Baseball team stunned by Grand Canyon
In a perfect world, people like Keoni DeRenne don't make errors. UA's junior shortstop was a preseason All-American and is one of the most efficient defensive players in the Pacific 10 Conference.
The world isn't perfect, however.
It was DeRenne's error that led to a come-from-behind victory by Division II opponent Grand Canyon yesterday afternoon at Sancet Field.
The Antelopes hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning as GCU rallied to a 9-8 victory against the Wildcats. It was Arizona's seventh loss in 10 games.
Following the game, DeRenne took sole blame for the Wildcats' loss.
"I cost our guys the past two games," DeRenne said. "My defense is fucking horrible. I've let these guys down."
The Wildcats, behind sophomore leftfielder Kenny Huff's two RBI, took a 7-5 lead into the ninth inning, when senior Tony Milo came in to save the game.
DeRenne bobbled an easy out against the first batter in the inning, allowing him to reach base. The following batter, GCU pitcher Kyle Fouts, hit a two-run homer to the dead center field, tying the game.
The next batter, junior outfielder Erik Johnson, seemed to hit an almost identical shot, giving the Antelopes a 9-8 lead. The Wildcats went down in order in the ninth, giving the Antelopes a rare Division I victory.
Following the game, an enraged DeRenne blamed himself for the loss. The shortstop has committed four errors in the past two games. So far this season, DeRenne has committed 11 errors, two fewer than he had all of last season.
"I haven't done anything defensively," he said. "I let the first guy get on and the next guy hits a home run. I've got to step up every aspect of my game."
Milo took the loss, which his second blown save of the season. According to DeRenne, the loss can be blamed on poor defense rather than pitching.
"It's not Tony's fault," he said, "It's my fault."
UA did show some bright spots in the loss, mainly the pitching of senior Rob Shabansky. The left-hander struck out nine batters and allowed two hits in four innings of work.
"He felt great," UA head coach Jerry Stitt said. "We had him on a pitch count, but he went a little over."
The loss couldn't have come at a worse time for the reeling Wildcats. UA heads to Palo Alto, Calif., tomorrow to take on Baseball America's top-ranked team, Stanford.
The Wildcats (16-16 overall, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference), who fell to .500 with the loss, have been underachieving against average teams all season, but yesterday's loss to the Antelopes may be the most embarrassing of them all.
"We're too good to let these things happen," DeRenne said.