TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona offense continued its early-season success and right-hander Mike Colla turned in a fine 4 2/3-inning relief appearance as the Wildcats (2-0) defeated Gonzaga (0-2) 10-3 at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on Saturday. The victory marked the 13th-straight year that Arizona has won its season-opening series, including all six played under head coach Andy Lopez.
The Wildcats, who broke the school record for extra base hits in a game on Friday, picked up where they left off yesterday and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a run-scoring fielder’s choice by T.J. Steele and a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Dwight Childs.
The Bulldogs, who were shut out 14-0 and limited to just one hit over nine innings in the season-opener on Friday, put up their first runs of the year after taking advantage of two walks by UA starter Daniel Schlereth for a pair scores in the top of the third to cut the lead to one at 3-2.
GU’s Ryan Wiegand chased Schlereth from the game after only 2 1/3 innings by driving home the Bulldogs’ first run of the season with a one-out single in the frame, and DH Mark Castellitto added another score in the next at bat with a double down the right field line.
Gonzaga appeared set to take their first lead in the series with runners on second and third with only one out in the inning, but Colla struck out Aaron McGuinness looking and got Ben Greenslitt to fly out to left to quash the threat and end the inning with UA’s lead intact.
Colla (1-0) then cruised through the fourth and fifth, retiring the side in order in both frames, and worked around a one-out triple in the sixth and a walk and fielding error in the seventh to secure his first victory at Arizona. The right-hander tied his career-high over the 4 2/3 innings of work, and finished with three strikeouts against just one walk in his first appearance of the year.
The UA offense, which finished with 12 hits on the afternoon, gave Colla a five-run cushion by answering Gonzaga’s two-run third with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the frame to extend the advantage to 7-2.
DH C.J. Ziegler drove in one run with his fourth double of the series, T.J. Steele and Bill Rhinehart added to the UA tally with RBI-base hits and Kevin Rodland rounded out the scoring in the frame with a run-scoring sac bunt.
The Bulldogs plated a run off of true freshman Jason Stoffel in the top of the eighth to pull within four, but the Wildcats answered again with three runs on two hits and a GU error in the bottom of the inning to put the game away.
Individually, Steele extended his carry-over hit streak from last season to 10-straight games by going 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Ziegler scored three runs on Saturday to push his two-game season total to seven. Freshman Erik Castro led all Wildcats with three hits, while Rhinehart (2-for-4, RBI, R), Robert Abel (2-for-5, RBI, 2 R) and Childs (2-for-4, 2 RBI, R) all chipped in with two hits apiece.
GU’s Chris Highmark was charged with the loss after allowing seven runs, five earned, on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three on the afternoon.
Arizona and Gonzaga will close out the three-game series on Sunday at 12 p.m. UA senior left-hander Brad Mills is the scheduled starter for the Cats.
Arizona extended its carryover win streak from last season to seven straight with the W on Saturday ... Sophomore Brad Glenn saw his six-game hitting streak carried over from last year come to an end after going 0-for-4 on Saturday ... UA and GU combined to leave 20 runners on base in Saturday’s contest ... 14 of Arizona’s 24 runs scored this season have come with two outs in an inning.