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Arizona baseball falls to Ball State in 11 innings

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arizona-wildcats-baseball-ball-state-cardinals-recap-saturday-steal-home-college-hi-corbett-2021 Simon Asher / Arizona Athletics

There will be no season-opening series sweep for the Arizona Wildcats, who lost 8-7 in 11 innings to Ball State on Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field.

The UA (1-1) squandered a 7-3 lead after seven innings, giving up four runs in the eighth before giving up a bases-loaded walk in the top of the 11th. The Wildcats had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth but sophomore Jacob Blas was caught trying to steal home with two outs, forcing the extra frames.

Arizona took a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a 3-run home run by sophomore Ryan Holgate, who was 2 for 6 on the night. It added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Branden Boissiere but then the bullpen imploded in the top of the eighth.

Freshman Dawson Netz, who came on in the seventh in relief of starter Chandler Murphy, allowed the first three batters to reach before handing the ball over to sophomore Randy Abshier, who walked in two runs and did not record an out. Senior Vince Vannelle, who got the save in Friday’s 3-0 win over Ball State, then allowed two inherited runners to score.

Arizona drew three straight walks with two outs in the ninth and had Holgate at the plate when Blas was thrown out at home. Blas and junior Dante Williams had two-out singles in the 11th before sophomore Kobe Kato flew out to end the game.

Junior Ian Churchill picked up the loss by yielding two hits and two walks in the 11th.

In addition to Holgate, freshman Mac Bingham also had two hits and three RBI.

Arizona and Ball State play the third of four games at 1 p.m. MST Sunday, with junior lefty Garrett Irvin getting the start. Irvin went 4-0 with a 3.18 ERA in four starts during the abbreviated 2020 season.