Arizona Baseball

Saturday Night Fever: Arizona Wildcats staying alive in NCAA tournament

Some information in the story was provided by the Arizona media relations department.

The Arizona Wildcats stayed alive in the NCAA tournament by defeating Delaware 6-5 in 12 innings in an elimination game — delayed more than two hours because of inclement weather — Saturday night in Lubbock, Texas.

Alfonso Rivas homered in the 12th inning with two outs to put Arizona up a run. Juan Aguilera, who entered in the 11th inning, pitched a scoreless 12th to nail down the win.

Arizona (38-20) will play Sunday at noon (Tucson time) against Sam Houston State, which lost 6-0 to host Texas Tech on Saturday night.

The winner of the Arizona-Sam Houston State game takes on the Red Raiders at about 4 p.m. The Wildcats or the Bearkats must beat Texas Tech twice to advance to the Super Regional round next week.

The game against Delaware lasted four hours and four minutes — with a two-hour and 18-minute weather delay — and featured 10 different pitchers.

Aguilera pitched two scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season and Cesar Salazar finished 3 for 6 with three RBIs for the Wildcats.

Arizona led 5-1 heading into the eighth inning, but Delaware scored two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Cody Deason came on to pitch a scoreless inning to send the game to the 11th inning.

Before the inning could start, both teams were pulled off the field because of lightning in the area. When the delay finally ended, two-plus hours later, the Wildcats couldn’t push a run across in the top of the 11th.

Aguilera came on and pitched a scoreless 11th to send the game to the 12th. Rivas gave the Wildcats the lead with his opposite-field home run with two outs.

It is Rivas’ seventh home run of the season. He has 63 RBIs. He and JJ Matijevic have now combined for 128 RBIs, the most by a set of Arizona teammates since Bill Rhinehart and C.J. Ziegler combined for 129 in 2007.

Left-hander Cameron Ming started for Arizona and held Delaware scoreless for the first five innings, as did Delaware starter Nick Spadafino.

The first run of the game came in the sixth inning when Salazar came through with an RBI single. Matijevic led off the inning with a single to centerfield. He moved over to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Jared Oliva. Two batters later, Salazar came up with two outs. He singled to center on a 3-1 count to score Matijevic.

Delaware answered right away with a run in the bottom half of the inning. With a runner on second and one out, cleanup hitter Nick Patten blooped a single to centerfield to score Jordan Glover, who had an infield single to leadoff the inning.

Arizona scored four runs in the eighth to take a 5-1 lead. Nick Quintana led off with a single and was pinch-run for by Sawyer Gieseke. Kyle Lewis then came up and showed bunt, but pulled back and slashed a double down the left field line to score Gieseke. Louis Boyd dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Lewis up a base and Cal Stevenson followed with a double to right-center to score Lewis and make it 3-1.

After Matijevic was intentionally walked, Oliva popped up and Rivas walked to load the bases, Salazar singled up the middle to score Stevenson and Matijevic to increase the lead to 5-1. The Blue Hens got to Ming in the eighth and scored two more runs. Ming exited after 7 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, three runs, five walks and striking out two.

Delaware struck for two more in the ninth to set up extra innings.

Stevenson and Matijevic each went 2 for 5 in the win. Boyd went 1 for 3 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt. Aguilera went two innings, allowing one hit and one walk, while striking out two to earn the first win of his Arizona career.

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