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Hi Corbett Classic: Wildcats find their stroke, take first two games of three-day event

Arizona was slumping, but that is not the case through two games of the Hi Corbett Classic

Trent Gilbert's bat has awoken from a deep slumber
Trent Gilbert's bat has awoken from a deep slumber
Jason Bartel

The Arizona Wildcats had been swept in two straight series heading into this weekend's Hi Corbett Classic.  That five-game stretch, Arizona only scored a total of 11 runs.

The last two days: 22 runs.

Friday (No. 10 Mississippi State)

If you had said that one of these teams was ranked tenth, and the other was struggling, you probably would not have guessed the Bulldogs were the ones that came in on fire.

The Cats put six runs on the board against MSU starter Brandon Woodruff in the first four innings, matching their offensive output for the entire Long Beach St. series earlier in the week.

Trent Gilbert finished the night 5-for-5 and just a home run shy of the cycle.  The junior second baseman racked up two doubles, two triples, a HBP, scored three runs, and drove in six runs.

James Farris had another great outing, allowing three runs and eight hits over eight-plus innings of work.  Tyler Parmenter came on in the ninth to finish it out.

The most welcome thing from the night was obviously the reemergence of Gilbert's bat; something that had been missing up until this weekend in 2014.  Kevin Newman also picked up three hits, and Cody Ramer got his crack at hitting near the top of the lineup in the two-hole.  Maybe that's the kind of shake up that the offense needed.

Box Score

Saturday (UC-Santa Barbara)

The Gauchos entered this game with just one loss on the season, and two wins over Mississippi State this weekend.

So it would be a tough task for Arizona to take the first games of both of their two-game series, but the Wildcats were up to the challenge.

It got going right from the beginning, with Zona taking a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning thanks to a Riley Moore sac fly in the second and a Trent Gilbert home run in the fourth.

The top of the fifth was a disaster in the field though.  Three errors led to three unearned runs for the Gauchos, giving UCSB a 3-2 lead.

Scott Kingery, the one guy that has been consistent all season, tied the game up with a single to left, and Kevin Newman joined the RBI parade with a three-run triple to give the Wildcats the lead for good.

Cody Hamlin would be charged with two earned runs in the 8th, when Xavier Borde and Tyler Parmenter each allowed one of the two baserunners Hamlin left for them.

New closer and two-way stud Bobby Dalbec came on with one out in the 8th, and picked up his first career save.  The freshman surrendered a hit and hit another batter in the ninth, but came through and finished the game by forcing a flyout and ground out from UCSB hitters.

Newman tried his best Trent Gilbert impersonation from Friday by driving in five runs on Saturday.  Gilbert added a pair of RBI with his home run and a ground-rule double in the 8th, which scored the Cats' 10th and final run of the night.

Box Score

Good to see Newman and Gilbert swinging the bat well again.  Production from the middle of the lineup was the main thing missing during the five-game losing streak, but it appears those days have been long forgotten after what was sure to be the most miserable practice of all-time on Thursday.

Arizona closes out the Hi Corbett Classic with two games on Sunday.  UA plays UCSB at noon, and MSU at 5 PM.  Tyler Crawford is slated to start the UCSB game, and I'm guessing Cody Moffett will be the starting pitcher for the finale against the Bulldogs.  MSU's already been swept by UCSB this weekend, so they'll be desperate for a win tomorrow night so they don't leave Tucson empty-handed.

Keep the bats hot!