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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcat baseball takes series from OSU after slow start

After being swept in a mid-week series against New Mexico State, the No. 5 Arizona baseball team was able to rebound when it counted this weekend against the No. 19 Oregon State Beavers, taking two games out of three this weekend in Corvallis, Ore.

“I thought our intensity was great throughout the weekend,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “They realized where they were, on the road in the Pacific 12 Conference against a nationally ranked team. Those were big wins. I thought they did a great job with that.”

Things didn’t look so good from the get-go for Arizona.

Friday night’s 6-5 loss was perpetrated by junior ace Kurt Heyer’s worst outing of the season.

“Throughout the year, (Heyer’s) been pretty much perfect,” Arizona shortstop Seth Mejias-Brean said. “He’s a great pitcher, he has great work ethic. It’s going to be rare to see this again.”

Heyer allowed five runs in just his first three innings on the hill, but Lopez left him on the hill. The coach’s faith in his starter prevailed as Heyer settled down and didn’t allow another run as he pitched into the seventh.

Arizona started to make contact with the ball in the top of the eighth, with Oregon State leading 5-1. The Wildcats tacked on two and followed them up with another pair across in the top of the ninth, tying the game at five.

With Stephen Manthei on the hill for the Wildcats in the final frame, first baseman Robert Refsynder was unable to handle a pop fly and allowed Oregon State’s Tyler Smith on board. Mathew Troupe came on to relieve and struck out his first hitter, but on the third strike, Smith stole second.

Troupe intentionally walked the next batter to set up the force out, but Oregon State’s Ryan Dunn clubbed a walk-off single to left center, stifling the Wildcats comeback attempt.

“The first night was kind of rough,” Mejias-Brean said. “We did a good job coming back, but we kind of give it up late. We just need to learn from that and do a better job coming back.”

On Saturday night, the Wildcats used a little power to pull off their 5-4 victory.

In the top of the ninth, freshman Riley Moore and fifth-year senior Bobby Brown crushed back-to-back homers, the first of their respective careers.

“It couldn’t have happened at a better time when we needed it the most,” Moore said. “It was just really clutch, for me and Bobby.”

Troupe came on for the Wildcats in the bottom half of the inning and was able to shake off his Friday night outing and record the save.

The series win on Sunday came from a well-rounded performance by the Wildcats. It was a give and take outing for both teams, but Arizona was just a little tighter.

Troupe came back on to relieve and in the bottom of the ninth, he struck out his final three batters faced, securing the 7-5 win and his second straight save for Arizona.

Despite the series win, Lopez is constantly looking for what the Wildcats still need to improve for their next conference matchup.

“There’s always something we can improve on,” Lopez said. “We need better two strike at-bats, we have to get batter driving people in, we had a few missed opportunities with that. “You’re never complete, we’re just constantly working.”

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