The Arizona Wildcats started Saturday’s game at Hi Corbett Field up against the Oregon Ducks like a team on a mission to break a seven-game losing streak in Pac-12 play.
It looked like the Wildcats (14-11, 3-8 Pac-12) would complete that mission after scoring 10 runs in the first two innings.
But the large lead did not hold as Oregon (17-7, 5-3) rallied late, including three runs in the top of the ninth inning to win 13-11.
Arizona coach Chip Hale served the second game of his two-game suspension after he was ejected during Tuesday’s game with Grand Canyon at Hi Corbett Field. Pitching coach Dave Lawn served as the acting coach in the games Friday and Saturday.
Hale will return Sunday when Arizona hosts Oregon at 1 p.m.
Typifying Arizona’s frustration of not being able to put Oregon away: A bases-loaded one-out opportunity in the fifth in which Garen Caulfield hit into a double play ending the threat.
The Wildcats left 12 runners on base.
“I think that situation when you have bases loaded with one out could have widened the gap,” Lawn said. “The fact of the matter is, they string some hits and they get back the momentum. It was a team effort in regards to them getting back in.”
The game started with a lead off single to left center by Mac Bingham followed by a triple from Nik McClaughry that plated Bingham.
Oregon center fielder Colby Shade tried to catch McClaughry’s well-hit ball over his shoulder and slipped on the dirt around the center field wall. The ball landed next to Shade. Trying to quickly grab the ball, Shade slipped again allowing McClaughry to score.
A single by Caulfield plated Tommy Splaine and Kiko Romero to give the Wildcats four runs in the first.
The second inning netted six runs for the Wildcats as Bingham, Davis, McClaughry, Romero, Tyler Casagrande and Brendan Summerhill all scored.
Arizona starting pitcher Bradon Zastrow kept the Ducks scoreless through two innings.
With Arizona leading 10-0, to start the third inning, Oregon’s bats woke up.
The Ducks’ first score came when Drew Cowley grounded out to second base scoring Rikuu Nishida.
Oregon-added two more runs in the fourth.
Arizona’s defense showed up in the fifth.
The final out of the inning was spectacular. McClaugry grabbed a grounder hit by Bennett Thompson. His throw to first base was high. Romero skied to grab the ball, came down and tagged a sliding Thompson.
Dawson Netz came in to relieve Zastrow to start the sixth inning and allowed two more runs to cross home for the Ducks.
Zastrow’s night ended with five innings pitched, no earned runs and six strikeouts.
Holding on to a 10- 5 lead heading to the bottom of the inning, Bingham hit a two-out double bringing Mason White home. This would be Arizona’s final run in the game.
The sixth inning provided one of the games most entertaining moments.
Casagrande tried to steal second. He was finally tagged out by Oregon’s second basemen, but he nearly made it to second after running back and forth between first and second at least four times giving the Ducks’ defense a good work out.
With Arizona holding an 11-5 lead Oregon started a rally in the seventh. Bringing five runs across home plate getting the Ducks to within one run 11-10.
Oregon scored three runs in the ninth inning giving it their first lead of the game.
”People will come out (Sunday) and see a team that’s going to play their butts off and bring it,” Lawn said. “Way too much still to play for, way too much.”