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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Jet-lagged Cats blast ASU 12-8

    Arizona pitcher Mike Colla delivers a pitch  during Arizonas game against Arizona State, Sunday April 2, 2006 at Chase Field in Phoenix. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
    Chris Coduto
    Arizona pitcher Mike Colla delivers a pitch during Arizona’s game against Arizona State, Sunday April 2, 2006 at Chase Field in Phoenix. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat)

    PHOENIX – After a wet and wacky weekend to open Pacific 10 Conference play against California, things got even crazier for the Arizona baseball team last night when it won the inaugural Challenge at Chase, which featured the Wildcats and in-state rival No. 14 ASU at Chase Field in a nonconference game.

    Earlier in the day, the Wildcats (13-14, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference) lost on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 13th inning, the conclusion of Saturday’s game against California (16-12, 4-2) in Berkeley that was suspended by darkness.

    Immediately following that contest, the team flew to Phoenix to face ASU (23-9, 2-1) and arrived just a few hours before game time, which actually woke up Arizona’s slumbering bats.

    With two outs in the eighth inning and the Wildcats down by one run, freshman designated hitter David Plante unloaded on a low fastball for a grand slam over the right field wall to put the Wildcats up 11-8. It was Plante’s first home run of the season and Arizona’s first grand slam in a year.

    “”I had a good feeling it was out, but I didn’t really start trotting until it was out of here,”” said Plante, who went 3-for-5 with seven RBIs. “”It’s been a long, long weekend. We had traveling, rain and delays. We came straight on adrenaline to play out this game.””

    Earlier in the eighth inning, Arizona was down 8-6 but had the chance to do some damage after the Wildcats loaded the bases with nobody out. Junior shortstop Jason Donald struck out swinging for the first out of the inning, and junior left fielder Bill Rhinehart scored sophomore catcher Matt Denker from third on a sacrifice fly to put Arizona within one run.

    Arizona went on to win by a score of 12-8, as Donald scored senior second baseman Brad Boyer from second on a single to center field.

    “”Of our 14 losses, 11 I think are by less than two runs,”” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “”We were missing that big hit, and we got the big hit tonight.””

    After jumping out to a six-run lead in the first two innings, the Wildcats were held scoreless for the next five frames while ASU crossed the plate in four of the first six innings.

    ASU burned through three pitchers in the first three frames, as Arizona scored three runs in both the first and second innings to jump out to a 6-0 lead, which is the most runs the Wildcats have scored since March 3.

    Freshman right-hander Ryan Perry pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on eight hits while striking out two in his first collegiate start, while redshirt freshman Daniel Schlereth (1-0) earned the win after striking out seven of the eight batters he faced in 2 1/3 innings, allowing a walk but no hits.

    “”I felt good,”” Perry said. “”I’ve been sick lately, so I lost a lot of weight and I’ve been dropping my miles per hour, but I was locating today. They just hit them.””

    The two teams combined to use 11 pitchers and were credited with six errors.

    “”I’m not unhappy with them,”” Lopez said. “”I’ve had teams with better records that I wasn’t all that excited about because I didn’t think they went out and played hard. These guys play hard every day out.””

    The Wildcats hopped out of bed for a first-pitch start at 10 a.m. yesterday morning in Berkeley. Saturday’s game was suspended in the 13th inning because of darkness around 6:30 p.m., as Evans Diamond does not have lights.

    Arizona freshman right-hander Cory Burns (0-1) gave up a solo home run to senior right fielder Ron Nesbitt to end the game, 5-4 in the 13th and only inning played that day, as the Golden Bears took two out of three from Arizona to open the Wildcats’ conference season.

    The Wildcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first five innings as sophomore starting pitcher David Coulon put in 5 1/3 innings of work, allowing one earned run, two walks and striking out eight.

    Down 4-1, Cal got back into the game on a two-run homerun by junior outfielder Brennan Boesch off freshman reliever Mike Colla in the seventh inning to make it a one-run game.

    Arizona fell 3-2 in the series opener on Thursday night at Evans Diamond. After Friday’s game was rained out, a double-header was scheduled for Saturday, with the first game starting at 10 a.m.

    Arizona won the first game, 5-1, and was paced by junior left-hander Brad Mills (3-1), who earned the win. Mills gave up four hits, no runs and two walks while striking out seven. Junior closer Mark Melancon earned his fourth save of the year after allowing one unearned run in two innings.


    Proceeds from the Challenge at Chase go toward building or renovating youth softball and baseball fields around Arizona. The fields will feature logos from both universities as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, and there are plans to host youth clinics and camps at the fields.

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