Arizona baseball loses twice at Hi Corbett Classic

TUCSON, Ariz. — C.T. Bradford hit a pair of triples for No. 10 Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs received a strong effort from their bullpen to hold off host Arizona in a 6-4 victory in the final game of the Hi Corbett Classic on Sunday night.

Bradford went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two runs batted in to lead the Bulldogs’ offense, while relievers Jonathan Holder and Jacob Lindgren held the Wildcats to just two runs over the final eight innings.

Bradford’s triples helped the Bulldogs fight back from an initial two-run deficit. With two outs in the bottom of the second, Bradford tripled to left-center before Cody Brown singled him home to cut Arizona’s lead to 2-1.

Later, Bradford led off the fifth with another triple against right-hander Austin Schnabel. Brown then drew a walk and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Derrick Armstrong followed with a groundout to plate Bradford for the tying run, and Brown scored the go-ahead run on Zack Randolph’s sacrifice fly.

Mississippi State (12-7) added a pair of runs in the sixth inning. An error allowed Alex Detz to reach base to open the inning, and Detz later scored on Seth Heck’s double. Heck then came in on Bradford’s sacrifice fly to hand Mississippi State, the designated home team for the game, a 5-2 cushion.

Arizona (8-9) jumped on Bulldogs starter Dakota Hudson for two first-inning runs. Trent Gilbert, who finished a sensational weekend at the plate with a 3-for-4 game, drove in a pair of runs with a double to right-center.

The Wildcats were poised to add to their lead in the second when Bobby Dalbec doubled and Willie Calhoun drew a walk against Hudson. The Bulldogs countered with Holder, who escaped the two-on, no-out jam.

Holder (W, 1-1) shut down the Wildcats all the way until the seventh inning when Gilbert was again part of the action. With Cody Ramer on first and two out, Gilbert blooped a double into shallow centerfield, which set up a two-run single by Zach Gibbons to bring Arizona within a run, 5-4.

Arizona threatened an inning later against Lindgren. The lefty gave up a single to Calhoun, before issuing a two-out walk to Scott Kingery to push the tying run into scoring position. But Lindgren struck out Ramer to end the frame.

The Bulldogs added a key insurance run in the home half of the eighth. Wes Rea doubled to lead things off and eventually scored on Bradford’s groundout to extend the margin to 6-4.

In the ninth, Gilbert singled with one out and moved into scoring position with a passed ball. But Lindgren settled in to strike out both Gibbons and Riley Moore to end the game and preserve his second save of the season.

Arizona stranded 11 runners and went 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position.

Holder, who went 5 2/3 in relief, was a big reason why. He had just two strikeouts but was able to scatter five hits and two walks while keeping the Wildcats off the board for five straight frames.

Schnabel made his first career start for the Wildcats and turned in 5 1/3 solid innings despite the loss. He allowed only five hits and one walk.

Gilbert capped a sensational weekend at the plate in the three-day tournament. The junior was 11 for 19 and slugged 1.211 with five doubles, two triples and a home run. He scored six runs and drove in 10 over the four contests.

In the early game, Tyler Kuresa homered twice, including a first-inning grand slam, and Robby Nesovic tossed six shutout innings on the mound to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 10-2 victory over Arizona.

UC Santa Barbara (10-2) finished the tournament with a 3-1 record.

The Gauchos, who dropped a 10-5 decision to the Wildcats the previous evening, jumped out to a five-run lead in the opening frame. Arizona starter Tyler Crawford struggled with command, walking Joey Epperson and hitting Peter Maris to lead off the game. One out later, Nesovic, who also hit in the lineup, single home Epperson for the game’s initial run.

Crawford then issued a second walk to Cameron Newell, which loaded the bases for Kuresa, who blasted a grand slam over the wall in right field.

Nesovic (W, 1-0) picked up a win in his first start of the season. The right-hander pitched six shutout innings with four strikeouts and just five hits allowed.

The Wildcats, who capitalize on scoring opportunities the previous two nights, stranded 13 runners and went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. The middle third of the Arizona lineup combined to go 0 for 12 at the plate.

The Gauchos had plenty of balance, with Kuresa’s two-hit game providing three runs scored and six runs batted in. Scott Quinlan drove in a run and scored another in a 3-for-5 effort, hitting behind Kuresa in the lineup. Kuresa hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to cap the scoring for UC Santa Barbara.

Arizona’s pitching staff struggled throwing strikes and issued seven total walks in addition to hitting three batsmen. The Gauchos stranded 10 runners in the game.

The Wildcats never scored until the final inning when Kevin Newman drove in two runs. Reliever Campbell Baits had walked the bases loaded and was charged with the two runs allowed to prevent the shutout bid for the Gauchos.