Arizona freshman shortstop Jacob Blas was the hero at Hi Corbett Field on Saturday night — well, at least for half an inning.
Blas hit a three-run inside-the-park homer to give the Wildcats a 6-3 lead in the eighth, but the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal rallied for five runs in the ninth for an 8-7 victory.
Down 6-5 with the bases loaded and two outs, Stanford’s Christian Robinson lined a single to right that plated three runs after an error by UA right fielder Blake Paugh.
The Wildcats led off the bottom of the ninth with two singles and would score on a fielder’s choice, but Tate Soderstrom grounded out with the tying on first to end the game.
Robinson’s clutch hit cemented him as public enemy No. 1 in Tucson. The center fielder was booed throughout the night after he slid into UA third baseman Nick Quintana in Friday’s series-opener.
The Wildcats fall to 23-14 overall and 6-8 in the Pac-12. They will try to avoid the sweep Sunday at noon.
Arizona starter Matt Flynn tossed 5.2 innings, giving up only one run. He struck out eight and maneuvered out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning.
Stanford’s Kris Bubic matched with five inning, giving up two runs, and striking out five batters. He walked six.
Arizona scored a run in each of the first two innings, but Stanford cut it to 2-1 in the fourth with an RBI single.
Arizona brought that one-run lead into the seventh, but two leadoff doubles by the Cardinal tied the game, then Kyle Stowers was hit by a pitch with two outs to give them the lead.
It was short-lived though, as Alfonso Rivas drilled a game-tying solo homer to right in the bottom of the seventh.
Arizona loaded the bases to start the eighth. Pinch-hitter Donta Williams drew a walk, then fellow freshman Blake Paugh reached on an error by the Cardinal pitcher. Ryan Haug then laid down a perfect bunt to third for a base hit.
That brought centerfielder Matt Fraizer to the plate with nobody out, but he grounded into 1-2-3 double play, putting Blas in a big spot with two on and two out.
The shortstop drove a ball to deep right center field, which bounced off the glove of Cardinal right fielder Alec Wilson and rolled to the wall, giving Blas enough time to round the bases and score Arizona’s sixth run.
Stanford led off the ninth with three hits to make it 6-4, and a bases-loaded walk to Maverick Handley put the Cardinal within one with one out.
UA reliever Zach Stone fanned the next batter, but Robinson would come through for the Cardinal, handing Arizona its third loss in its last four games.
Arizona also lost one of its best players. Catcher Cesar Salazar took two foul balls to the mask and was removed in the fifth inning. He entered concussion protocol, though it’s unclear if actually suffered a concussion.
Salazar had an RBI groundout in the first inning.
Cal Stevenson returned to the lineup after missing some time with a hand injury, but he was limited to playing designated hitter. He was 1-for-4 with a sacrifice fly, which came in the second inning.
Tylor Megill (1-3) was tagged with the loss. He entered in the seventh after Gil Luna gave up consecutive doubles, and gave up five runs (four earned) on four hits and three walks in 2.1 innings. Megill tossed a career-high 55 pitches.
Arizona is now 39th in RPI.