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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball routs Louisville 16-4 behind 23 hits

As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

Twenty-four hours after their 20 hits and 15 runs giving Missouri a “good old-fashioned butt whooping,” as Missouri head coach Tim Jamieson put it, the Arizona Wildcats baseball team stuck to the same approach against Louisville. Arizona gained another 23 hits and 16 runs in a 16-4 rout of the Cardinals.

“Needless to say, it’s gone well the last couple nights in terms of offense,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “We’ve been hot at the plate.”

Arizona (40-17) has pounded the opposition in two regional games; with its first ever back-to-back 20 hit games in program history. Five Wildcat players tallied three hits each.

Arizona’s bats were so unstoppable in fact, that Brandon Dixon – a defensive substitution for the Wildcats – was the first player to hit a home run in Hi Corbett Field in these NCAA regionals.

The first inning for Arizona starting pitcher Konner Wade looked eerily similar to that of ace Kurt Heyer a night ago. Wade went through 27 pitches and two walks in a one run inning for Louisville. The Cardinals were unable to jump on Wade however, despite a bases loaded, one-out situation.

“I came out too excited,” Wade said. “I just needed to take a breath and slow the game down. After we got out of that first inning, it was kind of easy to rely on my defense.”

Wade got out of the jam, coaxing the remaining two outs via a home plate tag out of Louisville’s Ty Young and a fly out. Wade gave up 10 hits and struck out five in eight plus innings of work.

“If we score one, two, or three in the first, I don’t think that affects them,” Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell said. “They gave up two in the blink of an eye last night, it didn’t seem to affect them. It’s a scary offense.”

Wade’s offense did what Louisville’s couldn’t in the third inning, rattling Cardinals’ starter and Big East Rookie of the Year Jared Ruxer, who prior to Saturday’s game had not given up more than four runs in any game this season. Saturday night, he accomplished that in one inning.

In almost identical fashion to Friday, Arizona began to string together extra-base RBI, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 lead.

First it was leadoff man Joey Rickard, who tired Ruxer down in a nine-pitch at-bat, bringing home Riley Moore. The next batter was Johnny Field, who not to be outdone, hit Rickard home on an RBI triple.

The middle of Arizona’s lineup was not any nicer to Ruxer, as juniors Alex Mejia, who hit a perfect 5-5 from the plate, Robert Refsnyder, and Seth Mejias-Brean all reached base with RBI hits into the gaps of Hi Corbett Field.

“It’s a great feeling to see guys in front of me get hits,” Mejias-Brean said. “It’s less pressure on me. All I have to do is put the ball in the air to pick up an RBI.”

The Wildcats’ put their own five run third frame to shame with a seven run thumping in the seventh behind the Dixon home run and two extra base RBI from Mejia and Field.

The Wildcats will await the winner of the Loser’s Bracket matchup between Missouri and Louisville this afternoon at 4 p.m. in a game that if Arizona wins, will send them to the super regional round.

“At this stage of game, it’s a grind,” Lopez said. “It’s not ice-skating. You shouldn’t get caught up in what it looks like or what it feels like, or how it smells or what it tastes like. It’s not gymnastics, it’s not ice-skating, it’s baseball.”

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