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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball gets swept for first time this season

Colin+Darland+%2F+Daily+Wildcat+%0A%0AFreshman+pitcher+Lucas+Long%2C+23%2C+is+relieved+by+junior+Nick+Cunningham%2C+42%2C+in+the+third+inning
Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat Freshman pitcher Lucas Long, 23, is relieved by junior Nick Cunningham, 42, in the third inning

The New Mexico State Aggies (17-8) again proved too much for the No. 5 Arizona baseball team (16-6, 2-1 Pac-12) as the Aggies completed a two-game series sweep by beating the Wildcats 13-8 on Wednesday.

“Overall, (it was) just real bad baseball,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “(It’s been) the worst two days of baseball we’ve played in a long, long time.”

Freshman Lucas Long had been a bright spot coming out of the bullpen for the Wildcats earlier in the season, but he had a shaky start to Wednesday’s game and the Wildcats could not recover.

The Aggies scored three runs off of Long in the first inning, and while Arizona got a run back in the bottom of the inning, the game was already spiraling out of control for him.

“(NMSU) swung the bats really well, and we helped — our pitching was horrendous tonight,” Lopez said.

Long was pulled after just 1.2 innings, allowing five runs on six hits in his brief start.

The relievers didn’t fare much better.

The Aggies added three more runs off of Nick Cunningham and Vincent Littleman, extending the lead to 8-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning.

“From a pitching standpoint, (we were) dancing around the zone too much … We need to attack hitters and get ahead,” reliever Tyler Crawford said.

The Wildcats appeared to be making a push back into the game after the bats came alive in a five-run fifth inning.

Junior Seth Mejias-Brean first hit a two-run RBI single, and then pinch hitter Bobby Brown cleared the bases a batter later to close the gap to 8-6.

However, the close score was short-lived as the Wildcat relievers continued to struggle.

“We just didn’t play very good baseball,” Seth Mejias-Brean said.

Sophomore Konner Wade came in for relief as the Wildcats looked to get back into the game, but Wade, who is scheuled to start on Saturday, was off target from the start.

Wade gave up four earned runs in just one inning of work, walking three batters and hitting two in the process, and allowed New Mexico State’s lead to expand to 12-6.

“(Wade) had a very unexplainable day,” Lopez said.

Crawford came in to relieve Wade, and he finally gave Arizona some stability from the mound in 3.2 innings pitched and one earned run given up, but the game was already out of reach.

Thanks to two errors in the seventh inning, the Wildcats did manage to score a run and load the bases. But Arizona could only get one in with the bases loaded off a sacrifice fly by shortstop Alex Mejia, and the rally was short-lived.

This was the first time the Wildcats have been swept this season, and Lopez attributes it to a lack of consistency from all facets of the team.

Lopez said the team couldn’t get hits and played poor defense in its 7-4 loss Tuesday. And last night the pitching staff was horrendous, he said.

In its compact schedule, Arizona will have little time to dwell on the loss — it travels to Corvallis, Ore., to play No. 19 Oregon State Friday.

“We never want to lose a series, especially to a team like that,” Crawford said. “We have got to bounce back and get everything going for Pac-12 play.”

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