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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Mills, baseball make it two in a row vs. Oregon State”

    It’d been nearly a year since the Oregon State baseball team had lost a series.

    With Saturday night’s 8-2 win, Arizona ensured just that, downing the No. 4 Beavers for the second-straight night at Sancet Stadium in front of 2,132 fans.

    “”It’s a big win – every win’s a big win, every game’s a big game – and we’re playing really well right now,”” said right fielder Jon Gaston, who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored. “”People seem to underestimate us because of what happened last year. We have to prove everyone wrong this year.””

    The Wildcats (23-6, 2-0 Pacific 10 Conference) are just four wins shy of matching their win total from 2006, when they went 27-28, and their current 10-game winning streak is Arizona’s longest since 1999 when it opened 13-0.

    Oregon State (23-4, 0-2) lost consecutive games for the first time since May 12-13 of last season at ASU. That weekend was also the last time the Beavers dropped a series.

    From the get-go, Wildcat starter Brad Mills kept the Beavers off balance – and he got started quick, striking out five through the first three innings.

    “”Brad Mills set the tone for us, did a real good job of pitching,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez.

    Added shortstop Robert Abel of the outing: “”Where I come from, that doesn’t happen very much.””

    Mills would go 6 2/3 innings before righty Jason Stoffel took over in the seventh with the bases loaded and a five-run lead. Stoffel walked the first batter he faced, forcing in a run to make it 6-2 Arizona, but then struck out OSU third baseman Drew George to end the threat.

    The run was charged to Mills (6-2), who finished with eight strikeouts against four walks in picking up the win.

    The outing was a stark contrast to last year against the Beavers, when the lefty gave up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in just 4 1/3 innings of work.

    “”Whatever happened last year, maybe they don’t respect me as much, but I just wanted to come out and hang some zeroes early and kind of just get it rolling,”” said Mills, who threw 126 pitches.

    It also provided some redemption from his only other start this season against a top-10 opponent, Feb. 17 at then-No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, when Mills couldn’t make it out of the third inning.

    “”Fullerton’s still on my mind sometimes,”” Mills said. “”My goal’s not to get pulled in the fourth, hanging five or six runs. I want to get deep in the game and give my team a chance to win. That’s ultimately the goal.””

    But Lopez didn’t see it as redemption.

    “”I just look at it like he’s trying to get better every time he goes out and pitches,”” Lopez said. “”So far he’s doing a pretty good job of doing that. He is getting better every time he goes out.””

    Mills was helped by a balanced offense that saw five different Wildcats drive in runs, including Abel and his three RBIs.

    “”It was definitely satisfying, finally coming up with two outs and two runners on and put one in the gap,”” Abel said.

    “”Earlier in the year, I wasn’t able to get those runners in.””

    But as good as Arizona played Saturday night, Gaston felt the Wildcats left runs on the table.

    “”We should have blown them out,”” he said. “”A couple of base-running miscues and – it should have been a lot bigger blowout.””

    OSU starter Joe Paterson (5-2) went just 4 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs on six hits in the loss.

    Lefty David Coulon (2-1) will try to complete the sweep for Arizona Sunday against Oregon State’s Daniel Turpen (6-0).

    “”When you have an opportunity to sweep a team in the Pac(-10), you really need to take it,”” Mills said, “”because it doesn’t – I’ve been around for four years, and it doesn’t happen much.””

    Extra innings
    Designated hitter Bill Rhinehart tied a school record when he was hit by pitches three times in the game. … An estimated 300 students attended the game in the Hot Corner, its strongest showing of the year. … Closer Daniel Schlereth remained unavailable after straining an oblique muscle in his last outing. Said Lopez: “”With Schlereth out right now, we really kind of are having to ask a lot of our starters, so we’re having to run a couple of our guys a little longer than we normally would.”” … Freshman Jason Stoffel picked up his first career save in Schlereth’s absence.

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