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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball opens season with three-game sweep of EMU

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Jordan Glenn

Arizona baseball pitcher Tyger Talley (19) delievers a pitch during Arizona’s 6-2 win against Eastern Michigan at Hi Corbett Field on Sunday. Talley and the Wildcats swept EMU over three games.

Arizona baseball completed a three-game sweep of the Eastern Michigan Eagles Sunday, closing out the afternoon game 6-2.

Backed by strong pitching and big batters, the Wildcats (3-0) proved they are back in 2015. Starters Austin Schnabel, Robby Medel and Tyger Talley combined for 21.2 innings and 17 strikeouts over the three games.

“I think it’s big that our starters could go really deep in the games this weekend,” said Talley, who contributed nine of those strikeouts.

Talley, who typically pitched five to six innings last season, went for 7.1 innings on Sunday and retired 13 straight batters before Bobby Dalbec took over in the eighth. Talley also recorded 72 strikes in 102 pitches in his three-hit appearance.

Eastern Michigan took an early lead on Sunday, responding to the Wildcats’ one-run first with a solo home run by Mitchell McGeein in the second inning. The Eagles scored again in the third inning off a fielder’s choice and held Arizona to one run through the fifth.

The Wildcats capitalized on a pair of throwing errors from Eastern Michigan pitcher Jake Andrews in the sixth inning. Kevin Newman, Tyler Krause and Dalbec all reached home plate to go ahead 4-2.

Catcher Riley Moore, who replaced Sunday starter Handsome Monica in the seventh inning, scored off a bunt by Sawyer Gieseke in the eighth. Gieseke tacked on the final run of the game later that inning after a wild pitch by Michael Marsinek.

“For me, it feels good again,” Arizona coach Andy Lopez said. “They look like they want to compete, which is the big thing.”

Arizona outscored the Eagles 16-3 on Saturday, thanks in large part to Scott Kingery, who went 5-6 from the plate and was a double short of a cycle.

Kingery’s weekend resume included four runs and five RBIs, three of which were on Saturday. He also hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning on Saturday night and finished 7-13 at the plate over the weekend.

“Scott Kingery had a great weekend offensively,” Lopez said. “But a few other guys did, too.”

Dalbec cleared the fence to lead off the eighth inning on Saturday as well, making it the first time in almost two years that Arizona hit two homers in one game. The “jack-of-all-trades” also pitched a perfect 1.2 innings to close out Sunday’s game.

Arizona featured a handful of new names in its lineup over the weekend, including freshman first baseman J.J. Matijevic, who doubled in his first at-bat as a Wildcat.

“It’s been an experience like nothing else,” Matijevic said. “The atmosphere on Friday, that first start and first hit was awesome.”

Matijevic traded off time at first with San Francisco transfer Sawyer Gieseke, who chipped in a hit and two runs in Saturday’s victory and a run and RBI on Sunday.

The opening series included three of what will be 19 games in 23 days for the Wildcats. They host 10 in a row, seven after this weekend, then head to Starkville, Miss., for four games. They will then return home for five more before the Pac-12 Conference opener against Utah on March 13.

“It’s important, for one, because you get to play a lot of people,” Lopez said. “Practice is nice, but practice is practice. You need to play games and need to find out who wants to play when the lights go on.”

Arizona returns to Hi Corbett Field Tuesday at 6 p.m. to host North Dakota State.

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Follow Nicole Cousins on Twitter.

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