TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona baseball team exploded for eight runs in a decisive fifth inning, as the streaking Wildcats downed 18th-ranked Oregon 9-5, to capture the series on Saturday evening at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona (21-6, 6-2 Pac-12) won its fifth straight conference game by erasing a two-run deficit in the fifth. A trio of freshmen sparked the eight-run inning that saw 12 Wildcats step to the plate, with veterans Kevin Newman and Riley Moore delivering consecutive two-run hits to hand the home side the lead for good.
Oregon (17-10, 2-6 Pac-12) overcame an initial one-run deficit with a three-run fourth inning, chasing Arizona starter Robby Medel from the game after just 3.1 innings.
Ducks starter David Peterson shook off Scott Kingery’s leadoff home run and cruised through four innings, not surrendering another hit to the Wildcats until the fifth.
However, things quickly fell apart when freshman JJ Matijevic worked a leadoff walk against Peterson. Fellow freshman Elijah Skipps bounced his first career hit through the right side of the infield, and redshirt freshman Jared Oliva dropped down a bunt single to load the bases.
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Justin Behnke followed with a run-scoring single to bring the Wildcats within a run. One out later, Newman drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a single to left, and Moore kept the big inning going with a two-run double down the first base line.
The bases-loaded hits by Behnke and Newman were much-welcomed for the Wildcats, who entered the game batting 2-for-28 with the bases full this season.
Bobby Dalbec, who has reached base in all 27 games this season, lined a single to center, which drove in Moore and prompted a pitching change for the Ducks.
Reliever Trent Paddon replaced Peterson, but Paddon’s throwing error eventually allowed another run to score for Arizona, leaving the Ducks trailing 9-3 after five innings.
Peterson (L, 2-3) suffered the loss and was charged with eight runs – seven earned – over 4.1 innings. He yielded seven hits and three walks.
Nathan Bannister (W, 5-0) took over for Medel in the fourth and went on to toss 3.0 innings of relief to earn the win. Bannister scattered three hits and allowed a run, while striking out three.
Oregon plated a run against Cameron Ming in the fifth, but it was unable to mount a serious threat late as Dalbec, Arizona’s closer, pitched 1.1 shutout innings to finish the game in a non-save situation.
The Wildcats sprinkled the scoring up and down the lineup as nine players scored a run. Eight collected base hit and five drove in a run.