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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Baseball takes two during series vs. Sacramento State

    UA shortstop Bryce Ortega fires the ball across the diamond during an 11-2 Arizona win against Sacrament State on Sunday afternoon at Frank Sencet Stadium.
    UA shortstop Bryce Ortega fires the ball across the diamond during an 11-2 Arizona win against Sacrament State on Sunday afternoon at Frank Sencet Stadium.

    After a blowout loss fueled by eight errors on Saturday, the Arizona baseball team was in desperate need of a win just three days into the season.

    With his team in need, UA head coach Andy Lopez turned to freshman Donn Roach, and he did not disappoint.

    “”It was really impressive for a freshman to have that kind of start, especially after the game we had (on Saturday),”” Lopez said after an 11-2 Wildcat victory Sunday afternoon. “”I was really impressed with Donn’s performance; he did everything we wanted him to and he didn’t look like a freshman.””

    Roach was in complete command from the moment he stepped onto the mound, showing an impressive arsenal of pitches. The right-hander kept Sacramento State hitters on their toes with an 88-91 mph fastball, and just when they thought they had the four-seamer timed he would baffle them with a 69-70 mph curveball. Mix in an 81-83 mph splitter and you have six innings of seven strikeouts and no earned runs – including retiring the first 12 batters he faced in order.

    “”I felt pretty good,”” Roach said of his first collegiate start. “”I was a little excited in the beginning, but calmed down and started making pitches. The splitter was working really well today.””

    Roach wasn’t the only freshman who helped the Wildcats (2-1) take the rubber match of the three-game series.

    Steve Selsky started all three games in right field and went 4-for-10 from the dish, including a home run on Sunday. He also played flawless defense and provided the lone defensive highlight on Saturday when he threw out a runner at third from the middle of right field.

    “”I just tried to treat it like any other game,”” Selsky said about his first weekend playing collegiate baseball. “”It wasn’t harder than I thought it would be.””

    Selsky and Roach are two key parts of the team this season and whether or not it succeeds could ride on the performances of those two. But they also are just a part of a large, talented freshman group that also included pitcher Bryce Bandilla, catcher Jett Bandy, and infielders Shaun Cooper and Kyle Stiner.

    “”I like our freshman class,”” Lopez said. “”They have to get used to the speed of the game, but they’re doing a nice job and they’re handling it really well.””

    Arizona opened the series with some promise with a 5-3 win Friday night, but stumbled through a 10-7, error-filled loss on Saturday. While the weekend wasn’t the grand success that the team had hoped for, escaping the series with dominant victory is a step in the right direction.

    “”We played good baseball today,”” Lopez said. “”I was happy to see our guys bounce back. The race is on, the (56-game) marathon has started.””

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