It just wouldn’t be Arizona Wildcats baseball without some drama.
That’s what we got on Saturday, as the Cats erased a three-run deficit in the 8th, then put together a two-out rally in the 9th, capped by a Cal Stevenson walk-off double to center to end the game and take down the Oklahoma State Cowboys 10-9.
Cal stevenson's walkoff hit! pic.twitter.com/UqiVauO2ko— Frisco Classic (@FriscoClassic) March 5, 2017
This game was tied up at nine entering the final inning. Cameron Ming pitched a scoreless top half of the frame, working out of a two-on, no-out jam to keep it 9-9 heading to the bottom half.
With one down in the bottom half of the ninth, freshman shortstop Cameron Cannon reached first base thanks to an errant throw up the line by the OSU SS.
This allowed Arizona to pinch hit with Alfonso Rivas, replacing Kyle Lewis with the hard-hitting lefty.
But a couple pitches into the AB, Cannon was picked off at first base, clearing the bases and giving the Wildcats just one out to work with if they were to end it in nine.
The very next pitch, Rivas wore a breaking ball on the thigh, sending him to first. If Cannon had not been picked off, it would have put a man in scoring position with one out for Mitchell Morimoto.
Morimoto then wore a pitch of his own, putting two on for Stevenson.
And that was all she wrote.
Stevenson skied the ball out to center. OSU’s Ryan Sluder almost came up with what would have been the catch of the year, but as he came down to the ground, the ball squirted away, scoring pinch runner Matt Fraizer, and giving Arizona a 10-0 record in 2017.
This is the first time Arizona has started a season 10-0 since 1999.
Getting it tied in the ninth was a task in itself. After taking a 6-0 lead through five innings, Wildcat pitching gave up nine OSU runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th. Landon Faulkner took the brunt of this, allowing six earned runs in 1 2⁄3 innings of work.
So this game went to the bottom of the eighth with the Cowboys leading 9-6.
Lewis led the inning off with a groundout, but Morimoto and Stevenson each picked up singles, and moved into scoring position thanks to a throwing error by the pitcher on the Stevenson bunt.
Jared Oliva then grounded out to the pitcher, bringing up cleanup hitter JJ Matijevic, who was 0-for-3 in the game prior to this at bat.
The slugger swatted an 0-1 pitch over the left fielder’s head, drawing the Cats within a run.
Following Matijevic was freshman phenom Nick Quintana, and he dropped a single in front of the center fielder Sluder.
Jay Johnson waved Matijevic around third.
Sluder came up firing, but the throw was slightly up the line and high, allowing Matijevic to just evade the catcher’s tag and tie the game at nine.
That made Quintana 3-for-4 on the night, upping his season batting average to .514.
Michael Flynn, who had thrown nine shutout innings the first two weekends, got the start in this one, his first start of the year. He lasted five innings, surrendering two earned runs, two hits, and two walks while striking out four.
He’s likely to be the second starter in the immediate future since both Faulkner and Cody Deason struggled after him.
This team is obviously never out of a game though with the depth of this lineup. It’s crazy how they can string together quality at bats even when down several runs late in games.
WALK OFF WITH THE WILDCATS!— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) March 5, 2017
Arizona moved to 10-0 on Cal Stevenson's walk-off double vs. Oklahoma State!
(Courtesy ESPN3) pic.twitter.com/zXAM3kegju
Arizona is back at it on Sunday to close out the Frisco Baseball Classic. They will play the Nebraska Cornhuskers at 11 AM MT. You will be able to watch the game on Watch ESPN.