UA BASEBALL

Baseball: Arizona 5, Washington 3: Must avoid at all costs

Troupe's solid relief, timely Moore single lift UA to needed win
2013-05-06T00:00:00Z Baseball: Arizona 5, Washington 3: Must avoid at all costsDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It wasn't the most traditional pep talk in the world, but it was vintage Andy Lopez.

Trailing 3-2 in the sixth inning and staring a sweep to 16-29 Washington straight in the eyes, the Wildcats coach fired his team up and loosened them up all in one funny, but sobering quip.

"I said: 'Fellas, they're not going to turn this place into a Walmart on Monday if you don't get this one, but you're going to put yourselves in a pretty tough spot. You better figure out how to win this game,'" Lopez said.

The Wildcats plated three runs in the next inning to grab a 5-3 lead and held on to beat the Huskies by the same score in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field.

The win improved the UA to 29-17 overall and 10-11 in the Pac-12. With their next six games against a pair of nationally ranked teams, the Wildcats still have time to play their way into the NCAA tournament and improve their résumé.

But Sunday's win was a must if the word "postseason" was even going to be mentioned at Hi Corbett.

"Last year at this time, we were trying to win the conference," Lopez said. "This year, you're just trying to get yourself into a position to make the postseason.

"Every game is big now."

The Wildcats grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third when sophomore Joe Maggi scored on a Brandon Dixon fielder's choice.

But the Huskies scored one in the fifth to tie the game and then took the lead when they opened the sixth with a triple and a single to chase Wildcats starter Tyler Crawford.

After the next batter reached on a Dixon error, Lopez decided to bring sophomore closer Mat Troupe into the game with runners on first and second and no outs.

Troupe got the first batter to ground out to second, which allowed both runners to move up a base. He then got Joe Meggs to ground into a fielder's choice, which nailed the lead runner at home. A groundout to short one batter later by Parker Guinn ended the inning.

Troupe said pitching coach Shaun Cole told him before the game the sophomore would be the first reliever out of the bullpen.

"So I was ready to go and eager to get in there," Troupe said.

Troupe put another scoreless frame up in the seventh and then got some help from his offense in the bottom half.

Jordan Berger opened the seventh with a single and then Scott Kingery reached on an error that moved pinch runner David Lopez to second. Maggi bunted both runners into scoring position.

The Huskies (16-29, 8-13) elected to intentionally walk Johnny Field to get to Trent Gilbert. The sophomore second baseman grounded out to second to score Lopez and tie the game.

With first base open, Washington again issued an intentional walk, this time to Dixon. Riley Moore came up with two outs and the bases loaded and roped a two-run single to right field to give the Wildcats the lead for good.

"We needed this one badly," Lopez said. "We deserved to win today."

That wasn't the case the first two nights. The Wildcats were steamrolled on Friday 23-1 and then committed three errors on Saturday in a one-run loss.

"There was a sense of urgency we felt this morning that we hadn't felt since that Oregon series when we were 0-6," Maggi said.

Troupe improved to 5-0 with the win, pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Every Wildcat hitter reached base at least once in the victory.

Arizona returns to action Friday at UCLA.

"I'm very proud of the way they battled back," Lopez said. "We're still too young. Are we going to get older in the next four days? I sure hope so."

Up next

• Who: Arizona at UCLA

• When: 6 p.m. Friday

• Radio: 1290-AM

Pac-12 Standings

Conf. Overall

Oregon State 17-4 37-8

Oregon 19-5 37-11

UCLA 14-7 31-13

Arizona State 12-9 30-14-1

Stanford 11-10 26-16

Arizona 10-11 29-17

USC 8-13 17-29

Washington 8-13 16-29

California 9-15 21-26

Washington State 7-14 20-23

Utah 5-19 16-26

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

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