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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball surges back from four-run deficit

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Despite being down by as many as four runs, the No. 8 Arizona baseball team rallied and took advantage of a feeble Utah Valley bullpen on its way to a 12-6 victory at Hi Corbett Field on Tuesday.

“I’m happy for two really, really big things tonight,” head coach Andy Lopez said after the game. “(Freshman pitcher) Lucas Long shutting down and giving our offense a chance to get back in the ball game, and for our offense to get going a little bit.”

Junior Tyler Hale took the mound for the Wildcats to start the game and the Wolverines jumped on him early. Hale walked the first batter and gave up a single to the second. After a wild pitch that advanced the runners, Utah Valley’s Goose Kallunki laced a single into left field, scoring two.

Before Hale could take a breath, the Wolverines added another run on a two-out double from shortstop Kai Hatch.

Things didn’t get better for Hale as he allowed another two runs before being pulled with one out and runners at the corners in the top of the third.

Hale’s day finished with a dismal four earned runs on seven hits in two and one-third innings.

Long came on in relief and forced a double play to close out the inning on his first pitch as a Wildcat. He would finish with six strikeouts and only one earned run through five innings in his debut.

“I was just mixing it up and throwing strikes,” Long said. “Just doing what I had too to get outs.”

The two teams proceeded to trade runs to finish out the fourth with Utah Valley on top, 5-2.

The Wildcats kept pushing as Utah Valley reliever Ryan Chadwick let two runs in during the bottom half of the fifth frame.

In the sixth, the wheels fell off for the Wolverine bullpen as it allowed seven straight Wildcat batters to reach base and saw four pitching changes in just one half- inning.

“We just had to stay on them,” said center fielder Joey Rickard, who went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. “We just had to take what they gave us and try to make it a big inning.”

A few timely Arizona hits and several walks with the bases loaded helped the Wildcats add six to their half of the scoreboard, leading 10-5.

Arizona was able to maintain its lead and finished off the Wolverines 12-6.

The Wildcats continued their perfect record against Utah Valley, improving to 15-0 all-time against the Wolverines.

After the game, Rickard stressed the importance of Tuesday’s win.

“It’s huge,” he said. “It’s early in the season, so we have to unify a little bit and see who can do what.”

The Wildcats remain at home this weekend and will take on Auburn on Friday night and in a double header on Saturday.

“Tonight we put up a few runs,” Rickard said. “But we just have to do a better job of executing and fix it by the weekend.”

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