It was a weird night at the ballpark in Tucson on Saturday, and everything went against the Arizona Wildcats.
Both head coach Jay Johnson and starting pitcher JC Cloney failed to last to the third inning in this one. Arizona marketing busted out a mascot race against Wilbur that ended poorly. And the game went, not well, as the Wildcats dropped the second game of the series to Washington State 6-2.
Arizona only managed three hits on the night, and only one before the eighth inning.
The Wildcats had a potential rally in the 8th while trailing 6-1. Ryan Aguilar led it off with a double off the second baseman's glove. Outs sandwiched two hit batters, which loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Casey Bowman. Pitching coach Dave Lawn, who was having a hard time getting pinch-hitters in the game that inning, decided to go with Bowman over Justin Behnke.
It didn't pay off, as Bowman lined out to the left fielder, stranding three runners.
Cody Ramer started the 9th with his fourth walk of the game, a new career-high, and also ties the school record.
"I've never not swung at a pitch in a whole game, so it felt kind of weird," Ramer said of his unique night at the plate. "I didn't really see any pitches in the zone, so I didn't really have to get my swing off."
With WSU pitching changes coming fast and furious, Jared Oliva followed with a single over the shortstop.
Pinch-hitter Sawyer Gieseke struck out looking for the first out of the final frame. Aguilar walked to load the bases for Zach Gibbons.
Gibby hit a fielder's choice to bring home Arizona's second run of the game. Alfonso Rivas then struck out to end the game and threat.
At least it got exciting.
The beginning of the game was a disaster zone though.
In the second inning, with Arizona already down 3-0, it appeared catcher Cesar Salazar had picked off the WSU runner at third, but the umpire called him safe.
In typical Jay Johnson fashion, the Arizona coach slowly made his way to the third base ump, and after a lengthy conversation, appeared to have said the magic word while pointing at the ump. That promptly got him tossed for the third time in his career, and his first at Arizona.
So Jay Johnson just got tossed for the first time as Arizona's head coach pic.twitter.com/kjstJw0UhL— AZ Desert Swarm (@azdesertswarm) April 10, 2016
"I think he got caught off guard," Johnson said about why he was questioning the umpire. "I don't think he was expecting it, and he was trying to move. I don't know if he was in position for the call and he called it pretty quick."
"So I really just wanted to make sure that a) his mechanics were good, b) he was in position and c) if that wasn't the case it felt like he deserved to give it a second to make the call."
Cloney only lasted the rest of the second inning, before he was replaced by Cody Deason. Johnson was replaced by Sergio Brown at third base, but pitching coach Dave Lawn took over managerial duties sort of.
"Not at all," Johnson said when asked if the coaching staff works on a situation like this one. "I hired those two guys because I think they're two of the best coaches in the country, and from my standpoint, if I get stabbed in the neck with a pencil tomorrow and can't show up, I have full confidence in those guys to do the job."
Salazar would soon join Johnson in the clubhouse, suffering and possibly re-aggravating a hand injury in the top of the fourth.
Robby Medel would also take the mound in the fourth inning. The redshirt sophomore would contribute three innings of work, striking out a career-high five batters on the night.
Austin Schnabel and Matt Hartman also threw scoreless innings to keep Washington State at six runs.
Sunday's game will start earlier than expected. Because of impending weather, first pitch has been moved up to 10 AM, and Bobby Dalbec will get the start on the mound.
"We'll have a good breakfast here for 'em," Johnson said of the early start. "We'll get in the cages and work on some things to get some guys right mentally and physically, and then show and go."
"I just think the window of weather tomorrow gives us a chance to play a full nine innings."
"Just go to bed early, drink water and come back out and try to get a win tomorrow," Ramer added. "In summer ball (I've played games this early), but not in college. Never this early."
Join us for a brunch-time affair with your mimosas and bloody marys.