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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Ziegler’s big day leads to baseball sweep

    UA designated hitter C.J. Ziegler connects for a home run in yesterdays 8-3 win over New Mexico at Sancet Stadium. Zieglers second homer of the weekend helped the undefeated Wildcats sweep the weekend series.
    UA designated hitter C.J. Ziegler connects for a home run in yesterday’s 8-3 win over New Mexico at Sancet Stadium. Ziegler’s second homer of the weekend helped the undefeated Wildcats sweep the weekend series.

    It’s no wonder nobody’s been pitching to C.J. Ziegler.

    The designated hitter finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs, four runs scored and his second home run in as many days in leading the Arizona baseball team to an 8-3 win over New Mexico yesterday.

    “”When it’s going good for you, it’s going good,”” said Ziegler, who upped his average to .565 on the season. “”You’ve got to just keep going with what’s given to you.””

    Until recently, Ziegler – who finished a triple shy of Arizona’s first cycle since 2001 – hadn’t been given much to hit, walking a team-high eight times and getting hit by three pitches heading into yesterday’s game.

    But starting Saturday, the Lobos finally stopped pitching around him, and he teed off in the fifth inning of Arizona’s 8-1 win for his first home run as a Wildcat. Ziegler started the season a full six games without going yard, but after Sunday’s bomb, he had two in just four at-bats.

    “”I guess you could say that I have high standards for myself,”” Ziegler said, “”but to be able to come out and hit, that’s my job. I’m expected to do that.””

    The win capped off the third-consecutive sweep to open the season for the Wildcats (8-0) after a 9-6 win Friday and the win Saturday. With the losses, New Mexico dropped to 1-3 on the season.

    Ziegler’s home run, a towering shot to left field off Jacob Norton’s 1-2 pitch in the third inning, gave Arizona a 3-1 lead it never relinquished.

    “”C.J. can hit,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”He’s going to be a big offensive force here as the year goes on.””

    Added Ziegler: “”I love hitting. … To see the ball fly that far, the humiliation of the pitcher on his face – you know he gets mad over it.””

    Lopez’s pitching staff turned in yet another strong performance, getting five solid innings out of the bullpen after starter Mike Colla was taken out to start the fifth because his pitch count was nearing his 75-pitch limit. Colla gave up two runs on three hits and struck out four.

    Lefty David Coulon (2-0) picked up the win after surrendering just two hits over four innings with two strikeouts in his first relief appearance of the season.

    “”It’s working for me. I’m just going out there and throwing strikes,”” Coulon said.

    “”When you get ahead of batters, it makes the whole game totally easier as a pitcher.

    Freshman Jason Stoffel pitched the ninth, giving up the final run.

    “”This is a club right now, because of the youth of it, because of Colt Sedbrook (who missed his eighth-straight game because of personal issues) … that we have to pitch well to take some stress off of the young hitters,”” Lopez said. “”I think we’ve done that for the most part.””

    Though Coulon shined for the second straight outing – he struck out 11 over six innings in picking up the win against Utah Valley State Feb. 6 – Lopez said the rotation would remain as is for next weekend’s series at No. 12 Cal State Fullerton.

    “”David Coulon has done a marvelous job,”” Lopez said, “”but really, Mike Colla … did nothing to discourage me. I think he’s going to be ready to go.””

    First baseman Bill Rhinehart led the Wildcats to Saturday’s win in batting 2-for-3, including his fourth home run of the season.

    Lefty Brad Mills (2-0) struck out six, scattered three hits and gave up just the lone run over seven innings for the win.

    On Friday, though infielder Travis Peep’s pinch-hit bases-clearing double down the right field line with two outs gave Arizona a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth, the game saw the season’s first bump in the road for the usually steady Arizona pitching staff.

    After starter Preston Guilmet went six strong innings, the bullpen finished the game with a combined seven walks in just three innings.

    Stoffel (1-0), who pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up an unearned run, picked up the first win of his career.

    Closer Daniel Schlereth pitched the final two innings of the game for his second save of the season, walking four batters while striking out five.

    Extra bases

    Lopez said Sunday that after watching righty Ryan Perry throw a bullpen session earlier in the day, he expects the sophomore back from injury in two weeks. Perry, who’s been sidelined since early January, will have X-rays Thursday

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