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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Baseball slugs way to weekend split

    JAKE LACEY

Baseball vs Cal State Fullerton. Sunday.
    Jake Lacey
    JAKE LACEY Baseball vs Cal State Fullerton. Sunday.

    After a weekend of struggles against a team it had defeated 23 straight times, the Arizona baseball team’s offense finally came to life yesterday afternoon in a marathon game lasting over four hours.

    With season highs in runs in a game (19) as well as in an inning (eight), hits (19) and walks (nine), the Wildcats salvaged what was otherwise a disappointing series with a 19-16 win over New Mexico after falling 7-3 Saturday and 6-5 Friday. Save for freshman center fielder T.J. Steele, every Wildcat with a plate appearance had a hit in the game.

    Still, it was a win that blew away Arizona head coach Andy Lopez.

    “”I got more questions than answers, to be honest with you – much more,”” Lopez said. “”Losing is not a pleasant experience, playing is what I want. I don’t care who the opponent is, I just want to see us play well.

    “”The goal is to play the game solidly, and we did not play the game solidly today.””

    Trailing 3-0 and 5-2 early in the game, the Wildcats battled back with eight runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 10-5 lead, one they would never relinquish.

    After junior shortstop Jason Donald was hit by a pitch in that inning, sophomore designated hitter Eric Berger singled home senior outfielder Derek Decater, who was on with his first of his team record four walks on the day, cutting the Lobos’ lead to 5-3.

    The Wildcats added two more runs on a single and an error, and then junior left fielder Bill Rhinehart singled back up the middle, scoring junior catcher Konrad Schmidt, to give Arizona its first lead of the game at 6-5.

    “”We got a lot of cheap hits, a lot of walks,”” freshman right fielder Jon Gaston said. “”It’d be nice to have 19 runs when they have two or three, and it’d be nice to have hard hits … a lot of them were gimme runs.””

    Freshman pitcher Ryan Perry (1-0) got the win after allowing just two runs in 2 2/3 innings. Freshman pitcher Mike Colla gave up four runs in an inning, while fellow freshman pitcher Preston Guilmet allowed three runs in 1 1/3 innings.

    “”Today was an excellent example of sloppy baseball,”” senior second baseman Brad Boyer said. “”There’s no excuse for that – we’ve been together since the fall.

    “”I think we need to erase (the series) from our minds, just go out there this entire week of practice and really have that focus and really compete out there and work on our mental errors.””

    When it was all said and done, 14 Wildcats came to the plate in the inning that saw just four hits as well as two Lobo errors.

    The Lobos hadn’t defeated Arizona since 1997 before Friday’s win and subsequently went for seconds on Saturday.

    On Friday the team committed four errors and junior pitcher Mark Melancon (1-1) allowed

    I was very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very disappointed with the way we played this weekend.
    – Andy Lopez, Arizona head coach

    five earned runs in five innings to take the loss in his first start of the season, while Berger (1-2), also a pitcher, allowed just two earned runs in seven innings Saturday to take the loss.

    “”We took a couple steps backwards (this weekend),”” Lopez said. “”We played the game pretty solid last week at Riverside, I was very pleased with the way we played there.””

    His sentiments surrounding this team’s series against New Mexico didn’t echo those of last week’s series win over the Highlanders.

    “”I was very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very disappointed with the way we played this weekend,”” Lopez added.

    “”This weekend was … I hope this is as poor as we can play. I don’t know if I can stand another weekend of baseball like this.””

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