April 14, 2009
Final Box Score | Arizona Overall Stats
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona baseball team cruised to a 9-3 victory over New Mexico behind a highly efficient starting debut by Joe Allison and some sparkling defensive plays by shortstop Bryce Ortega on Tuesday evening at Jerry Kindall Field.
Allison made his first career start and turned in six strong innings while allowing only three runs against one of the nation’s top offensive teams. The lanky right hander struck out only two Lobos, but did not allow a single walk and scattered six hits to earn his second victory – first as a starter – of the season.
The Wildcats scored runs in the first four innings, including two in the second inning, to stake a 5-1 lead.
Freshman designated hitter Shaun Cooper, who went 3-for-3 in the game, led off the second inning with a single through the left side. Cooper came in to score later in the inning despite the fact the Wildcats did not tally another hit in the frame.
New Mexico starter Bobby Moore was lifted in the inning after lasting only 1 2/3 innings. He was replaced by Ryan Escarcega, and the duo combined to walk one batter and hit four others in the inning, falling behind 4-1.
A redshirt sophomore, Allison received some spectacular defensive support from Ortega at shortstop, including two highlight reel plays in the fifth inning that were apart of his six assists of the game.
With one out and nobody on base, UNM catcher Adam Courcha grounded a ball deep into the hole on the left side. Ortega ranged to his right, fielded the ball on the move and leaped into the air while slinging a sidearm throw across the diamond in time to record the out.
Two batters later, Ortega again ranged to his right, this time diving to stop a grounder off the bat of Tucsonan Mike Brownstein. After cleanly fielding the ball, Ortega popped up and fired a strike to first base in time to beat Brownstein.
After pushing its lead to 5-1 in the fourth, Arizona saw its lead cut to only a pair of runs after the Lobos chipped away with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Cooper gave the Wildcats some more breathing room with a solo home run to left field in the seventh.
Arizona then turned the game over to closer Jason Stoffel in the eighth inning, who closed the door on the Lobos.
Stoffel pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on one hit to earn his seventh save of the season.
For good measure, Arizona added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to push the score to its final, 9-3.
The two teams will conclude the mid-week series on Wednesday at 3 p.m.