EDINBURG, Texas ?- Senior Jeff Van Houten hit a three-run homer to highlight a four-run fifth inning and junior Kevin Guyette tied a career-high with nine strikeouts, as the No. 10-ranked Arizona baseball team overcame some shaky early base running and miscues defensively in a series-clinching 8-2 win over UT-Pan American at Edinburg Stadium on Saturday.
The victory improved the Wildcats to a perfect 9-0 on the year, their best start since going 13-0 to start the 1999 season. UTPA fell to 2-9 with the loss.
Aided by the two UA fielding errors, UTPA scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth to break a scoreless tie and take a 2-0 lead.
Junior Trevor Crowe pulled the Wildcats within one at 2-1 in the top of the fifth on a run-scoring ground out, before Van Houten handed Arizona the lead with his 23rd career homer over the 15-foot high fence in left center for three RBI and a 4-1 Wildcat advantage.
On the mound, right-hander Guyette (2-0) worked around three Arizona errors to keep the UTPA bats in check before the Wildcat offense could take over. Tossing a season-high seven innings innings, Guyette struck out six hitters in the first three innings alone in tying his career-high of nine punch outs set earlier this season against New Mexico. He gave up just two unearned run on three hits to hand him his second victory of the season.
UTPA’s Chad Linder (0-2) was charged with the loss after giving up four runs on four hits, including Van Houten’s homer, in 4 1/3 innings.
The Wildcats and Broncs will meet up for the three-game series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. CST
Both Trevor Crowe and Jeff Van Houten extended their hitting streaks to 17 and 16 straight games, respectively in the win ... Junior Jordan Brown’s seventh inning double extended his hitting streak to nine straight games ... Classmate Nick Hundley saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0 for 4 day at the plate on Saturday ... Arizona, which finished with 10 hits on Saturday, has recorded double digit hits in all nine games it has played this season.