Arms crossed, James Farris stood in front of Arizona’s dugout at Hi Corbett Field on Friday night.
For the first time in a long time, he smiled.
For the first Friday since March 14, Farris could leave Hi Corbett, still smiling.
And, for just the second time in their last 10 games, Arizona won, beating Stanford 3-2 in 10 innings.
The Wildcats (19-28, 8-17 Pac-12) have already been eliminated from postseason play. But, the season isn’t over.
“We’re eliminated, but so what,” Farris said, looked to the right toward Stanford’s dugout, then smiled. “But they have a chance to get to the postseason. I want to break their heart, that’s what I want to do.”
He wasn’t smiling earlier in the night, though. In the fifth inning, it took Farris a little longer than usual to make his way to the mound. There was a detour, to the locker room bathroom.
He felt like he had to throw up. But then, he took a Tums and some ibuprofen, ran out to the mound and got Stanford out — 1, 2, 3.
“I just tried to ignore it,” he said.
Farris lasted 8ª innings, gave up 10 hits and two earned runs with five strikeouts.
He didn’t get the win, leaving in the ninth. The Wildcats tied it at 2 in the bottom half of the ninth and then won it in the 10th
It was Arizona’s first win on a Friday since a 12-1 March victory over Washington State.
“James pitched like he has the last three Friday nights,” coach Andy Lopez said. “Vicious game though, isn’t it? He didn’t get the win. Farris deserved the win, he didn’t win, but he pitched well for us.”
The Wildcats clinched the win because of some clutch hitting late in the game, a rarity this season. Heading into the ninth, Arizona had four hits, Stanford had nine.
In the ninth, Arizona had three hits, all singles. The best was the last — Michael Hoard, the freshman designated hitter, hit a single up the middle, scoring Trent Gilbert to tie the game 2-2.
“That was huge,” Gilbert said. “Especially for a freshman, late in the season he’s starting to come on a little bit.”
To that point, Hoard was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts.
In the 10th, relief pitcher Bobby Dalbec came in and retired the side in order.
Then, in the bottom of the 10th, UA got two more key hits. The inning started when Zach Gibbons walked, Kevin Newman reached first on a fielder’s choice and Gibbons was out, and outfielder Scott Kingery singled through the left side.
The Wildcats’ ninth, and final, hit came from Gilbert, a walk-off single down the left field line that scored Newman from second base.
The final tally was Arizona with nine hits, Stanford with 10. In fact, it was the first time the Wildcats beat an opponent in a game in which they were outhit. Coming in, they were 0-22.
“We really want this series,” Gilbert said.
Added Lopez. “It was a good one to win, and those are tough ones to lose. We’ve been on the other end a lot this year.
“It’s been a unique year. That’s an understatement. I counted 21 games, well 22 in a 56-game schedule where it’s a two-run differential from the sixth inning on. That makes or breaks your season.
“Now, we’re 6-16.”