TUCSON, Ariz. (Apr. 28, 2012) – No. 11 Arizona (28-13) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning and held off ETSU, 6-4, to clinch the series in game two of the series Saturday evening at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona starter Konner Wade (6-1) earned the victory after allowing eight hits and three runs, while striking out six in 7.1 innings. Stephen Manthei picked up the save after tossing the final inning and a third. John Long (Anderson, S.C.) gave the Bucs a chance with a solid start, but dropped his record to an even 5-5 after allowing five runs in seven innings of work, while striking out five and walking just one.
Alex Mejia led the Wildcats with a 3-for-5 day at the plate that included a triple, two runs and an RBI. Robert Refsnyder was 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI, while Brandon Dixon and Johnny Field also had a multiple hits. Meanwhile, Sean Mejias-Brean was 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI.
ETSU (19-23) was led by Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) as he recorded his second straight three-hit game. Freeman was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI, while now reaching base in 36 straight games. Freshman Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish with a double for his first career three hit game. Meanwhile, Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) each had a hit and an RBI on the day.
Arizona grabbed the early 2-0 lead on two hits in the bottom of the first. Field led off the inning with a single to left field. The next batter Mejia drilled a RBI triple to the left center field gap to go in front 1-0. Refsnyder followed with an RBI ground out for the second run of the contest.
ETSU got on the scoreboard in the top of the third with a run on a RBI ground-rule double by Scruggs. With one-out in the inning, Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) and Freeman recorded back-to-back singles. Then, with two-outs, Scruggs drilled a doubled to left field to score Green from second.
The Wildcats answered right back with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the third. Mejia led off the frame with an infield single and advanced to second on an errant throw. After a Refsnyder sacrifice bunt, Mejias-Brean recorded a sacrifice fly to put the Wildcats in front, 3-1. Bobby Brown followed by belting the 1-2 pitch from Long deep over the right field wall for his second home run of the season.
The Bucs pulled to within one run once again with two runs in the inning on a two-run single by Freeman. With one-out in the inning, catcher Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) singled up the middle and Thompson followed with a double to left center to put two runners in scoring position. With two-outs, Green was hit by a pitch and Freeman drilled the first pitch he saw right up the middle for a two-run single – making the score 4-3.
Arizona extended its lead with a run on one hit in the bottom of the fifth inning. Refsnyder got it started with a triple down the left field line. Mejias-Brean followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Wildcats a 5-3 advantage.
The Wildcats added another run on two hits and an ETSU error in the bottom of the eighth. Trent Gilbert reached base on a fielding error and later advanced to third on a base-hit by Joseph Maggi. Then, Field dropped down a perfect bunt single down the first base line to score Gilbert from third.
ETSU got a run closer in the ninth on a RBI double by Pratt. Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. After Manthei recorded back-to-back strikeouts, Pratt drilled the 0-1 pitch to deep left field allowing Riopedre to score all the way from first. Manthei was able to get out of the inning when Scruggs flied out to right field to close out the game.
The series finale between ETSU and Arizona will begin at 12:00 p.m. (ET) tomorrow. ETSU will send senior right-hander Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (4-2, 2.87 ERA) to the mound to face Arizona righty James Ferris (4-2, 4.33 ERA).
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.