Bat Cats sweep 2nd-ranked Cardinal
TUCSON, Ariz. (UA Athletics) – James Farris hurled his second complete game of the season and Robert Refsnyder blasted a three-run homer in the fifth inning to lead eighth-ranked Arizona to a 6-2 win and a series sweep of second-ranked Stanford on Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 2,959 at Hi Corbett Field.
Farris, a sophomore right-hander, duplicated the mastery of Konner Wade, who tossed a complete game three-hitter to defeat the Cardinal on Saturday night. On Sunday, Farris scattered just five hits and did not walk a batter to with five strikeouts. He improved his record to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 3.69.
The Wildcats, who have now fallen behind in 15 consecutive games, needed another wakeup call on Sunday. The Cardinal pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Refsnyder, who entered the day just 1-for-9 in the series, led off the home half of the fourth with a single. Seth Mejias-Brean followed and extended his career-long hitting streak to 21 straight games with a single. Both runners moved into scoring position on a bunt by Bobby Brown to set up a two-run single by Trent Gilbert that tied the game.
Arizona seized control of the series finale an inning later. With two on and two out, Refsnyder sat on a 2-0 pitch from Stanford starter John Hochstatter (3-3) and parked his first home of the season to left field to give the Wildcats a comfortable three-run lead.
For good measure, UA tacked on a single insurance run in the sixth. Riley Moore led off with a single and later scored on Joey Rickard’s RBI single to left field.
It was plenty of support for Farris, who found a second gear in the later innings. After giving up two runs on three hits and an error in the fourth, Farris went on to retire 14 straight batters until there was one out in the ninth inning. Then, after an error put a second runner on base with two outs, Farris induced a game-ending flyout to Johnny Field in left field to seal the sweep.
The back-to-back complete game performances capped a spectacular weekend on the mound for UA’s pitching staff. Kurt Heyer threw eight innings on Friday before giving way to Stephen Manthei for the final three outs. In 27 total innings pitched against Stanford, UA pitchers accumulated a 1.67 ERA, scattered 19 hits, struck out 24 and issued just three walks.
Offensively, the Wildcats hit .371 and had eight extra base hits to just four for the Cardinal, who entered the series second in the conference with 16 home runs. Arizona hitters rapped out double-digit hits in all three games, totaling 36 over the three days.
Arizona (21-7, 7-2) stretched its winning streak to five straight Pac-12 games and remains tied atop the league standings with No. 6 UCLA. The 7-2 start in conference action is the program’s best start since an 8-0 run to begin the 2007 slate.
Stanford (16-6, 2-4) suffered its first series loss of the season. The Cardinal were swept by the Wildcats for the first time since 1993.
Sunday’s crowd brought the total series attendance to 10,656 at Hi Corbett Field. It is the largest three-game series attendance tally for the school since May 15-17, 1992, when the Wildcats closed out the regular season with a three-game sweep of Arizona State in front of a combined 13,466 at Sancet Field. That was also the last season Arizona hosted an NCAA regional.
Arizona will hit the road for its next four games, beginning on Wednesday, April 4, at Utah Valley. The Wildcats then resume conference play at Utah for a three-game set April 5-7.