TUCSON, Ariz. – Brandon Dixon had a career-high four hits and Trent Gilbert drove in three runs to lead 10th-ranked Arizona to a 6-4 victory over visiting San Francisco before a crowd of 2,709 on Friday evening at Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona (9-2) relied on key two-out hitting throughout the game. The Wildcats were 6-for-11 as a club and scored five of their six runs with two outs. Dixon, who was 4-for-4, led the charge with a pair of two-out hits, while Gilbert knocked in a pair of runs with two outs.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when Kevin Newman delivered a two-out, two-run single for his only hit of the game. In the third, after the Dons had cut the lead to 2-1, Gilbert drove in his first run of the game on a groundout to extend the margin back to two runs.
San Francisco (4-6) then surged ahead with three runs in the fourth off UA starter Konner Wade, who had given up a solo home run to Ryan Matranga in the third. Mitchell Rowan opened the fourth with a triple, then scored on Zachary Turner’s groundout. Bradley Zimmer, who went 3-for-4 on the night, followed with a home run to straightaway center to tie the score at 3-3.
The Dons were not done. Three consecutive singles loaded the bases, and Matranga drove in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to left that gave San Francisco its first lead of the day at 4-3.
Wade settled down and pitched three scoreless innings the rest of the way to buy the Wildcats’ bats time to regain the lead.
Arizona did just that in the fifth inning. With one out, Riley Moore singled, and one out later he moved to second base on a single by Dixon. Gilbert followed with two-out, two-run double to right field to give the Wildcats a 5-4 edge.
San Francisco starter Abe Bobb (L, 0-3) took the loss after giving up the five runs, four earned, in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up seven hits and two walks and struck out three.
Wade (W, 2-0) went seven innings and allowed four runs on nine hits. He struck out three and walked just one before turning the game over to the bullpen in the eighth.
Augey Bill registered a pair of outs to begin the eighth before surrendering a two-out single to Cruikshank. Closer Mathew Troupe entered and quickly induced a groundout to end the inning.
The Wildcats tacked on a key insurance run in the home half of the eighth, and fittingly, it came with two outs. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, Joseph Maggi stole second to move into scoring position with Zach Gibbons at the plate. Gibbons followed with an RBI single through the right side to give Arizona two-run cushion.
Troupe returned to the mound in the ninth and quickly recorded the first out. But the second batter he faced, Justin Maffei, lined a 2-2 pitch to center field. Arizona’s Johnny Field charged and attempted to field the ball on a hop, but it skipped past him, and Maffei scampered to third base.
With the tying run at the plate, Troupe struck out Jason Mahood and Rowan to end the game and earn his fourth save of the season.
The two clubs continue the three-game set Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field. Right-hander Alex Balog takes the mound for San Francisco against Arizona’s James Farris.