The Arizona Wildcats really needed a win on Sunday afternoon against the Oregon State Beavers, but a surprising lack of offense for the third-straight game cost UA as they lost the series finale 5-3.
Things could have gone drastically different if the second inning had gone better for Arizona. A Cody Ramer walk, an error by the OSU shortstop and a bunt single by Joseph Maggi loaded the bases with no outs for Justin Behnke.
Behnke proceeded to strike out looking, bringing up the top of the order.
But that didn't go any better. Scott Kingery weakly popped up to the first baseman, then Kevin Newman flied out to center to end the inning, and the only real offensive threat of the day.
Arizona was still up 1-0 at that point, but could have busted it open. Instead. Oregon State responded with a run in the bottom half of the second on a single by Billy King.
It appeared Bobby Dalbec started to fatigue a bit in the fourth and fifth, just like last week's start against ASU. The sophomore still doesn't have the arm strength to take over as an effective starter for long distances.
Michael Howard slammed a homer over the left field bleachers to give Oregon State the lead in the fourth, and they never looked back.
Two more runs came across in the fifth after Andy Lopez intentionally walked Jeff Hendrix to get to KJ Harrison. That loaded the bases with one out.
The problem with intentionally walking Hendrix to get to Harrison? Only Dalbec has more RBI in the Pac-12 this year than Harrison. And he made the Cats pay for that decision, roping a two-run single to left.
Dalbec finished the day with five hits and six walks allowed, resulting in four earned runs. He did pick up his 12th home run of the season in the 8th as he skied one over the wall in right-center.
OSU added an additional insurance run in the 7th with a sac fly off of Robby Medel.
After Dalbec's homer in the 8th, Arizona loaded the bases with one out. Tyler Krause pinch hit for Maggi, forcing Oregon State to bring in right-hander Mitch Hickey. Then Andy Lopez outdid that move with left-hander Michael Hoard.
Hoard went on to hit a sac fly to left to make it 5-3. Behnke then struck out to end the inning, making himself 0-for-9 on the weekend.
Even though the top of the lineup was up in the ninth, they went down in order to finish the weekend.
Disappointing series loss, especially considering the pitching staff only gave up nine runs over the three games. Arizona is back in action on Wednesday night as ASU comes to Tucson. The game will start at 7 PM on Pac-12 Networks.