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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball opens season with 7-3 win over Eastern Michigan

Arizona+pitcher+Austin+Schnabel+%2833%29+whips+the+ball+towards+home+plate+during+Arizonas+opening+night+7-3+win+against+Eastern+Michigan+at+Hi-Corbett+Field+on+Friday.
Rebecca Noble

Arizona pitcher Austin Schnabel (33) whips the ball towards home plate during Arizona’s opening night 7-3 win against Eastern Michigan at Hi-Corbett Field on Friday.

Arizona baseball claimed its first game of the season on Friday night with a 7-3 victory over Eastern Michigan University at Hi Corbett Field.

Arizona starting pitcher Austin Schnabel delivered what Arizona needed in his first career start. He had eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings and 99 pitches on the night, and got out of a bases-loaded situation late in the top of the second inning.

“I’ve never really been a big strikeout pitcher, especially here,” Schnabel said. “But being able to get that with different pitches I’ve never really felt confident with was big for me.”

Schnabel joined five other players who didn’t start last year that contributed in Arizona’s victory. Freshman J.J. Matijevic started first base and went 1-2 on the night, scoring off a single by redshirt freshman Jared Oliva in the second inning.

“I thought J.J. [Matijevic] was really good,” Arizona coach Andy Lopez said. “He did what we thought he was supposed to do. He had a big at bat in a big inning.”

Arizona veterans Scott Kingery, Tyler Krause and Riley Moore each recorded triples on the night. Kingery’s came in the second to bring in Oliva and Justin Behnke and Krause and Moore’s were back-to-back in the eighth.

“Everyone getting base hits really set the tone for that inning,” Kingery said. “Having two guys on in front of me and squaring one up, it felt good to get one going.”

Kingery was one of two Arizona players to steal home off wild throws from Eastern Michigan. He took advantage of a wild pitch following his triple, and Moore capitalized after EMU catcher Toni DiLeo overshot second baseman John Rubino in the eighth.

The team’s home opener boasted 3,280 fans, which Kingery said helped make Schnabel’s appearance on the mound that much easier.

“When our fans come out and support us, that’s big,” he said. “Just to have that support behind us really gets us going.”

Eastern Michigan and Arizona are back in action Saturday at 4 p.m. for game two of the three-game series.

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