a RBI-ground out to cut Arizona’s lead to 5-4 heading to the ninth.
After Phillips sat the Wildcats down in order to start the ninth, the Zags caught a break as Kevin Hawk reached on a throwing error by UA shortstop Alex Mejia. The Bulldogs leading hitter Heid stepped in and lined a 0-1 pitch towards the left centerfield gap but Mejia leaped and snagged the screaming line drive for the game’s final out to preserve the 5-4 Arizona win.
The Bulldogs will match up with another Pacific-10 Conference team this week, heading to Pullman, Wash. to face Washington State University 5:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
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