Posted 5:13 PM 6/8/2012 : UA Baseball rallies, tops St. John's in Super Regional opener
TUCSON - Trent Gilbert lined a walk-off single into right-centerfield and Arizona completed its second rally of the game to capture the first game of the Tucson Super Regional with a thrilling 7-6 walk-off victory over St. John's before 2,514 sun-drenched fans at Hi Corbett Field.
St. John's (40-22), which had a five-run fourth-inning lead erased by the end of the sixth, surged ahead in the top of the 10th inning. Wildcat starter Kurt Heyer worked into the extra frame and gave up a leadoff bad-hop single that skipped past shortstop Alex Mejia. One out later, Sean O'Hare squirted a double down the left field line to score the go-ahead run.
Arizona (42-17), which trailed 5-0 before tying the game with a three-run bottom of the sixth, answered back. Robert Refsnyder drew a leadoff walk and was bunted to second base by Seth Mejias-Brean. Bobby Brown followed with single up the middle to score Refsnyder with the tying run.
Brandon Dixon kept the rally going with a single to centerfield, and Brown moved to third on the play. Riley Moore then drew a walk on four pitches to load the bases with still just one down.
Right-hander James Lomangino replaced lefty Kevin Kilpatrick (L, 3-3) with the bases loaded and Gilbert due up. The freshman second baseman fell behind in the count 0-2, but roped a 1-2 fastball into right-centerfield and Brown scored the winning run.
The walk-off victory was Arizona's fifth of the season and their third in the last seven games at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats' comeback win marked the 22nd time they have rallied to win a game in which they trailed.
The Red Storm roughed up Heyer for five runs on seven hits in the top of the fourth. All seven of the hits were singles, a theme in the ballgame.
Heyer, who did not factor into the decision, kept the Red Storm scoreless in the other eight regulation innings. The right-hander tossed a career-high 9.1 innings and scattered a career-high 17 base hits, though only one went for extra bases and he did not walk a batter. He induced three ground-ball double plays in the gritty effort.
Even so, Heyer was on the hook for the loss in the 10 frame. After giving up the go-ahead run on O'Hare's double, Heyer was replaced by Mathew Troupe. The right-handed reliever gave up a single to left field off the bat of Zach Lauricella, but Johnny Field fired a strike to the plate to gun down O'Hare. Troupe (W, 4-1) finished off the inning with a fly out to right field to set the stage for last at-bat heroics.
After falling behind by five runs, Arizona chipped away with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. In the bottom of the sixth, the Wildcats tied the game with three two-out runs.
Joseph Maggi hit a one-out double and came in to score on Gilbert's two-out RBI triple to right-center. Joey Rickard then slapped a single to right field to plate Gilbert. After stealing second, Rickard scored when centerfielder Kyle Richardson dropped a shallow fly ball to centerfield that allowed the tying run to score.
St, John's out-hit the Wildcats 18-11 in the game, but collected just one extra base hit to Arizona's three. The Wildcats claimed just their second win of the year when being out-hit (2-12).
The best-of-three series continues on Saturday at noon. Arizona will be the designated visiting team.
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