Citizen Staff Writer
Arizona shortstop Bryce Ortega had some empathy for Loyola Marymount on Monday, but not too much after UA rallied in the ninth for a 7-6 victory.
Ortega laid a sacrifice bunt down in the bottom of the ninth at Sancet Stadium, just trying to get Mike Weldon to second base.
Ortega got much more when Loyola pitcher John Lally retrieved the grounder, but threw wildly to first base.
The Lions went chasing after the ball in the right-field corner while Weldon sped home to tie the game and Ortega went to third with nobody out.
Brad Glenn eventually hit a walk-off sacrifice fly ball to center field to score Ortega after Dillon Baird and Jett Bandy were intentionally walked to load the bases.
“It was the easiest walk-off I’ve ever had,” Glenn said.
The Wildcats (25-23), lacking late-inning breaks all season, finally got one on Lally’s error.
“I feel bad for the other team. I’ve been in that boat walking back to the bus, but right now I don’t really care,” Ortega said.
Arizona swept the three-game series with the Lions. UA begins a home series against Washington on Saturday.
Weldon opened the home ninth by being hit by a pitch. Ortega had a drag bunt down the first base line. The throw to get him wasn’t close.
“I saw him jump and I said, ‘Oh God, it’s going down the line,’ then turned on the afterburners,” Ortega said.
The ninth-inning rally was only the second comeback the Wildcats have had all season. Glenn also drove in that winner with a two-run single for a 7-6 victory over USC on April 3.
The Wildcats, trailing 5-2 heading into the seventh inning Monday, were unable to get the big hit through most of the game, leaving runners in scoring position in the first, fifth, seventh and eighth.
Arizona didn’t need a hit in the ninth to prevail.
“It is good to get a win, although we didn’t hit the ball like we had in the past,” Glenn said. “The whole night was kind of dead with our bats. We were not hitting like we usually do, but we hung in there.”
Loyola Marymount starter Ramiro Carreon, who had a 5.31 ERA coming into the game, gave the Wildcats few good looks.
He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits, while striking out six and walking none.
The Wildcats’ biggest chance came in the fifth after Carreon retired 11 straight batters. Bobby Coyle and Hunter Pace reached with singles. Coyle scored on a Dwight Childs groundout to trim the deficit to 5-2.
Ortega singled and Baird was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Bandy hit a harmless fly ball to right field to end the threat.
The Lions had a four-run first inning off starter Daniel Workman. The freshman, suffering from strep throat, lasted only two-thirds of an inning.
Angelo Songco highlighted the frame with a towering three-run homer. He also had a solo blast against Joe Allison in the third for a 5-1 Lions lead.
It was one of the few mistakes Allison made. The reliever kept the Lions under control, giving up four hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings. Jason Stoffel (2-1) picked up the win.
“Usually we are in the other end of these one-run losses,” Ortega said.
“(This) is a little gratifying.”
Washington (23-24, 12-9) at Arizona (25-23, 8-13)
Saturday: 7 p.m. (1290 AM)
Sunday: 6 p.m. (1290 AM)
Monday: noon (1290 AM)