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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Childs’ grand slam lifts baseball to win

    Arizona third baseman Brad Glenn swings at a pitch in last nights 10-6 win at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Wildcats baseball team has now won six games in a row and have a chance for seven if they can beat the Lobos today.
    Arizona third baseman Brad Glenn swings at a pitch in last night’s 10-6 win at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Wildcats’ baseball team has now won six games in a row and have a chance for seven if they can beat the Lobos today.

    Arizona baseball catcher Dwight Childs is not known for his bat. Coming into yesterday’s match with New Mexico (24-13) the sophomore was hitting .164 with only nine hits and six RBIs.

    But last night, it was Childs’ bat instead of his glove that launched the Wildcats (21-11, 3-6 Pacific 10 Conference) to a 10-6 victory – their sixth straight – on a night where six of Arizona’s 10 RBIs came by the long ball.

    “”Things are clicking right now,”” said right fielder Jon Gaston. “”We’re really starting to come together offensively and having timely hitting. We’re just playing hard and taking things one game at a time.””

    Trailing the Lobos 4-2 heading into the top of the sixth, Arizona began mounting a rally.

    A pair of leadoff singles by third baseman Brad Glenn and designated hitter Dillon Baird, along with a walk to center fielder T.J. Steele, loaded the bases.

    Then, after Lobos relief pitcher Brandon Hewett issued a free pass to Gaston, scoring Glenn, Childs came to the plate.

    With Arizona down one run, the eight-hole hitter connected with a first-pitch fastball sending it far over the fence in right-center field. The bomb was the sophomore’s first homer of the year and the first grand slam of his collegiate career.

    “”It felt good, that’s for sure,”” Childs said of the home run. “”I got jammed in my first at-bat and was extremely mad at myself. The second time I cheated a little bit and was looking for the fastball. Then I got a fastball up and took advantage of it.””

    Childs was not the only player in Arizona’s lineup to launch an unexpected long ball. Shortstop Bryce Ortega blasted his first home run of his career – a solo shot – off New Mexico starter John Hesketh (2-3) to pull Arizona within one by making the score 3-2 in the top of the fifth.

    As the Wildcats’ offense has shown signs of a revival from its midseason slump, the team saw last night that even the bottom of its lineup can be potent.

    The six- through nine-hole hitters accounted for nine of the Wildcats’ 10 RBIs in addition to six of their 11 total hits. Steele began Arizona’s scoring in the second inning with a solo blast – his eighth of the year – to help give the bottom of the Wildcats’ lineup three home runs in the game.

    “”You know we’re coming out of (the hitting slump) when you got Ortega hitting his first home run and Dwight Childs hitting a grand slam,”” Gaston said. “”That’s big for our offense right there. We’re definitely getting hot right now.””

    With the tail end of Arizona’s lineup providing a plethora of run support, starting pitcher Mike Colla (3-2) responded by going a career-high 7 1/3 strong innings. In arguably his best start this season, the right-hander allowed only one earned run on four hits while striking out five.

    Colla has been lights out as of late. The
    junior gave a similar one-run, four-hit performance through six innings of work last week at San Diego State, a game which Arizona went on to win 11-6.

    “”Best outing I’ve seen out of him all year,”” Childs said of Colla’s performance. “”He looked comfortable on the mound, he had good stuff and he went out and got strike one. If you get strike one batter after batter, you’re percentage of outs definitely goes up.””

    As Arizona continues to fire on all cylinders, the Wildcats take the field again this afternoon with a chance for the sweep against the Lobos, as well as stretching their streak to seven straight wins.

    Arizona’s current 6-0 streak is a drastic difference from the team’s 3-10 run prior.

    Gaston said, however, the Wildcats are not letting themselves get caught up in the excitement of the winning streak, but rather, they’re remaining poised and focusing on playing good baseball.

    “”We just want to take things one at a time and not rush anything,”” Gaston said. “”We’re pretty confident in each other. We just need to play loose and know that we’re one inning away from a comeback and putting runs on the board.””

    Extra bases

    After throwing 9 2/3 shutout innings last week against San Diego State and Indiana State, Arizona reliever Ryan Perry was awarded Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors yesterday.

    Over the last week, Perry (2-2) was dominant on the hill, striking out nine while allowing one walk. The Aztecs managed to pick up one hit off the junior while the Sycamores never reached base against the right hander.

    Since San Diego State’s lone hit, Perry has sat down 19 straight batters over 6 1/3 innings.

    The award was Perry’s first and the Wildcats’ second this season as left-hander David Coulon nabbed the honor in early March.

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