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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Game blog: Arizona baseball takes on FSU, one win from CWS championship series

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Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Baseball vs UCLA

The Wildcats could not have planned it any better. One win away from the College World Series, Arizona started fast and strong, scoring six runs in the first and four in the fourth to crush Florida State 10-3 in their World Series matchup.

In the first frame, it was Joey Rickard and Johnny Field leading off the inning with singles. Field reached base on a throwing error by the pitcher, freshman Brandon Leibrandt, who was attempting to throw out Rickard at second.

Two batters later, the bases were loaded with none out, and an Alex Mejia RBI single started the scoring parade for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats loaded the bases again with one out, and a Joe Maggi RBI single, accompanied by two errors on Florida State left fielder Jose Brizuela, one throwing and one fielding, scored another run, extending the Arizona lead to 4-0.

After the Maggi play, Leibrandt’s day was done. He only lasted 1/3 innings, game up three hits and six runs, two of which were earned. In his 31 total pitches, Leibrandt threw just 15 strikes.

Arizona ace Kurt Heyer on the other hand was brilliant, as through three innings, he had only tossed 40 pitches, 28 of which were strikes. He forced six fly outs and two groundouts and did not allow a Seminole to reach third base.

In the fourth, the Wildcats’ bats continued to stay hot, as both Robert Refsnyder and Bobby Brown put balls in stands. Brown’s home run also brought in Seth Mejias-Brean, extending the Wildcat lead to 9-1.

A Rickard RBI single put the Wildcats on top 10-1 in the fourth, scoring defensive substitution Brandon Dixon, who entered the game for Maggi in the fourth. Through four innings, Florida State used five pitchers, three of which pitched in the fourth inning.

The sixth inning was the first time Arizona did not reach base at all, as Florida State reliever Brian Busch got Trent Gilbert, Rickard and Field to ground or fly out.

In the seventh, Heyer threw his 100th pitch, and had thrown 63 for strikes at the time. He finished with 7 1/3 innings pitched, giving up nine hits and two runs in addition to three walks and three strikeouts. Heyer, who finally showed signs of slowing down, loaded the bases and allowed a Jace Boyd sacrifice fly to score the left fielder Brizuela in the seventh inning.

In the eighth inning, the Wildcats lone problem area in the game, their baserunning reared its head again. For the third time with two outs, Arizona loaded the bases and was unable to score. It was the fifth time in the game the bases were loaded for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats will now face the winner of tonight’s Arkansas vs. South Carolina game in the College World Series final. The last time Arizona reached the final series, in 1986, they were crowned national champions.

***

Ace Kurt Heyer exited the game in the seventh after throwing over 120 pitches in 7 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and two earned runs.

Heyer exited the game after giving up the second Florida State run, coming on a Jace Boyd sac fly in the seventh, scoring Jose Brizuela from third.

Arizona continues to leave men on base, as the count is up to 15 now, but still hold on to a 10-2 lead at the end of eight innings.

It was more of the same in the eighth for Florida State, who failed to reach base in the eighth, as their season began to fade away. The Seminoles also used two more pitchers, bringing them to eight pitching changes in the game so far, tying a College World Series record held by North Carolina and Arkansas for the most in a nine inning game.

Arizona leads 10-2 in the ninth inning.

***

The fifth and sixth innings saw more of the same from the Wildcats, who only let up two hits and no runs on defense.

Offensively, Arizona has made some mistakes in the game, leaving eight men on base, although they’ve batted around twice in one inning two separate occasions in the game. The Wildcats have loaded the bases four times, twice with two outs, and both times have failed to bring a runner across the plate.

Florida State, who still trails 10-1 in the game, has made six pitching changes in six innings.

***

Through four, Arizona is coasting behind the pitching of Heyer, in addition to the six run explosion in the first inning. Heyer has allowed just five hits in the game, all singles, and has allowed just one basrunner to get to third, on a Justin Gonzalez RBI double in the fourth.

Through three innings, Heyer tossed 40 pitches, 28 of which were strikes. He gave up four hits with no walks and six flyouts.

Florida State relief man Luke Weaver allowed the UA to load the bases for the third time in the game, but could not score with two outs, thanks to a Joe Maggi pop out.

A Robert Refsnyder solo home run extended the Wildcat lead back to six runs, at 7-1 in the bottom of the fourth with one out. Two batters later, Bobby Brown teed off, sending a ball into the Florida State bullpen, extending the lead to 9-1.

Through four innings, the Seminoles have used five pitchers and given up 10 runs on 10 hits, two of which were home runs, just Arizona’s third and fourth of the postseason.

Arizona leads the Seminoles 10-1 in the bottom of the fourth.

***

The WIldcats baseball team could not have planned a better start for their World Series matchup with Florida State. In the first, Arizona scored six runs on four hits, and forced Florida State freshman starter to exit the game following just a third of an inning.

Arizona’s defense started the game off, as Kurt Heyer was able to force all three of the Seminoles’ batters in the top of the first out.

The Wildcats took advantage of many Florida State mistakes in the first, specifically three errors that scored two of their six runs. The first error, a throwing error by the pitcher on a fielder’s choice would have almost certainly been a double play, but Leibrandt launched it over the second baseman’s head into center field, allowing leadoff man Joey Rickard, who would eventually score, to second and Johnny Field to first.

The Wildcats loaded the bases twice in the first inning, first with none out on a Robert Refsnyder walk, and then again with one out after Seth Mejias-Brean’s sac fly made the score 2-0 Wildcats. Trent Gilbert and Joe Maggi also got RBI singles in the inning, ending Leibrandt’s stay on he mound.

6-0 Arizona bottom of the second

***

Arizona’s (45-17) lineup against Florida State:

1. CF Joey RIckard
2. LF Johnny Field
3. SS Alex Mejia
4. RF Robert Refsnyder
5. 3B Seth Mejias-Brean
6. DH Bobby Brown
7. 1B Joseph Maggi
8. C Riley Moore
9. 2B Trent Gilbert

P: Kurt Heyer

As always, chances are Brandon Dixon, a defensive sub, will take over for Maggi sometime after the fifth inning of play.

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