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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Baseball blows lead, sweep in Las Vegas”

    What a difference a day can make. Or an inning, for that matter.

    Up 6-3 over UNLV in the bottom of the fifth inning last night, the Arizona baseball team looked to be leaving the city that never sleeps with its third sweep of the season.

    Instead, things began to unravel as UNLV (8-8) scored the game’s final five runs en route to an 8-6 win.

    “”We had a real good first inning, and if we’d have stopped after the first inning, it would have been a great weekend,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”But … we didn’t really play good baseball at all (yesterday). Not at all.””

    The Wildcats (11-3) took the first two games of the series behind stellar pitching, including what Lopez termed an “”outstanding”” outing from lefty Brad Mills on Saturday.

    “”We had a real good first inning and if we’d have stopped after the first inning, it would have been a great weekend. But … we didn’t really play good baseball at all (yesterday). Not at all.””
    – Andy Lopez,
    UA head coach

    But yesterday, things fell apart defensively, when Arizona gave starter David Coulon no help while committing three errors.

    “”I mean, there was only three errors official-scoring wise, but on my chart, I counted a total of six,”” Lopez said. “”(Coulon) wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t his fault. That’s for darn sure.””

    The lefty gave up five runs, three earned, over 5 1/3 innings, striking out five, but struggled to find the strike zone, walking six.

    After jumping out to an 3-0 lead in yesterday’s first inning, thanks in part to a two-run homer from designated hitter C.J. Ziegler, his third of the year, UNLV cut it to 3-2 in the bottom of the second on shortstop Jarred Frierson’s two-RBI double.

    The two teams traded runs in the third before Arizona went up 6-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth off a wild pitch and three Rebels errors.

    UNLV notched a run each of the next three innings – including two RBI singles from center fielder Ryan Kowalski – to set the stage for third baseman Braden Walker’s single through the left side that gave the Rebels their first lead of the game, 7-6.

    Kowalski then hit a sacrifice fly to left for his third RBI in four innings and an 8-6 lead.

    Cory Burns (0-1), who gave up the game’s final two runs, shouldered the loss.

    Arizona’s bats, which didn’t have a hit after the fifth inning, did little to ease the bleeding.

    “”I think we are a better hitting club than we’ve proven the last weekends,”” Lopez said. “”To be really candid with you, I thought we had opportunities to go double-digits (in runs) three games in a row. Poor at-bats, poor execution, poor preparation and poor execution again.””

    All nine starters had a hit Saturday as Arizona rolled to a 9-3 win.

    Lefty Brad Mills (3-1) surrendered three runs, two earned, over six innings, rebounding from a rocky start last weekend in a 9-0 loss to then-No. 8 Cal State Fullerton. He walked one and struck out seven.

    “”Mills was very, very good (Saturday),”” Lopez said.

    Friday, Arizona rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the first inning to take its first extra-inning game of the year, 6-5, in 10 innings.

    Shortstop Robert Abel’s one-out sac fly to left scored pinch-runner Kevin Rodland in the top of the 10th to put Arizona up 6-5 . Burns pitched a perfect bottom half of the inning to complete the comeback and notch his first-career save.

    Closer Daniel Schlereth (1-0) took over for right-hander Preston Guilmet with two outs in the seventh and went the next 2 1/3 innings for his first win of the year.

    The lefty gave up just two hits, striking out five against two walks.

    Even with the success earlier in the weekend, yesterday’s loss left a sour taste in Lopez’s mouth.

    “”I think we played pretty good baseball the (first) two nights, and (last night) it was just a combination of everything – not playing very good defense, not really doing much offensively after the first inning,”” Lopez said.

    “”I don’t think we did anything very well (yesterday), quite honestly.””

    Extra bases

    Center fielder T.J. Steele went 0-for-3 yesterday, ending his 21-game hitting streak dating back to last season … Travis Peep started at third base all weekend. Lopez attributed the change from freshman Erik Castro to Castro’s recent struggles at the plate … Second baseman Colt Sedbrook started all three games after missing Arizona’s first 11 because of personal reasons. He went 3-for-11, including 2-for-4 yesterday … Freshman pitcher Jason Stoffel didn’t make the trip due to illness.

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