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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball wins first game of regional

After a 20 year drought of not hosting an NCAA regional, the Arizona baseball program treated 5,086 fans Friday night to an offensive explosion against Missouri, racking up 15 runs on 20 hits, including seven runs and six hits in a masterful fourth inning for a 15-3 win.

The Wildcats were down 2-0 before they had a chance to step in the batter’s box, after ace Kurt Heyer gave up two runs and two hits in the first inning. Heyer bounced back with a stellar stretch that continued until his final pitch.

“We just kind of hit a wall as a team,” Missouri center fielder Blake Brown said. “He came out early and was leaving pitches out over the plate. We hit the ball hard a lot of times, we just hit the ball right at people.”

Over the remainder of Heyer’s four hit complete game, his seventh of the season, he gave up just one hit, in the top of the ninth, on a throwing error. Heyer retired 18 of the final 21 batters he faced and gave up just two walks.

“Kurt was pretty impressive after the first inning,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “I thought there was one bad pitch, but he settled down and pitched as he has last three years.”

In Heyer’s four-inning tear through the Tigers’ lineup, he struck out out three of his seven total strikeouts.

“After going through the lineup, the pitching plan was to throw curveballs and jam hitters,” Heyer said. “I guess the adrenaline just took over. I’m happy I was able to calm down.”

Offensively, Arizona’s bats were nearly unstoppable. Apart from the seven run fourth frame, the Wildcats six hits in the first inning were all singles, in addition to the seven extra base hits they tallied.

“We got some Tucson hits tonight,” Lopez said, referring to the hardness and speed of the dirt in the infield. “This time of the year, the infield going to be hard no matter what you do to it.”

Leadoff hitter Joey Rickard had four RBI and three runs, along with a triple and a double. Senior Bobby Brown was 4-5 on the evening with a double and two runs. As a team, Arizona used the hard infield well, knocking through 11 singles in the game.

“They’re an old group,” Lopez said. “ They understand what they’re doing this time of season. They know how to execute. A lot of people can make a hitting plan, but they can’t apply it. These guys applied the hitting plan pretty quickly.”

The Wildcats’ forced Missouri coaches to pull starting pitcher Blake Holovach in the fourth inning, in favor of reliever Ryan Yuengel, who was not much better, giving up three runs in the fourth, before being pulled himself. Every Arizona batter had at least one hit, while six Wildcats gathered multiple hits.

Arizona (39-17) will face Louisville (40-20) tonight at 8 p.m. in Hi Corbett Field. Louisville defeated New Mexico State 3-2, in a much lesser scoring affair. Because of the start time for the Wildcats’ game, Lopez did not see Louisville play, but plans to take it “one day at a time,” he said.

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