After some struggles from starting pitcher James Farris, the Arizona Wildcats scored 7 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to blow the game open. They held on to that lead, taking down Utah 15-4 on Friday.
That 5th inning was the huge turning point in the game. James Farris faced the first two batters of the inning before being pulled from the game in favor of freshman Tyger Talley. Talley went on to retire the three Utes he faced in the 5th, which gave Arizona's offense some confidence.
"That was really big" said Trent Gilbert "the game's still close at the time. Tyger's been doing a great job for us coming out of the pen in those types of situations."
Gilbert contributed to Arizona's 7-run 5th with a 3-RBI double to left center field. Gilbert went 2-for-5 on the night with 5 RBI, 3 runs scored and a walk.
Arizona (17-11, 2-6 PAC-12) and Utah (12-12, 2-6 PAC-12) each had ten hits on the night, but Utes pitchers walked 9 and hit 3 batters. The Utah defense also committed four errors, leading to the blowout win for Arizona.
Coming into today, the Wildcats had scored just 21 total runs in their seven prior conference games.
"Been a lot of stress the last few weeks because we haven't been scoring any runs" said head coach Andy Lopez.
"When we make a great play on defense, that doesn't relieve the stress. And when we get a great pitching performance that doesn't necessarily relieve the stress."
Arizona did not get a good pitching performance from starter James Farris.
"Disappeared. It happens. Just didn't look good."
Tyger Talley (W, 2-0) went two perfect innings, but came out after the 6th inning.
"We would have liked to have gone with Talley the whole time, but he popped a rib about a week ago throwing during practice. He's had treatment once, and it was OK, but I think he did it again tonight."
Cunningham (S, 2) finished the game, going 3 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 walks en route to the Wildcat win.
Freshman Jackson Willeford also recorded his first career hit in the 6th. "He'll be our DH from the right side for the most part I think." said coach Lopez.
"They're getting better."