Jan. 25, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona baseball team defeated New Mexico, 6-2, in its season opener at Sancet Field, Friday afternoon. The victory handed new Arizona skipper Andy Lopez the first win of his career in the Cardinal and Navy and extended the Wildcats' winning streak to 15 straight over the Lobos.
Sophomore Sean Rierson continued his mastery over the UNM, scattering eight hits over eight innings, while striking out four and walking none. He gave up both runs, but never found himself in much trouble. The right-hander picked up where he left off in 2001 with impressive control around the plate. Throwing a total of 96 pitches on the afternoon, Rierson hit the strike zone with 69 of them. He held the Lobos scoreless over eight innings last season and has yet to walk a New Mexico hitter in 16 innings pitched.
Offensively the Wildcats rallied from an early 1-0 deficit with a run in the home half of the first, two in the second and another lone run in the third. Led by a 2-for-3 effort by senior Chris Cunningham, Arizona rapped out eight hits on the afternoon off of New Mexico starter James Vermilyea.
Brian Anderson, who walked with two outs in the bottom of the first, evened the score at 1-1 when he came around on Cunningham's flair double into left field. Moises Duran and Justyn St. Clair gave the Wildcats the lead for good in the second on an errant throw by Vermilyea and a RBI sacrifice bunt by Clayton Bried.
Notes: The victory was the 71st season opening win in school history and the ninth straight for the Wildcats ... Coach Lopez became the 10th head coach in school history to win his first game as the Arizona skipper ... Dating back to last season, Arizona has now won four straight games ... In his last four starts Sean Rierson is 4-0, with 12 K's, two walks and a 2.05 ERA ... Arizona lefty Joe Little will face UNM's Aaron Smith in the second game of the three game set on Saturday at 3 p.m.