April 21, 2010

Courtesy of ArizonaWildcats.com

TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 17 Arizona baseball team snapped No. 1 Arizona State's 28-game home winning streak as the Wildcats held on a for a 4-2 victory on Tuesday evening at Packard Stadium before a crowd of 3,566 fans.

In a game that featured two of the nation's premier offensive teams, Arizona starter Daniel Workman outpitched the Sun Devils' Brady Rodgers in a fierce pitcher's duel. The Wildcats were paced at the plate by freshman Robert Refsnyder, who scored a run and collected two RBI while going 3-for-4 at the plate.

Workman turned in a career-high 6.1 innings pitched in which he limited the nation's No. 1 team to just two runs as he improved to 2-0 on the season. The performance was Workman's first appearance in a game since March 23.

The Wildcats (27-9) were holding a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth when the Sun Devils mounted their most serious scoring threat of the game off Arizona reliever Bryce Bandilla. UA's left-hander allowed three singles in the inning, which loaded the bases with one out. But, Bandilla worked out of the bases loaded jam by getting Riccio Torrez to fly out to shallow left field before Zach Wilson grounded out to first to end the inning.

In the ninth inning, Augey Bill quickly picked up the first out by then hit pinch-hitter Jimmy Patterson. Nick Cunningham came on and retired the next two hitters in order to earn his second save of the season. Both pitchers were aided by sterling defensive plays by shortstop Alex Mejia, who fielder bouncer with his bare-hand to retire the first batter and snare a line drive for the second out of the inning.

Arizona's starting pitching situation was changed 20 minutes prior to first pitch when the scheduled starter - Cory Bernard - suffered an arm injury while warming up in the bullpen. The Wildcats were forced to turn to Workman, who had not pitched in a month.

Arizona plated three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Rafael Valenzuela was hit by a pitch to open the inning. With one out, Steve Selsky reached on a walk to put runners on first and second. Refsnyder singled through the right side to drive in Valenzuela as Selsky scooted around to third base. Seth Mejias-Brean followed with a sacrifice fly to left field, before Bobby Brown crushed a two-out double off the centerfield wall that scored Refsnyder, who had stolen second base and advanced to third base on a throwing error.

The Sun Devils struck first with a pair of runs in the home half of the second inning after a pair of missed plays by the Arizona defense. Johnny Reuttiger bounced a ball to Refsnyder, who waited on the ball and his throw to first was not in time. The next hitter, Matt Newman, lifted a high fly ball to left field that Brown was unable to locate in the sky as the ball fell for a double. With runners at the corner, Raoul Torrez hit a two-run double to score Reuttiger and Newman.

Arizona State's starter, Rogers shut down the Wildcats' bats early, allowing only a first inning double by Valenzuela over the first three innings. In fact, Rodgers retired eight consecutive batters before Valenzuela sparked a three-run inning in the fourth.

Workman retired 12-consecutive batters faced from the third inning into the seventh. After retiring the first batter in the seventh, he was lifted in favor of the left-hander Bandilla to face a pair of left-hand hitters in the ASU lineup. Bandilla issued a walk to the first batter he faced, but induced a pair of ground balls to end the inning.

Arizona added a key insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. Jett Bandy led off with a walk and moved to second on a balk with one out. Refsnyder then delivered his third hit of the game as he singled to center to score Bandy and push UA's lead to 4-2.

The Wildcats will return home to host No. 6 UCLA in a three-game series this weekend at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium. The series opens on Friday at 6 p.m.