UA BASEBALL

Baseball: Arizona 4, USC 3, 10 innings: Great time to find form

Gibbons ends slump with walk-off single as UA keeps hope alive
2013-05-25T00:00:00Z Baseball: Arizona 4, USC 3, 10 innings: Great time to find formDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Outfielder Zach Gibbons, mired in a 4-for-22 slump entering Friday night's game against USC, has been going by a different name recently at practice.

"I've been calling him 'Gibson' the last two weeks saying, 'that's how poor you're playing, I don't even know your name,'" Arizona Wildcats coach Andy Lopez joked.

Here's betting it's back to Gibbons now.

The freshman from Scottsdale came through with a one-out single in the bottom of the 10th to score fellow freshman Kevin Newman from second base to give the UA a 4-3 win over the Trojans at Hi Corbett Field.

Gibbons had his first four-hit game of his career, going 4 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI and the Wildcats' chances of reaching the postseason, however slim they are, appear to still be alive.

"It was huge," Gibbons said. "I've never had the game-winner like that. I was hunting fastball, trying to get my front foot down and trying to go up the middle and was able to do it.

"We know we have to win out to have a chance at the playoffs, so tonight was pretty big."

Gibbons was just one of the freshmen to come up big for the Wildcats (32-21, 13-15 Pac-12) on Friday.

Besides scoring the winning run, Newman also had a two-run single in the fifth and played flawless defense at shortstop. The Southern California native said USC was one of just two Pac-12 programs not to offer him a scholarship out of Poway High School.

"I'm kind of glad they didn't now," Newman said. "I thought about that before the game. It is what it is."

Freshman Scott Kingery, playing right field Friday night, also came through. With one out and a runner on first in the 10th and Mat Troupe on to face his first batter, USC's Adam Landecker hit a sinking liner to right. Kingery came on and snatched it, diving forward and then firing to first to get the double play.

"That was a game changer and gave us momentum heading into the dugout," Gibbons said.

Added Lopez: "This freshman group is going to be good when it's all said and done. They will do something special by the time they leave here."

The freshmen owned the 10th. A junior, Konner Wade, owned the first nine innings.

The right-hander, who has struggled at times this season, gave the UA what it needed Friday night - a strong start, lots of strikes and a chance to win the opener.

Wade ended up going 9 1/3 innings, giving up 11 hits, three runs and striking out one. He didn't walk a batter and threw 126 pitches - 81 for strikes -after battling a stomach bug in the days leading up to his start.

He also made a couple of key defensive plays, including grabbing a liner up the middle in the eighth that looked like it was going to get through for a hit.

"I've been sick the last couple of days, so I've felt dead," Wade said. "But, I just wanted to go out there and get seven strong innings for my team and ended up going 9 1/3. So I'll take it. I felt good walking off the mound."

Lopez, who has been tough on his Friday night starter at times this season, was floored by his performance.

"Konner Wade was outstanding," Lopez said. "He just had better location. (His changeup) was much improved as well."

Of course Wade missed out on the win. Instead, Troupe, throwing just one pitch, earned the victory to move to 6-0 on the season.

"That's why this game sucks," Lopez said smiling.

The Trojans (20-34, 10-18) were led by Dante Flores and Blake Lacey, who each had two hits and an RBI in the loss.

Gibbons, Joe Maggi and Riley Moore all had multi-hit games for the Wildcats.

"That's a Friday night game in the Pac," Lopez said. "It doesn't matter what their record was. It was really good baseball. This is what a Friday night is supposed to feel like."

The Wildcats, needing a sweep this weekend to stay in the postseason conversation, will send junior James Farris to the mound tonight in the second game of the series. USC has not determined its starter yet.

Today

• What: USC at Arizona

• Where: Hi Corbett Field

• When: 6 p.m.

• Radio: 1290-AM

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

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily

I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site consitutesagreement to it's user agreement & privacy policy.

Most Popular

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...