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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Coulon’s gem secures win

    Junior southpaw David Coulon rears back to throw a pitch in Arizonas 4-2 win over Utah Valley State yesterday at Sancet Stadium. Coulon struck out 11 and held the Wolverines hitless for the first six innings as the Wildcats won their fourth consecutive game.
    Junior southpaw David Coulon rears back to throw a pitch in Arizona’s 4-2 win over Utah Valley State yesterday at Sancet Stadium. Coulon struck out 11 and held the Wolverines hitless for the first six innings as the Wildcats won their fourth consecutive game.

    David Coulon has put his coach in a pickle.

    With only three spots in the Arizona baseball team’s rotation and five arms vying to fill those spots, UA head coach Andy Lopez has a dilemma – a good one at that.

    “”I’ve never been one to shy away from competition,”” Lopez said. “”Right now, Mr. Coulon has definitely put his name in the pot.””

    The lefty Coulon went six innings before allowing a hit and struck out a career-high 11 as the Wildcats (4-0) eeked by Utah Valley State (0-1) last night, 4-2, at Sancet Stadium.

    But before centerfielder T.J. Steele blasted a double off the top of the wall in left-center to give Arizona some breathing room in the seventh, the Wildcat batters seemed lulled to sleep by Coulon’s performance, leaving eight men on base to that point.

    “”Everyone, I think, just came out here thinking, ‘We’re just going to roll on these guys,’ but (Utah Valley State) came out to play,”” said first baseman Bill Rhinehart, who finished 3-for-3 with an RBI.

    Added Lopez: “”It’s unrealistic to think that a group this young is going to go out and score 14, 11 and 9 every day. … We’re going to have to pitch well all year long, but that’s what usually happens if you’re a good program. You have to pitch well.””

    Coulon’s 11 punch-outs were the most by a Wildcat pitcher since Eric Berger fanned 11 against Mississippi State in March of last season.

    The junior struck out five of the first seven batters he faced, and set a new career high in strikeouts by the time the fifth inning was over.

    Coulon attributed the change from last season, when he went 4-3 with a 6.83 ERA, to an approach of “”getting things done in three pitches.””

    “”I think last season I didn’t really get a lot of outs early in the count – they’d be deep in the count,”” he said. “”And then my pitch count would be so high that I’d have to come out of the game in the fourth or fifth inning and (wasn’t) able to get deep in the innings.””

    Coulon (1-0) allowed just two hits on 83 pitches, walking two, before he was lifted for right-hander Jason Stoffel in the sixth.

    But as Stoffel entered with two runners on, he allowed a no-out double to the Wolverines’ Dan Bulow, scoring Eli Slesk and pinch-runner Jace Brinkerhoff to cut Arizona’s lead to one at 3-2. The runs were charged to Coulon.

    Stoffel settled down, and retired the next six batters he faced, striking out three. Stoffel then allowed a lead-off single in the ninth, before he was replaced by southpaw Daniel Schlereth, who finished off the Wolverines for his first save of the year.

    The sophomore resumed his duties as the team’s closer after a rocky outing in his first-career start Saturday, when he gave up two earned runs and walked four in just 2 1/3 innings of work.

    “”I’m just excited to be back in that role, just because it’s pressure,”” Schlereth said. “”I think it’s more comfortable, definitely something I’m used to.””

    “”I just have that chaotic personality that I like pressure,”” he added. “”I love coming in when my blood’s pumping like that. I love to just retire hitters when the game’s on the line. That’s what it’s all about to me.””

    After striking out four times in the first two innings, the Arizona offense finally clicked in the bottom of third.

    Rhinehart singled home right fielder Jon Gaston with a line-drive to right, and designated hitter C.J. Ziegler’s sac fly to center a batter later scored shortstop Robert Abel as the Wildcats took a 2-0 lead.

    Small ball in the sixth got Arizona its third run, as third baseman Erik Castro, who reached on an error, advanced to third on back-to-back bunts and scored on Gaston’s double off the right field wall.

    “”(Yesterday) we didn’t have as many hits as a team, but we’re going to come back out here (today) and have a better approach at the plate, more energy,”” Rhinehart said. “”I think we just rolled out, a mid-week game, and just went through the motions.””

    Freshman lefty Paul Bargas will make his first-career start tomorrow at 4 p.m. when the two teams finish their mid-week series.

    Extra bases

    Steele’s double in the seventh extended his hitting streak to 12 games dating back to last season … Infielder Colt Sedbrook missed his fourth-straight game due to personal issues.

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