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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Club baseball hopes third time’s the charm

Arizona Club Baseball
Arizona Club Baseball

Arizona club baseball won the Southern Pacific East Conference championship for the third straight year over the weekend by sweeping ASU in Tempe in a three-game series.

The team will play University of California, Santa Barbara, on Friday at 4:00 p.m. with the team’s ace Brandon Thielk taking the mound in the first round of the Southern Pacific regional tournament.

“”We’re pretty excited,”” said club president and pitcher Chris Tonner of advancing to the regional tournament. “”All year we knew (the season) was going to come down to (ASU).””

Going into the ASU series, Arizona needed two wins in order to win the conference. Catcher Rittner Hufford was confident that if the team played to its ability “”with some intensity””, then it would get the two games it needed. Instead, Arizona got three.

In the first game, the team scored seven runs in the second inning after leaving three runners stranded in the first. Thielk pitched the whole game to get an 11-4 win.

“”We came out swinging,”” Tonner said. “”We wanted to get ahead of them because we knew we had the pitching.””

After Game 1, the team’s confidence was high, and it showed in the first inning of the second game as Arizona jumped to a quick 3-0 lead off a triple by designated hitter Brock Scigliano. Arizona would tally three more runs and snare a 6-0 victory and ultimately went on to secure a 12-5 win in Game 3.

Arizona has advanced to nationals the past two years by winning the SP regional tournament. This year, it will be playing as the No. 3 seed, a seeding that Tonner described as a “”slap to the face.””

“”We should be the No. 1 seed,”” said Tonner of his team, which is currently ranked No. 2 nationally in the latest National Club Baseball Association top-20 poll. “”A lot of (players) aren’t happy right now.””

Tonner cited Arizona’s No. 3 seed as a failure by the NCBA to judge conferences based on records and not competition.

“”(The NCBA is) saying all conferences are equal when they’re really not,”” he said. “”We have the best conference, and they need to change (the way they seed).””

Regardless of seeding, the team and outfielder Ryan Soderquist are confident that it will advance and compete for a national championship.

“”We’re a lot younger team this year, but I think we’ve got more talent,”” Soderquist said.

“”We know we have a team that can win it all,”” Tonner added. “”We come to play in big games.””

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