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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcat baseball misses out on sweep of Auburn, win two of three

Amy+Webb+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AUA+Baseball+vs.+NDSU+in+the+opening+weekend+of+the+season+and+on+Hi-Corbet+Field.
Amy Webb
Amy Webb / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Baseball vs. NDSU in the opening weekend of the season and on Hi-Corbet Field.

The No. 8 Arizona baseball team won two out of three against Auburn, but after cruising in the first two games, an 8-3 loss at the back end of the Saturday double-header left head coach Andy Lopez disappointed.

“I was not happy at all with the intensity and not happy with the execution in any facet of the game,” Lopez said about the second game on Saturday. “Pitching was not very good, hitting was not very good, defense was not very good. We did a good job eating lunches in between games.”

The Wildcats (5-2) won 8-1 Friday and 15-4 in the first game Saturday, but Auburn’s starter Daniel Koger shut down Arizona Saturday night, giving up just two hits in his six innings pitched.

“I think we went into the game with a good approach, we just didn’t stick to it,” outfielder Joey Rickard said. “We kind of got off our game, and (Koger) got into a rhythm early and we weren’t able to break him out of it.”

While the end result was a positive for the Wildcats Friday, the game started with a scary moment — a hard comebacker struck ace Kurt Heyer in his throwing hand in the second inning.

Heyer said his hand was tingling after being hit directly on his right palm, but the feeling subsided after throwing a couple practice pitches.

The junior stayed in the game and pitched seven innings with no earned runs on six hits and a walk.

The star of the offense was infielder Alex Mejia, whose two-run home run was part of a five-run second inning. The pre-season All-American finished the night 3-for-5 with four RBIs.

The first part of the double-header Saturday was a comfortable victory for Arizona.

The Wildcats scored 15 runs off of 17 hits as the entire lineup contributed, giving starter Konner Wade plenty of insurance. Wade only gave up one earned run and had 10 strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings pitched. Wade now has 23 strikeouts in just 14 innings, already giving him one more than his season total last year.

“The first (game) was a really good team performance,” Lopez said. “Pitching, defense, offense, I thought they did great.”

While the pitching of Auburn’s Koger contributed to the loss Saturday night, Wildcats starter James Farris didn’t help the cause. Farris gave up four earned runs in the first two innings, and Auburn built up an 8-0 lead by the seventh inning before the Wildcats even got on the board.

Arizona had a brief rally in the bottom of the seventh inning when pinch hitter Bobby Brown hit a two-run triple, but it was not nearly enough.

“We looked like a different team in the second game (Saturday),” Lopez said. “That needs to change.”

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