Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/21/12
TUCSON, Ariz. An uncharacteristically sloppy defensive effort in the eighth inning doomed the No. 5 Arizona baseball team as visiting New Mexico State scored the final four runs of the game en route to a 7-4 upset victory over the Wildcats on Tuesday night at Hi Corbett Field. Arizona (16-5) held a 4-3 lead going to the seventh inning before New Mexico State (16-8) seized the momentum. The Aggies tied the game 4-4 in the inning and threatened to take the lead after loading the bases, but reliever Stephen Manthei induced an inning-ending double play to escape further trouble. The Wildcats created their own trouble in the decisive eighth inning. Kurt Snowley singled off Manthei to open the inning, and reached second when shortstop Alex Mejia committed an error on a grounder by Cody Edwards. Tanner Waite attempted to bunt the runners into scoring position, but first baseman Brandon Dixon elected to throw to third. His throw was wild and rolled down the left field-line, where Johnny Field misplayed the ball, allowing Snowley and Edwards to score. The Aggies added an insurance run in the ninth, and Robert Roher induced a game-ending double play off the bat of Johnny Field to earn his first save of the season. The Wildcats were just 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Arizona starter Tyler Hale tossed five innings and gave up three runs two earned on six hits. He matched his career high with seven strikeouts and had three walks, but did not factor into the decision. Manthei was charged with the loss despite not allowing an earned run. The two teams will conclude the two-game, mid-week series on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats are slated to throw freshman right-hander Lucas Long against the Aggie left-hander Ryan Beck.
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