Arizona lost two games on the week, but won the other three games and didn’t drop a series. The Wildcats (10-3) split with Utah Valley and took two of three from the San Francisco Dons. Here’s a look at what happened over the weekend and a look ahead for the Arizona baseball team:
Tuesday- Utah Valley 3, Arizona 1: Arizona’s bats never got going in the opener of the two-game series. For the second straight Tuesday, the Wildcats dropped a close game. Utah Valley won only the second game against Arizona in their history with two unearned runs in the top of the second inning.
Arizona got a run back in the fourth, already trailing 3-0. A Trent Gilbert single that moved Brandon Dixon to third base drove Johnny Field home. The Wildcats had a run taken off the board on the next play when Kevin Newman lined out to center.
Dixon scored after tagging up, but was called out for leaving early on an appeal that ended the inning. The Wildcats were just 2-11 with runners in scoring position on the night.
Tyler Crawford (1-1) got the start for Arizona, but was chased after just two and a third innings. Nick Cunningham pitched a strong outing, going five and two-thirds innings just a week after suffering a concussion. He gave up just three hits and walked two while striking out five and holding the Wolverines scoreless.
Wednesday- Arizona 14, Utah Valley 5: Arizona took a few innings to recover from the loss the previous night, but the bats started heating up in the warm Tucson sun. Dixon picked up three RBI on three hits and scored three runs as the Wildcats routed the Wolverines. The third baseman had a perfect day at the plate, picking up a walk as well.
Freshman Cody Moffett (1-0) got his first career start and his first career win in the same outing. The lefty gave his team 5.1 quality innings, giving up just two earned runs on four hits. Moffett was helped out by three-run innings in the third and eighth, as well as a six-run fifth.
Friday- Arizona 6, San Francisco 4: The Wildcats struck early and had a two-run lead before the Dons knew what hit them. However, Konner Wade’s (2-0) fantastic pitching over the season experienced its first rough patch. The junior gave up four runs by the end of the fourth inning and left his team behind by a run.
Arizona got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth and that was good enough to secure the victory. Wade was able to find himself and settle down after the fourth.
It was just enough to go through seven innings and pick up the win. Troupe was once again given the ball to close the game. This time, he was brought on in the eighth, inducing an easy ground ball to retire the side and then struck out a Don in the ninth for his fourth save of the season.
Saturday- Arizona 5, San Francisco 2: James Farris (3-0) continued his dominance on the mound with what seemed like an easy victory over San Francisco. He threw 120 pitches across eight innings in the win, giving up two runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out six batters.
The Wildcats got their offensive fill in the first inning of the day. A lead-off walk to Zach Gibbons was immediately taken advantage of by Riley Moore, who doubled in the next at bat to bring him home.
A few batters later, Gilbert picked up more RBI with a two-run triple. He scored in the next at-bat when Newman singled to the left side of the field. After that, Arizona never looked back.
Sunday- San Francisco 9, Arizona 2: The bid for the sweep was swiftly denied. San Francisco chased Wildcat starter Stephen Manthei (1-1) from the game without allowing him to even register an out. The junior walked the first two batters before giving up a single and walking a third batter. Moffett was brought in immediately and given a chance to slow things down. He did well, walking just a single batter in four innings of work.
The game may have been in reach for the Wildcats, but San Francisco added a run in the sixth, two in the seventh, and four in the ninth to pull away. Andy Lopez went deep into his bullpen in the latter parts of the game, using a season-high nine pitchers in the game.
Brandon Dixon launched a two-run home run down the left field line on Wednesday afternoon. It was a two-run shot that was instrumental in the Wildcats’ victory over the Wolverines. It was his first of the year and second of his career. It was just a few days after Field smacked his first round tripper of the season.
Homers don’t come easy in the Wildcats’ home ballpark. The dimensions of Hi-Corbett are set for professional baseball. Down the line in left the wall is 366 feet from home plate. Right field is 349 with a 392 mark in dead center. Field and Dixon are responsible for the only two balls have left the yard in Tucson for the Wildcats.
With several new faces entering the lineup this season, Head Coach Andy Lopez has been working the kinks out over the first few weeks of the year.
To open the year, the batting order had true freshman Scott Kingery at the top of the order. In the past few games, he has given way to another true freshman, Zach Gibbons. While they can both play alongside each other at times, it is likely that they will be going back and forth with each other throughout the year for playing time.
Another few minor changes that have been made have also involved freshmen. Kevin Newman started opening day sitting in the 9-hole, but has since moved up the ranks. He is currently holding the sixth spot in the order.
Cody Ramer, yet another first year Wildcat, has gotten himself noticed in the early parts of the season. He has seen increased playing time after acting as just a pinch hitter in opening weekend.
Mathew Troupe had just six saves in all of his rookie campaign with with the Wildcats. Now, to start off his sophomore year, the closer has already accumulated five saves for his team. The number ranks sixth in the country, with the other five pitchers each having just one more save. That total is also tied for first in the conference.
He has arguably been one of the best pitchers on the staff, pitching in six games and keeping a spotless ERA. Troupe has struck out thirteen of the 27 batters he faced this season.
Texas Tech: The Wildcats will host the Red Raiders (7-5) for the first time since 1993. Both teams have been hot with the bats on the season, as Arizona has scored 110 runs on the year with Texas Tech scoring 77. That could be bad news for Tyler Crawford and Johnny Drozd, who are slated to pitch against each other in opener Tuesday night.
Columbia: The Lions (0-4) didn’t start their season until March first, but struggled out of the gates. Lamar swept Columbia, scoring a total of 27 runs in the process. The Lions plated eleven runs of their own, but may struggle against superior pitching.
Wade and Farris will be the Friday and Saturday starters, likely getting David Speer and Joey Gandolfo on the Columbia end. The third pitcher could be Manthei, but his outing against San Francisco could change that.