Arizona’s Johnny Field accomplished what few baseball players ever do in a game on Sunday. Let alone in a NCAA Regional Championship, like he did.
The Wildcats left fielder had a 7 RBI night, including a grand slam, in Arizona’s 16-3 win over Louisville to advance his team to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Arizona outscored their opponents 47-10 in their three-game sweep at Regionals, held at Hi-Corbett Field in Tucson.
“It’s really special,” Field said. “To be able to provide that kind of offense and hit like that in the post-season is a really special thing.”
In the championship contest, Riley Moore had the first hit of the game by either team, a leadoff single in the top of the third. Trent Gilbert reached base on an error and Joey Rickard walked to load the bases with no outs.
Field then hammered a grand slam to left field in top of third inning to break out a 4-0 Wildcats lead. It was the first grand slam by an Arizona player since Feb. 20, 2011, when current undergraduate coach Josh Garcia did it against North Dakota State.
“On my first at-bat, he struck me out on four sliders,” Field said. “On my second at-bat (the grand slam), he threw me another slider for a first-pitch strike. Then he went off the plate with a fastball. When he came back to the slider, I was able to get a good swing on it and take it over the fence.”
Despite having three hits in the bottom of the third, Louisville couldn’t push a run across. The scoreless inning was assisted by an Arizona 8-6-3 double play.
On the highly unusual double play, Rickard caught a fly ball for one out and threw to shortstop Alex Mejia, the cutoff man. For the second out, Arizona first baseman Joseph Maggi ran across the field to cover third base, received Mejia’s throw and tagged out the runner, trying to advance to third on the fly ball.
To start the fourth inning, Field reached on an error and advanced to second. Field moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mejia. Seth Mejias-Brean then drove in Field on a single to left, extending the Wildcats’ lead to 5-0.
The Wildcats had another 4-run inning in the sixth, manufactured by two singles, a double and a triple. This gave Arizona a comfortable 9-0 winning margin over the Cardinals, through the top of the sixth.
In the bottom half of the sixth frame, Louisville scored their first run of the night on back-to-back singles and a Gilbert error.
In the top of the seventh, Arizona continued to pour on the offense by tallying their third 4-run inning in the contest. At the end of seven, the Wildcats owned a 13-1 lead over the Cardinals.
Arizona tacked on three more runs in the eighth. Louisville scored two in the bottom of the ninth but couldn’t overcome the deficit, as the game ended at 16-3.
Wildcats starter James Farris pitched a complete game, going 9 innings on 3 runs (2 earned), 12 hits, 7 strikeouts, 1 walk and 121 pitches.
“I was really happy that I was able to keep the ball down tonight,” Farris said. “And the defense behind me was huge. They made a lot of great plays out there.”
Advancing to the Super Regionals, Arizona will face St. Johns. Dates, times and locations are scheduled to be announced on Monday at 8 p.m. MST.
“I’m very proud of our guys,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “It’s fun when you can watch stuff that you teach guys on a day-to-day basis apply in the post-season.”