TUCSON, Ariz.- Junior right-hander John Meloan came just four outs from tossing the seventh no-hitter in school history in Arizona’s 9-0 win over New Mexico at Kindall Field on Friday. The victory was the third on opening day in four seasons under head coach Andy Lopez and extended UA’s winning streak over the Lobos to 20-straight games.
Meloan struck out a career-high 12 batters in the game, issued three walks and missed out on the no-no on an 0-1 single to UNM’s Ryan Barba with two outs in the eighth inning. Reliever Sean Jarrett came on and worked a perfect final inning and a third to preserve Arizona’s first combined one-hitter since 1980.
Striking out the first two hitters he faced, Meloan dominated the game from the start with a fastball in the low 90’s and a sharp breaking ball. Before Barba’s single in the eighth, Meloan retired 23 of the first 26 batters he faced with walks in the first, fourth and seventh innings the only blemishes.
The Wildcat defense, including an outstanding running catch by Trevor Crowe in left field to end the sixth inning, played flawlessly to help keep Meloan on track.
“John put together a pretty nice game,” Lopez said. “To tell the truth, I was kind of mad at him. I had him on an 80-pitch limit, but he pitched so darn well he forced me to leave him out there. I was pleased with the way our defense played and the early runs the offense put up in support of him.”
For the record, Meloan (1-0) finished his day with 100 pitches on the dot. The effort extended his winning streak to 11 straight dating back to his freshman season in 2003.
New Mexico starter Jason Fernandez (0-1) was charged with the loss after giving up five runs on nine hits in five innings of work.
Overshadowed by the outstanding pitching performance were the nine runs on 13 hits that the UA offense pounded out off of four different Lobo pitchers. Arizona scored two runs in the first, one in the third, two in the fourth and four in the eighth to win going away.
Individually, senior Jeff Van Houten paced the Wildcats offense with a 3 for 3-day at the plate. He finished with a pair of runs scored and a RBI in the contest. Crowe led all players with three runs scored while going 2 for 4 to extend his carry-over hitting streak to nine straight games. He also added a RBI and two stolen bases to prolong his streak to 28 straight successful steals dating back to last season.
The Wildcats and Lobos will meet up for game two of the three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. Fans that attend the Arizona-Stanford men’s basketball at 11 a.m. can redeem their basketball ticket stub for free admission to the baseball game at the Kindall Field Ticket Office.
Ron Sismondo, Jeffery Johnson and Walt Kellner were the last Wildcat pitchers to team up for a one-hitter. The trio limited Colorado to just one single in a 2-0 win on March 25, 1980 ... John Meloan’s effort on Friday lifted his career record at UA to 15-1 all-time. Meloan’s lone career loss came in relief on May 4, 2003 in a 12-7 defeat to California. He has never lost a game as a starting pitcher ... Meloan’s 12 strikeouts eclipsed his former game-high of 10 set against UT Pan Am on April 16, 2004 ... Arizona’s shutout win over the Lobos marked the first time UA has held a team scoreless in a contest since Sean Rierson tossed a complete-game, two-hitter at UC Irvine on Feb 15, 2003. Arizona defeated the Anteaters 6-0 ... Head coach Andy Lopez missed the first inning and half of Friday’s game to view an NCAA required DVD on rule changes for the 2005 season.