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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Freshman lifts Arizona baseball to victory in first career start

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Freshman pitcher Lucas Long led the No. 7 Arizona baseball team to a comfortable 6-0 win against UC Davis on Tuesday night in his first career start.

Although Long gave an impressive performance in the shutout victory, he said it wasn’t quite as easy of a task as it seemed.

“I was pretty anxious going into it,” Long said. “I didn’t get a great night sleep, but I got comfortable pretty quickly and it turned out pretty well.”

Long pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball for Arizona, helping the team win the first of two games against UC Davis. Long is now 2-0 on the season after finishing his first career start with seven strikeouts while scattering six hits.

“Long was very good,” said head coach Andy Lopez. “He’s obviously making a name for himself and is going to push for the third spot in the rotation if he keeps pitching like that.”

The Wildcats’ offense didn’t make the first few innings any easier on the freshman as Arizona couldn’t get anything going with the bats. But after sophomore Johnny Field scored on a two-out double by freshman Trent Gilbert, the Wildcats came alive.

Freshman Joseph Maggi hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning, then the Wildcats put up three more runs in the sixth to put things out of reach.

“We pitched well, played very good defense, and had good timely hitting,” Lopez said. “It’s a good win — it’s still early in the season but it’s a good win.”

Junior Stephen Manthei replaced Long in the seventh and preserved the shutout with 2.1 innings of hitless relief.

Manthei had a 12.00 ERA coming into the game, but he was able to rebound from his past few performances and finish off Arizona’s second shutout of the season.

“Manthei did a great job tonight,” Long said. “He put his foot down, struck out the guys he needed to, and got the outs he needed.”

Long wasn’t the only impressive freshman on the night. Gilbert went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Maggi drove in his first career RBI. Since Maggi replaced junior Bobby Brown in the lineup, he has hit .444 including a 2-for-3 effort Tuesday night.

“It’s that old axiom — you find the place for a bat,” Lopez said. “And he’s doing a good job … at the plate and he’s probably going to put himself in the lineup here on a regular basis.”

Junior Vincent Littleman will make his first start of the season today at 1 p.m. as the Wildcats complete their two-game series with UC Davis.

Heyer named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week

Junior Kurt Heyer was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after his complete game last Friday against Harvard. Heyer tied his career high with 14 strikeouts in the Wildcats 7-1 victory while giving up just one earned run on six hits and no walks.

“I think he deserves it, he obviously did a great job,” Lopez said.

This is Heyer’s first career Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honor, adding to the three Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors he’s amassed throughout his Wildcat career.

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