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Arizona baseball beats Oregon, wins series on wild walk-off

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Arizona baseball defeated Oregon, 9-8, in 11 innings on Saturday to clinch the series.

The Wildcats didn’t even need a hit to score the walk-off run.

Matthew Dyer was hit by a pitch to start the frame and came all the around to score when Oregon pitcher Ryne Nelson attempted to pick him off at first.

Nelson’s throw was low, shooting between the bag, the first baseman’s glove, and Dyer’s hand as he dove back to the base. Realizing the ball had gotten past the first baseman, Dyer took off full speed for second and then to third with coach Jay Johnson directing him.

With the ball still rolling up the first base line along the fence, Johnson made one more call: to wave Dyer home.

Dyer turned in one fluid motion for home, and the throw was stopped well short by the catcher as Dyer dove headfirst for good measure.

The Wildcats improve to 21-23 overall and 9-14 in the Pac-12.

Arizona rallied from an 8-7 deficit to tie it in the ninth. That’s when Austin Wells hit a two-out triple to score Dyer from first.

Andrew Nardi got the start for Arizona and struggled out of the gate, allowing five runs on five hits in the first inning. But settled and wound up going seven innings, keeping the Ducks offense at bay.

Avery Weems replaced him in the eighth and allowed three runs without getting an out to give Oregon an 8-7 lead.

Vance Vannelle, the Wildcat’s best reliever, pitched 3 1/3 innings without allowing a run. Gil Luna got the win (2-2), recording the final two outs in the 11th.

On the offensive side for Arizona, Blake Paugh and Tony Bullard hit back to back home runs to left in the fourth. Nick Quintana added his 12th dinger in the seventh, a three-run shot, as part of a five-run inning to take a 7-5 lead.

Cameron Cannon had three hits and Paugh joined Quintana by collecting three RBI.

Arizona will look to complete the sweep of Oregon on Sunday at Hi Corbett. First pitch is at noon.