Arizona rallied from an early 3-0 deficit, and took its first lead of the weekend in the top of the eighth to escape with a 4-3 win over the College of Charleston baseball team on Saturday evening.
The result sets up a compelling rubber match tomorrow afternoon after the College of Charleston (24-26) took the series opener, 3-1, on Friday evening. Arizona (32-17) squeezed out four runs on seven hits, compared to three tallies on seven base knocks for the Cougars on Saturday.
Ari Sechopoulos (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) paced the Cougar offense with a 3-for-4 effort, while Luke Manzo (Marietta, Ga.) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Tommy Richter (Wayne, Pa.) and Ereven Roper (Easley, S.C.) each drove in a run.
Evan Sisk (Chester, S.C.) took the ball and pitched into the fifth, allowing three runs on three hits and striking out four in four and one-third innings of work. Carter Love (Charlotte, N.C.) surrendered one run on four hits and struck out five in four and two-thirds to take the loss.
Ryan Haug led the way for Arizona with a 2-for-4 night, as he, JJ Matijevic, and Cesar Salazar each plated a run. Cameron Ming surrendered two earned runs on seven hits and struck out six in six innings, and finished with a no decision. Michael Flynn tossed three hitless frames and struck out four to pick up the win.
The Cougars got on the board in the first inning for the third straight game, plating a run on a sac fly by Roper to take an early 1-0 lead. After Sechopoulos and Manzo led off the third with back-to-back singles, Richter scored Sechopoulos with a grounder to short to push the advantage to 2-0. Following a second intentional walk of the night to Logan McRae (Florence, S.C.), Roper reached on an error that allowed Manzo to score the Cougars’ third run.
Arizona answered in the top of the fourth, plating two runs to cut the lead to 3-2 on a wild pitch, and an RBI single from Haug. After the Cougars stranded two runners in scoring position in the home half, Arizona evened the tally at 3-3 on an RBI groundout from Matijevic in the fifth.
The score remained deadlocked at 3-3 until the top of the eighth, when Haug sent a one-out double into right center and came around to score on a pinch-hit single by Salazar to put the Wildcats in front, 4-3. Flynn took command from there, retiring six of the final seven batters he faced to complete the comeback.
The Cougars and Wildcats will meet in the rubber game of the weekend set tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 pm. Prior to the game, the Cougars will recognize Roper as part of its senior day ceremony.
-per CofC Athletics