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Arizona baseball drops series at Stanford after second straight blowout loss

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The Arizona Wildcats were defeated for the second straight game at No. 3 Stanford, falling 13-5 on Sunday to lose the three-game series in Palo Alto, Calif.

The loss not only dropped the Wildcats to a disappointing 19-22 overall this season and to 7-14 in Pac-12 play, but it also denied the UA a chance to win its first road series of the season.

Arizona is now 1-11 in conference road games and 4-14 overall away from home this year.

Arizona’s starting pitcher on Sunday, Avery Weems, took the loss on the mound after delivering an ineffective start.

The senior began the game somewhat well, only allowing one run through the first two innings, but came undone after that, allowing three runs in the third, one in the fourth and three more in the fifth.

By the time Weems (3-5) was removed at the end of the fifth inning, the Wildcats were trailing 8-2.

For the third straight game Arizona was the first team on the scoreboard, but much like Saturday’s 13-3 blowout loss, the Cats were unable to hold on to the early lead they established.

Arizona has scored first in 26 of its 41 games this season but are only 13-13 in those instances. A stat like that is truly indicative of the UA’s struggles on the mound in 2019.

On Sunday, the Wildcats took the lead in the top of the first inning when Matt Dyer scored on a fielder’s choice via a ground ball from Austin Wells. It was the freshman Wells’ 37th RBI of the season, while Dyer came around to score after extending his hit streak to 18 games.

Dyer’s streak is now the fifth-longest hitting streak for an Arizona player since the 1998 season.

After Stanford tied the game in the bottom of the first and claimed a 4-1 lead off of Weems in the third, the Cats were able to cut into the deficit when Blake Paugh hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth to make it 4-2.

However, the Cardinal added four runs over the course of the fourth and fifth innings to stretch their lead to 8-2, before Arizona answered with three runs of their own in the sixth.

Paugh hit a two-run home run to center field, before back-to-back doubles from Ryan Holgate and Justin Wylie scored the Wildcats’ third run of the frame to make it 8-5.

Arizona was still alive in the contest, trailing by just three runs in the latter stages of the game, before yet another bullpen explosion in the bottom of the eighth inning ultimately sealed the loss for the Wildcats.

After working two scoreless innings of relief in the sixth and seventh, Vince Vannelle was replaced by Gil Luna with two runners on and just just one out in the eighth inning.

Luna, who has struggled mightily this season, then walked the only two batters he faced, the first to load the bases and the second to force in a run.

Sensing danger with the bases loaded and with his team already staring at a 9-5 deficit heading into the top of the ninth, coach Jay Johnson immediately took Luna out and replaced him with Preston Price.

Price served up a grand slam to the only batter he faced, bringing the score to 13-5 and effectively ending the game.

Much like the season as a whole, the Wildcats’ pitching simply wasn’t good enough in the series finale against the Cardinal.

The Wildcats, who are now 19-22 this season and just 3-7 in their last 10 games, will try to get back to winning on Tuesday night when they host New Mexico State at Hi Corbett Field.