Cox ends Arizona rally in 5-4 win over Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Wildcats loaded the bases with two outs and one run home in the bottom of the ninth, but J. Brent Cox (Bay City, Texas) forced a groundout to end the game and lift No. 1 Texas (17-1) to a 5-4 win over No. 10 Arizona (12-5) in front of 1,830 fans at Sancet Stadium on Sunday, March 6. Notably, the win not only gave the Longhorns a 2-1 series victory over the Wildcats, but upped their record to 17-1 on the season and gave them their eighth come-from-behind triumph of the season.
Arizona went on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first when Trevor Crowe led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a sac bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jeff Van Houten. In the top of the second, the game moved into a lightning delay, which lasted for one hour and five minutes. Once the storm passed and the contest resumed, a scoreless second and third went in the books before doubles from Seth Johnston (Boerne, Texas) and Thomas Incaviglia (Monterey, Calif.) knotted the game at 1-1 in the fourth. One inning later, Texas put together another two-out rally, as after Clay Van Hook (Brenham, Texas) led off with a double to left, and Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas) and Nick Peoples (Round Rock, Texas) came through with a double and a base hit, respectively with two down to push UT in front by a score of 3-1. Still alive in the frame, UT managed to load the bases on a hit from Johnston and a walk to Teagarden, but Arizona reliever Eric Berger struck out the third batter he came in to face to end any further threat. The Wildcats then answered in the bottom of the fifth as Van Houten delivered a two-out, RBI-single with runners on the corners to make it a 3-2 game, but Texas reliever Clayton Stewart (Angleton, Texas), who came on for starter Adrian Alaniz (Sinton, Texas), retired the next Arizona hitter to keep UT on top by one.
Following a scoreless sixth for both offenses, the Longhorns received a two-out double off the bat of Johnston in the top of the seventh with Stubbs on first to grab a 4-2 advantage. Immediately countering in the bottom of the frame, Arizona used a leadoff double from Chris Frey followed by an error on a sacrifice bunt to plate one run and then had a runner on third with one out after a groundout. From there, Buck Cody (Oklahoma City, Okla.) came in from the UT bullpen and induced a groundout with the infield pulled in and a fly ball out to end the inning with Texas still in front. In the top of the eighth, Incaviglia led off with a bunt single and with two outs and Dooley Prince (Sulphur, La.) pinch-running at second following a groundout, Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas) came through with a RBI-single to stake the Horns to a 5-3 lead. After the next two half innings went quietly for both sides, Arizona put runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom of the ninth via a triple from Jason Donald and an infield hit off the bat of Frey when Cox, who entered the game in the eighth, slipped on the wet turf in front of the mound. Following a strikeout, Trevor Crowe came up with a chopper up-the-middle to score Donald and make it a one-run game. From there, Cox registered another strikeout before walking Van Houten to load the bases. With the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run now at second, Cox induced an unassisted groundout to first base on the first pitch he threw to Jordan Brown to end the game and earn his fourth save of the season. Picking up the win in relief was Stewart, who improved to 5-0 on the year after turning in a solid two-inning performance out of the bullpen, while Arizona starter Sean Rierson incurred the loss despite registering four strikeouts over 4.2 innings of work.
Pacing the Texas offense, which scored all five of its runs with two outs and collected 13 hits on the day, was Johnston, who recorded the second four-hit game of his career with a 4-for-5 outing that included one run scored and one RBI, and the duo of Incaviglia and Hudson, who each went 2-for-4. Arizona, meanwhile, had its attack led by Van Houten, who drove in a pair of scores, and Frey, who posted a 3-for-4 afternoon with one run scored. Of additional note for Texas, Alaniz struck out four over 4.1 innings during his second start of the year and Stubbs scored twice and drove in one run on the day.
Up next, the Longhorns return home to Disch-Falk Field for a 6:15 p.m. Central game against No. 7 Rice on Wednesday, March 9.