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NCAA Super Regional: Arizona-St. John’s game blog

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Robert Refsnyder leads off the bottom of the 10th with a walk off reliever Stephen Rivera, who came in with two outs in the sixth. Refsnyder goes to second on a sac bunt.

St. John’s brings in lefty Kevin Kilpatrick to face lefty Bobby Brown.

And Brown delivers — a single up the middle that drives in Refsnyder without a play at the plate.

Brandon Dixon then singles to center, with Brown going to third. Riley Moore walks on four pitches to load the bases and set up a force at any base. St. John’s brings in right-handed James Lamangino to face Trent Gilbert.

The freshman second baseman now has his career highlight (so far) — a sharp single into the right-center field goal to drive in Brown with the winning run in an amazing 7-6 win.

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St. John’s takes the lead in the 10th. Frank Schwindel leads off with a bad-hop single over the shoulder of shortstop Alex Mejia. Schwindel goes to second on a passed ball and scores when Sean O’Hare laced an opposite field double down the left-field line.

That was it for Kurt Heyer, who lasted 9 1/3 innings.

Matthew Troupe gives up a single to left on his first pitch, but left fielder Johnny Field throws out O’Hare at the plate to keep the score at 6-5.

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No rally in the ninth for Arizona, as the top of the order goes 1-2-3. Bonus baseball at Hi Corbett, tied at 5.

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Kurt Heyer in trouble in the top of the ninth. Two singles have put runners on first and third with one out. Andy Lopez comes out for a meeting on the mound, but he sticks with Heyer as St. John’s brings up the heart of its batting order.

Good move. Heyer gets Matt Wessinger to ground into a double play to third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean.

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Super Regional fun. Tied at five going to the ninth.

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A brief hold-your-breath moment for UA in the top of the eighth, as second baseman Trent Gilbert boots a two-out grounder with a runner on first and second … but he recovers in time to make the out at first.

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Kurt Heyer was at 92 pitches through seven innings. Andy Lopez will stick with Heyer as long as possible, but there is some action in the UA bullpen in the top of the eighth — Matt Troupe is getting warmed up.

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So close for Arizona in the seventh. The Cats threaten to take the lead after a one-out double by Robert Refsnyder. He gets to third, barely, tagging up on a fly ball to center field. But he’s stranded there on a line out to left by Bobby Brown.

Going to the eighth, tied at 5.

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Attendance: 2,514. Pretty good considering the start time. More than I would have thought.

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Kurt Heyer has set down nine of 10 batters since his disastrous fourth inning, and he seems to have plenty left in the tank. He strikes out the final two batters of the seventh inning, furthering momentum for the Cats heading into the stretch.

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Johnny Field is caught stealing to end the sixth inning, but we have a new baseball game. It’s tied at 5.

St. John’s starter Kyle Hansen lasted 5 2/3 innings. The new pitcher for the Red Storm is Stephen Rivera, who is 5-0 with a 1.74 ERA. He has 52 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings.

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Cats keep chipping away. Trent Gilbert launches a two-out triple just past the glove of diving right fielder Jimmy Brennan to drive in Joseph Maggi, who had doubled. Joey Rickard follows with a single to right to cut the lead to 5-4 in the sixth.

That stirs the bullpen for St. John’s.

Starter Kyle Hansen stays in, though, as Rickard steals second base to get into scoring position for the hot-hitting Johnny Field, who bloops a ball to shallow centerfield. As a trio of defenders converge, centerfielder Kyle Richardson has the play … but he drops the ball as the tying run scores.

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The Cats get one back in the fifth after a Trent Gilbert walk, a clever bunt single to third by Joey Rickard and an RBI hit by Johnny Field. That cut the St. John’s lead to 5-2, but Arizona could look back at the inning as a big missed opportunity after leaving the bases loaded.

Seth Mejias-Brean hit a pitch on the button, driving it to left, but it was caught near the warning track to end the inning.

* * *

Arizona nearly takes a big bite out of St. John’s 5-0 lead, but Bobby Brown hits one out of park — just foul — down the right field line with two men on in the bottom of the fourth.

As it turns out, Brown singles to right to drive in Robert Refsnyder from second base … and the Cats have something going. Well, they did until Joseph Maggi grounded into a double play to shortstop.

St. John’s leads 5-1 after four innings.

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Kurt Heyer, who has given up five runs in four innings, has allowed that many only twice in 16 previous starts this season. He yielded five to Oregon State and six to East Tennessee State.

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The Red Storm strike first, scoring in the fourth inning with three consecutive hits. Matt Wessinger started the inning with an infield hit to shortstop, and he went to third on Frank Schwindel’s single to right.

With Arizona holding Schwindel at first, left fielder Jeremy Baltz then grounded a RBI single through the hole on the right side of the infield. St. John’s didn’t stop there.

Sean O’Hare lined a single to left to load the bases and Zach Lauricella made it 2-0 with a single to center.

Stay tuned …

After a Heyer strikeout, Bret Dennis drove in a run with a “swinging bunt” that dribbled down the third-base line, with no play for Arizona. The Red Storm made it 4-0 on a sac fly by Kyle Richardson and scored another on a single to left by Jimmy Brennan, the ninth batter of the inning.

Arizona got out of the inning, as third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean cut the throw home on Brennan’s single, trapping Dennis between second and third.

Now the Cats have their work cut out for them, trailing 5-0 against a St. John’s pitching staff that has good bullpen arms — lefties and righties.

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The St. John’s starter is Kyle Hansen (5-5, 3.46 ERA), and he is through three scoreless innings. The 6-8 right-hander is the brother of former first-round pick Craig Hansen, who was once a promising flame-throwing reliever for the Boston Red Sox.

Kyle doesn’t have that kind of velocity, but he was a sixth-round pick last week, drafted ahead of Arizona’s Kurt Heyer. Hansen wasn’t St. John’s No. 1 starter for most of the seasons, but he got the call last week in the regional and pitched well.

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St. John’s gets a runner in scoring position in the top of the third on a single and a hit batter with one out. But Kurt Heyer gets Jimmy Brennan to bounce into an inning-ending double play to shortstop Alex Mejia, the second double play he has started today. Heyer has thrown an efficient 31 pitches through three innings — perfect on a hot day like today.

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After a personal flat-tire delay, I’m at Hi Corbett Field for Super Regional action between the Arizona Wildcats and St. John’s Red Storm. I only missed the first nine outs — no runs so far.

It’s the usual lineup for Arizona; we’ve become accustomed to their places:

1. CF Joey Rickard
2. LF Johnny Field
3. SS Alex Mejia
4. RF Robert Refsnyder
5. 3B Seth Mejias-Brean
6. DH Bobby Brown
7. 1B Joseph Maggi
8. C Riley Moore
9. 2B Trent Gilbert

Check back for updates and analysis during the game….

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