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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Baseball sweeps Zags, Guilmet close to no-no”

    Stellar pitching. Two-out hits. Double-digit runs. Repeat.

    That was the Arizona baseball team’s formula in sweeping Gonzaga by a combined score of 36-4 in its season-opening weekend.

    Arizona took the first game of the series 14-0 Friday behind eight innings of no-hit pitching from right-hander Preston Guilmet (1-0) and a school-record 12 extra-base hits.

    Guilmet lost his no-hitter in the ninth on a line-drive single with no outs, but the sophomore went 8 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked only two in the Wildcats’ season opener.

    Guilmet was three outs short of Arizona’s seventh all-time no-hitter and retired 17 straight batters at one point.

    The Wildcats’ 12-1 win yesterday afternoon was more of the same with left-handed starter Brad Mills (1-0), who scattered four hits over 6 2/3 innings, surrendering just one run in picking up his first win of the season.

    “”The basic thing was that he had great command of his fastball,”” UA head coach Andy Lopez said of the senior Mills, who finished with five strikeouts.

    For the third straight game, the Wildcats (3-0) jumped all over the Bulldogs (0-3) early, scoring four times by the time the second inning was over.

    It allowed Mills to focus on establishing himself on the mound.

    “”Coming out and setting the tone early, that was important,”” Mills said. “”Especially when (Arizona) scored some early runs, hanging some zeroes right afterwards is always important.

    “”I thought I kept (Gonzaga) off balance, throwing some good curveballs.””

    Arizona broke things open with two outs in the fifth inning when second baseman Kevin Rodland lined a 3-2 pitch off Gonzaga’s Clayton Mortensen’s over the shortstop’s head to score designated hitter C.J. Ziegler and right fielder Brad Glenn for a 7-0 lead.

    “”I knew (Mortensen) would probably go off-speed, and he did, he threw the curveball, and I just wanted to get contact,”” said Rodland, who finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

    “”Good things happen when you put the ball in play.””

    The runs were the 17th and 18th Arizona scored in the series with two outs. The Wildcats added three more in yesterday’s game to finish with 21 for the weekend.

    “”That’s good, a lot of confidence-builders for the young and old guys,”” said first basemen Bill Rhinehart, who finished 2-for-4 and homered to straightaway center field in the bottom of the eighth to put the exclamation point on the win.

    With two outs in the fifth and the bases loaded, third baseman Erik Castro dribbled a slow roller down the first-base line, but Mortensen kicked the ball, allowing Rhinehart to score.

    After Rodland’s two-out single extended the score to 7-0 in the fifth, the Wildcats added four more runs in the bottom of the sixth, marking the third-consecutive game in which they scored double-digit runs.

    Gonzaga avoided the shutout when designated hitter Mark Castellitto singled home shortstop Aaron McGuinness in the seventh, cutting the score to 11-1.

    Glenn singled up the middle on the 10th pitch of his at-bat in the bottom of the first to get things started, scoring shortstop Robert Abel.

    Castro’s bloop single to left scored center fielder T.J. Steele an inning later, and Rodland followed with an RBI triple to right field.

    Catcher Daniel Butler then bunted in Rodland in for a 4-0 lead.

    Arizona won 10-3 Saturday, but converted closer Daniel Schlereth struggled in his first-career start, walking four and giving up two earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings.

    Sophomore Mike Colla (1-0) went 4 2/3 innings in relief, surrendering only two hits.

    “”As you saw all weekend, if we throw strikes and (the Bulldogs) put it in play, (the defense) made outs,”” Mills said. “”They’re going to get a couple hits here and there, but the majority, if you throw strikes, you’re going to get outs.””

    Lopez hopes to have Sedbrook today

    Arizona baseball’s offense was mighty productive over the weekend, despite missing one of its key players.

    That scenario may not last much longer.

    Junior infielder Colt Sedbrook, last season’s leading hitter, didn’t play against Gonzaga because of unresolved personal issues but cheered on the Wildcats from the dugout.

    UA head coach Andy Lopez said there wasn’t any deadline for Sedbrook to be cleared to play. He called the issue “”paperwork that has to be cleared up before he can get out here on a game basis.””

    “”I really think it’s going to be fine,”” Lopez said. “”It’s just a matter of when, I don’t know. Hopefully, (today), though.””

    “”Obviously, he’d be a big plus for us,”” Lopez added. “”He just lends a lot of leadership because he is an older guy. It would really help if he got himself squared away.””

    The junior is allowed to practice.

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