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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball shut out 5-0 by Fresno State

Nik+McClaughry+%2811%29+plays+shortstop+in+a+game+against+Pima+Community+College+on+Oct.+15+at+Hi+Corbett+Field.+The+Wildcats+would+go+on+to+win+the+game+5-0.
Amelia McAnear

Nik McClaughry (11) plays shortstop in a game against Pima Community College on Oct. 15 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats would go on to win the game 5-0.

After beating the No. 2 team in the nation, the University of Tennessee, on opening day, Arizona baseball stranded 10 runners and lost to California State University, Fresno by a score of 5-0 on Saturday at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz.

Sophomore pitcher Anthony “Tonko” Susac found himself in a bind in the top of the first, putting men on first and third with no outs. Susac settled for a ground-ball double-play giving Fresno State the 1-0 lead with two outs. With a man on and two down, sophomore outfielder Bobby Blandford flared a double to left field, bringing Tyler Davis home to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0.

Despite a two-out single from Garen Caulfield, pitcher Jake Dixon had a solid first inning on the mound for Fresno State, leaving a runner on base. Susac responded for the Wildcats with an efficient top of the second, forcing two groundouts and a flyout to get Arizona back on offense.

The Wildcats continued to put men on base with a walk from first baseman Kiko Romero and a double from junior Cameron LaLiberte. Both men were left on base. However, Susac responded by leaving two Bulldogs at second and third to keep the Wildcats within striking distance going into the bottom of the third. The Wildcat bats continued to struggle, though, as they were unable to score heading into the fourth.

The Bulldogs got some more offense going in the top of the fourth. It started with a Marco Pirruccello single with one out, followed by Travis Welker reaching first on a hit-by-pitch. Susac was able to get another out, but not before an RBI single up the middle from Ben Newton to make the score 3-0 Fresno State.

Arizona stayed scoreless through the fourth inning as Dixon stayed dominant despite a Tony Bullard leadoff double. Susac got through the top of the fifth inning, keeping the score 3-0 while adding a strikeout.

Fresno State pitcher Dixon started the bottom of the fifth by striking out Emilio Corona and Mason White while looking. Dixon ended the inning by getting Nik McClaughry to ground out to the shortstop on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Susac battled for another scoreless inning, adding his second and final strikeout of the game. The Wildcat offense got it going in the bottom of the sixth with a walk from Chase Davis and a Bullard double to put men on second and third with one out. Bullard and Chase Davis would become the fifth and sixth runners left on base for Arizona.

Freshman lefty Jackson Kent entered the game to relieve Susac, who gave up seven hits and three runs. Kent struck out the second batter. Kent finished with a strikeout, followed by Tyler Davis getting caught stealing third. Trevor Garcia entered the ball game for Fresno State to pitch in the seventh and relieve Dixon, who struck out six and allowed no runs through six innings.

Corona jumped on Garcia with a one-out double. The bottom of the seventh ended in an odd way involving a new rule change. Chase Davis’s third strike was called because he was standing outside of the batters’ box for too long, stranding the seventh and eighth runners on base for the game.

The Bulldogs took a 5-0 lead in the top of the eighth after a moonshot from senior infielder Payton Allen, which drove in Blandford as well. Kent got some help on defense from White, who turned in a terrific double play to end the top of the inning. Garcia continued to dominate, holding the Wildcats to no runs heading into the top of the ninth.

Kent responded with a solid no-run inning to give the Wildcats one more chance in the bottom of the ninth. Although there were a few good pieces of hitting in the bottom of the ninth, none of them dropped, and the Wildcats fell to the Bulldogs by a score of 5-0.

This was Arizona’s first loss and Fresno State’s first win after losing to the University of Michigan on the first day of the tournament. Arizona baseball will take on the Michigan State University Spartans on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. in Scottsdale, Ariz., as they return to Salt River Fields.


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