Gilbert, Newman lead Arizona baseball past UC Santa Barbara

TUCSON, Ariz. — Trent Gilbert and Kevin Newman combined for seven runs batted in to lead the Arizona baseball team to a 10-5 victory over UC Santa Barbara at the Hi Corbett Classic on a blustery Saturday evening.

Arizona (8-7) won its second consecutive game in the tournament after snapping a five-game losing streak Thursday night against No. 10 Mississippi State. The Wildcats, who play the Gauchos again tomorrow at noon and the Bulldogs at 5 p.m., snapped UC Santa Barbara’s seven-game winning streak, which included a pair of victories over Mississippi State in this weekend’s event.

Gilbert, who was 5 for 5 with six runs batted in Thursday night, continued his torrid hitting. The junior second baseman singled and scored the game’s first run in the second inning, then belted his first career home run in the fourth frame to put the Wildcats on top 2-0.

UC Santa Barbara (9-2) overcame that deficit in a sloppy fifth inning that saw three runs score without the benefit of a base hit. Two consecutive errors put runners on the corners with no outs for the Gauchos, but Campbell Wear’s bunt led to Andrew Calica being thrown out trying to score from third.

Arizona starter Cody Hamlin then walked Joey Epperson, which loaded the bases. Gilbert was unable to come up with a grounder off the bat of Peter Maris, and the Wildcats’ third error of the inning kept the bases loaded for Woody Woodward, who drew a walk to force in the tying run.

As the peak wind gusts of the evening picked up, third baseman Cody Ramer was unable to catch an infield fly hit by Tyler Kuresa, who was, by rule, called out on the play as the ball fell inside the third base bag. The runners advanced at their own risk, and Wear scored the go-ahead run.

Arizona came to bat in the home half of the fifth and reclaimed the lead thanks to a two-out rally. With runners at the corners, Scott Kingery singled in Riley Moore to give the Wildcats a one-run lead. Cody Ramer then drew a walk to load the bases for Newman, who roped a triple to the left field corner to push the advantage to 6-3.

In the seventh inning, Newman drove in another run with a single to left-center. The shortstop finished 3-for-5 with five runs batted in.

Trailing 7-3 in the eighth, the Gauchos had one last rally left. A one-out single and a walk marked the end of Hamlin’s night. Xavier Borde took over in relief, but gave up a run-scoring hit to Calica, before Scott Quinlan reached on a bunt single.

Tyler Parmenter came on to face Dempsey Grover, who blooped a bases-loaded single to shallow right field to knock home Robby Nesovic.

Arizona turned to Dalbec, the starting first baseman, to close the game. He induced an inning-ending double play off the bat of Epperson to send the Wildcats back to the dugout with a 7-5 lead. It was the fourth double play turned by Wildcats on the evening.

In the bottom of the eighth, Arizona added three insurance runs. Ramer lined an RBI single to right field, and Newman drove in his fifth run on an infield single. Gilbert capped the scoring with a ground-rule double to right-center.

Arizona scored eight of its 10 runs with two outs in the game, and has out-scored its two opponents 14-0 in two-out RBI situations in the Hi Corbett Classic. The Wildcats had played six complete without a two-out RBI entering the weekend.

Hamlin (W, 3-1) earned the win with 7 1/3 solid innings. He allowed five runs, but just two were earned, and scattered five hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts.

Dalbec earned his first career save with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit.

Left-hander Dominic Mazza (L, 1-1) suffered the loss. He lasted 4 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on three hits and three walks.