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Arizona baseball: Wildcats beat Nebraska 11-10 in extra innings

Another high-scoring, close game for the Cats

Alfonso Rivas crosses the plate after a home run in the fourth inning
Alfonso Rivas crosses the plate after a home run in the fourth inning
Jason Bartel

SAN DIEGO, CA -- The Tony Gwynn Classic has been riddled with blowouts, with the exception of the two Arizona games.

The Wildcats were in another high-scoring affair on Saturday against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, pulling out an 11-10 win in ten innings.

With the score tied at ten after nine innings, The Wildcats sent Alfonso Rivas to the plate. He singled for his fifth hit of the game and eighth of the tournament.

After a wild pitch and a couple of outs, Louis Boyd came up searching for his first career hit. And he got it, and RBI single up the middle.

"I'm just happy I had the opportunity to come up big for the team," Boyd told me afterwards. "I knew I had Bob (Dalbec) behind me, so they were probably going to challenge me with a fastball. I got it, got the barrel on it and came through."

"It was relieving," added Rivas of the hit. "I knew he was going to do it too. I had a feeling. He's a great hitter, great player and just got it done."

"It was awesome," head coach Jay Johnson continued. "He's been a great team guy. All three wins, he's really contributed to winning."

Boyd came in as a defensive replacement for JJ Matijevic in the 8th. The junior college transfer Boyd was the starting shortstop until right before the season started, and now he has limited opportunities to take advantage of.

"It really hasn't been that tough because I love (Cody) Ramer," Boyd explained of his situation. "I room with him on the road. He's a great player and you can't really go against the results that he's been having, and he's been helping our team win so no problems for me."

The player who scored that winning run, Alfonso Rivas, went 5-for-6 on the day, making him 8-for-11 for the tournament. He drove in four of the eleven Arizona runs, including a two-run homer in the fourth.

Rivas has been moved into the two-hole for this weekend, which may be part of his success, but it's not the whole story.

"Just staying patient, staying through the process," he explained. "Coach Johnson talked to me about sticking through it and that's what I've been trying to do. This weekend I've just had really good pitches to hit, and it showed in the game."

"In the two-spot, you obviously get your fastballs to hit, but I don't know, I just got really good pitches to hit today and put a good swing on them."

"He's a machine," Boyd added about Rivas' success. "Being a freshman, you don't expect that kind of poise out of him. Great guy to have on the team."

Much like Friday's game, it was all about the two teams going back and forth. Arizona got out to a 5-2 lead, but Nebraska answered with four runs. Then when the Wildcats took a 10-6 lead, the Huskers, once again, responded with four runs.

To put Arizona up 10-6, Ryan Aguilar hit a ball off the top floor of the four-story dorm beyond the right field wall. It had to have gone at least 450 feet.

"That was eye-opening right there," Rivas said. "I've seen Bobby Dalbec hit some during BP that are pretty like wow."

"He hit a foul ball in our first series that was just about that far but he kept this one fair, so it was pretty awesome to see," Boyd added.

With USD near the ocean, Coach Johnson, who helped design Fowler Park while he was on the Toreros' staff, says that right field bombs are common.

"The ocean is right there, so they kind of push 'em out to right field," coach joked. "It was good to see him get on that one."

Aguilar even added a bat flip to the end of it. That came right after Robby Medel had given a huge fist pump coming off the mound after two perfect innings. This is an emotional team that has played a lot of tight games early on.

"It's been fun," Boyd said of these first two weeks. "We've got a great bench, great atmosphere and great coaching staff. It's just gonna be a great ride the rest of the year."

Arizona plays on Sunday at roughly 2 PM PT against the San Diego State Aztecs. The game will be played in SDSU's home park, Tony Gwynn Stadium, after the championship game between San Diego and UC Santa Barbara. San Diego State got two-hit by Kentucky Saturday, and are 0-2 in the Tony Gwynn Classic.