For a month or so, Randy Abshier was a forgotten member of Arizona’s bullpen. But in a span of three games he may have become one of the Wildcats’ most important relief arms.
Abshier got the final two outs, including a called third strike to end the game with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, as Arizona beat Cal 4-3 on Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field.
The win clinched a third straight Pac-12 series for Arizona (21-8, 7-4) and improved its record in one-run games to 4-4.
Cal (16-13, 4-4) led 2-0 via runs in the first and third off UA starter Garrett Irvin. Arizona posted three runs in the fourth on RBI hits from Daniel Susac and Mac Bingham and a Donta’ Williams sacrifice fly, then upped the lead to 4-2 in the fifth then Susac struck out but Cal’s catcher threw the ball away trying to get Susac out at first, which allowed Branden Boissiere to score from third.
Irvin (2-1) allowed two runs and five hits over six innings, striking out six and walking three.
Cal got within a run in the seventh, then got two runners on against Vince Vannelle in the ninth, causing UA pitching coach Nate Yeskie to bring in Abshier with one out.
Abshier, who yielded just one hit and one walk in 3.2 innings in Tuesday’s 14-2 win over ASU after not pitching in a game in a month, induced a ground out and then ended things by hitting the corner for the final strike.
Arizona and Cal complete their series Sunday at 1 p.m. PT at Hi Corbett.