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Shortstop’s glove, bat lead Wildcats over No. 22 OSU

Citizen Staff Writer



Arizona shortstop Bryce Ortega got his glove on virtually every ball in his sight Friday, and with gusty winds, that wasn’t easy.

Ortega saved his best play for the ninth inning, as winds that ranged from 20 to 40 mph at Sancet Stadium were blowing their hardest with the game on the line.

What would have normally been a routine fly ball to center field forced Ortega to backpedal to the left and then to the right before he slid to the ground.

The ball fell in his glove and Ortega had a basket catch to save the game for Arizona, a 6-5 victory over No. 22 Oregon State (19-7, 6-2).

It was the Wildcats’ first victory over a ranked team this season.

UA (14-15, 3-8) and OSU meet in the final game of the series at noon Saturday.

“He played pretty damn good,” said UA closer Jason Stoffel. “The last ball got caught up in the wind. I was scared a little bit. When I saw him go down, I didn’t know what was going on, but he (caught it).”

OSU had a runner on base with one out before Ortega’s catch.

Stoffel, who was hit hard Thursday in a 9-5 loss, breathed a sigh of relief after the catch.

“It was like night and day,” UA coach Andy Lopez said about Stoffel.

Stoffel picked up his sixth save of the year and 24th of his career, adding to his school record.

Ortega came through for the rest of Friday’s pitchers as well. He went 2 for 4 with three runs scored and had seven putouts.

He was involved in four of the final six outs, which included a pair of long throws to first.

“He really stepped up,” Lopez said. “Getting to the last pop-up was an unbelievable play. That is a play that has been haunting us the last few weeks. It was a big play at a big time.”

When Ortega was not flashing the leather, he was getting good swings with the bat. He led off the first with a single and later scored on a Brad Glenn single. Glenn later scored for a 2-0 lead.

Ortega also came around to score in the second, when he and Kyle Simon scored on Glenn’s two-run single to put UA up 4-2.

Ortega tallied UA’s final run in the fourth, when he came around on an RBI double by Dillon Baird that gave the Wildcats a 6-3 lead.

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