Arizona scored twice in the eighth inning to tie the game and then capitalized on a dropped pop up with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to overcome visiting Alabama State, 4-3, before a crowd of 2,582 on Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field.
With two outs and runners on the corners in the 10th inning, Arizona's Kevin Newman stepped to the plate with a chance to extend his 11-game hitting streak and send the Wildcats home with a thrilling victory.
Newman delivered only one of the two outcomes and, fortunately for Arizona (27-14), the latter proved true.
Second baseman Einar Muniz dropped a high pop up in shallow centerfield, which allowed Scott Kingery to score the game-winning run. Newman's hitting streak came to an end on the error, but the Wildcats extended their own streak to nine-consecutive victories in their home ballpark.
It was a heartbreaking outcome for Alabama State (27-21), which let a two-run lead slip away in the eighth inning.
Hornets' starter Joel Alvira was splendid and surrendered only three hits over the first seven innings, but ran into trouble in the eighth when designated hitter Cody Ramer sparked a rally with a leadoff single. Ramer was bunted to second by pinch-hitter Joseph Maggi, before Alvira walked Kingery.
Reliever Michael Estevez came on to face Johnny Field, who ripped a single to left field that drove in Ramer and pulled the Wildcats within a run. Then, with Trent Gilbert at the plate, Estevez uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Kingery to third and Field to second.
The Hornets changed pitchers and called on Jorge Pantoja (L, 2-2) to face Gilbert with the 1-0 inherited count. The Wildcats' second baseman chopped a single passed a drawn-in infield to plate Kingery with the game-tying run, while Field was held at third base.
Pantoja settled in the strike out Brandon Dixon and induce an inning-ending groundout from Newman to keep the score tied, 3-3.
That was the score until the bottom of the 10th when Kingery lined a leadoff single into left field. He was bunted to second by Field and moved to third on a groundout by Gilbert.
With two outs, the Hornets elected to intentionally walk Dixon to bring Newman to bat for what became the game-winning play.
The final error was the third of the evening for the Hornets, who gave up two unearned runs in the game.
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Arizona benefitted from an error committed by Alvira. After reaching on an infield single, Field drew a series of pickoff throws to first, before one finally sailed wide of the bag for a one-base throwing error. Dixon then singled to left field to drive in Field, which tied the game, 1-1.
The Hornets regained the lead in the seventh after Richard Gonzalez led off with a single and moved to second a bunt. Dillon Cooper singled in Gonzalez with the go-ahead run.
An inning later, Alabama State added what appeared to be a key insurance run. Richard Amion collected a two-out single and came in to score on Leo Rojas' triple off the left field wall, pushing the Hornets' lead to 3-1.
Arizona starter James Farris was strong throughout despite giving up the three runs. The junior did not factor into the decision, but scattered six hits and struck out three while not allowing a walk over eight full innings.
Mathew Troupe (W, 4-0) pitched scoreless ninth and 10th innings with a pair of strikeouts. The closer, who allowed two hits, earned the victory in relief.
The Wildcats can earn a sweep with a victory in the series finale, which is set for noon (MST) on Sunday at Hi Corbett Field. The game will be broadcast on 1290 AM.
GAME NOTES: Arizona captured its ninth-straight home victory ... The Wildcats won for the fourth time in its final last at-bat victory. Over the last two seasons, they have won 15 games in their final at-bat, including 11 at Hi Corbett Field ... Arizona played an extra-inning game for the first time since defeating Florida State, 4-3, in the opening game of the College World Series last June, 15, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. ... Arizona improved to 2-0 in extra-inning games at Hi Corbett Field since moving to the ballpark for the 2012 season ... Cody Ramer led off the 2-run eighth inning with a single. Ramer is 6-for-11 reaching base to lead off an inning this season ... Matt Troupe has earned the victory out of the bullpen in each of UA's last three extra-inning games ... Trent Gilbert's single to tie the game in the eighth drove in his Pac-12-leading 42nd run of the season, which ties his season total from his freshman campaign ... Johnny Field reached base for the 28th-straight game ... Riley Moore reached base for the 14th-straight game ... Kevin Newman went 0-for-4 to snap an 11-game hitting streak.
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