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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball splits series in Mississippi

It was cats versus dogs in Starkville, Miss., over the weekend for Arizona baseball. The Wildcats faced the No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs and Samford University Bulldogs in a four-game road trip and ended the weekend 2-2.

The Wildcats (10-4) swept Samford (3-7) after rallying back from a first-inning, three-run deficit to win 12-5 on Sunday but came up short both games against Mississippi State (11-0).

Second baseman Scott Kingery paved the way offensively for the Wildcats, going a perfect 5-5 at the plate on Sunday, which contributed to Arizona’s 17 hits. He is 30-61 with a .492 batting average so far this season.

Arizona was trailing 4-1 after the first inning but opened the second with a solo home run by designated hitter Tyler Krause, his first of the year. Later in the inning, catcher Riley Moore hit a bases loaded pop fly to shortstop, but Samford’s Frankie Navarrete dropped the ball, yielding an error and two unearned runs for the Wildcats to tie the game.

Navarrete’s error was one of three for the Bulldogs, all which resulted in unearned runs for Arizona. Kingery scored off a throwing error in the first inning, and Bobby Dalbec reached home on a fielding error in the sixth.

Arizona also committed three errors, and one resulted in a run for the Bulldogs.

Zach Gibbons ignited Arizona’s momentum in the fourth inning, hitting another solo home run to grab a 5-4 lead. The Wildcats have hit eight home runs in their 14 games this season, tying the total number of homers they hit in 2014.

The Bulldogs recorded 16 hits but left 14 on base, including ending two innings with the bases loaded.

All of Samford’s runs came off of starting left-handed pitcher Xavier Borde, who went 4.1 innings, gave up eight hits and struck out six. Arizona utilized the bullpen, using five pitchers, including freshman Rio Gomez, who gave up two hits in two innings.

Arizona’s two losses to Mississippi State on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning stemmed from tough battles. The Wildcats lead Friday’s game 1-0 until the third inning, when starting pitcher Austin Schnabel hit Ryan Gridley with a pitch to start the inning, and proceeded to walk three more Mississippi State players, giving up two runs in the process. Schnabel was retired after less than three innings and replaced by Nathan Bannister.

Arizona and Mississippi State were tied at two apiece through the fifth on Saturday before the Bulldogs tallied four runs in the sixth with Cody Hamlin on the mound after Robby Medel exited with two runners on base. Hamlin gave up two hits and two runs in the inning, including one unearned run off a wild pitch that led to the Mississippi State 6-2 win.

The Wildcats made national news for the second consecutive weekend on Saturday when center fielder Justin Behnke made a diving catch that debuted at No. 1 on ESPN Sports Center’s Top 10 plays.

The Wildcats are back at Hi Corbett Field for a two-game series against New Mexico State on Tuesday, with the first pitch at 6 p.m.


Follow Nicole Cousins on Twitter.

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