BERKELEY, Calif. – James Farris tossed a complete game shutout, and the University of Arizona baseball team benefitted from a five-run fifth inning en route to a 6-0 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Evans Diamond.
Despite some strong starts in recent weeks, Farris (W, 5-6) picked up his first win in nearly two months as he racked up seven strikeouts and scattered four hits over the nine innings. He turned in his fourth complete-game effort of the season – eighth of career – and notched his third career shutout.
The right-hander entered Friday’s contest with an earned run average of 2.00 over his last four starts, but had received only five total runs of support in those outings. Today, the Wildcats scored five runs in the fifth inning alone, and gave Farris a six-run cushion.
The Gilbert, Ariz., native savored every bit of the lead, pitching his best as the game wore on. Farris did not walk a batter after the first inning, and racked up two strikeouts in the both eighth and ninth frames, pushing his season tally to a Pac-12-leading 93 punchouts.
Arizona (20-30, 9-19 Pac-12) took the initial lead with a run in the third inning. Zach Gibbons, who had two hits, hit a one-out single and scored on a deep single to left-center by Kevin Newman. Center fielder Aaron Knapp misplayed the ball in the gap, allowing Gibbons to score an unearned run.
The Wildcats broke the game open in the fifth when Golden Bears starter Daulton Jefferies lost his command. Walks to Joseph Maggi, Gibbons and Trent Gilbert loaded the bases for Tyler Krause, who lined a two-out single to center pushing the lead to 3-0.
Jefferies then walked Willie Calhoun, re-loading the bases in front of Riley Moore. The junior catcher bounced a ball into the hole on the left side of the infield, where shortstop Derek Campbell fielded cleanly, but threw wildly in an attempt to collect the force out at second base.
The ball rolled all the way toward the Golden Bears’ bullpen and all three runs came in to score, putting the Wildcats in front, 6-0.
Jefferies (L, 2-7) took the loss with six runs allowed, but just two were earned. He gave up seven hits, walked four and struck out four.
California (21-26, 9-16 Pac-12) was shut out for the sixth time this year.
The top of the Wildcats’ order collected four of the seven hits in the game, led by Gibbons’ with two in the leadoff spot. In the No. 9 hole, Joseph Maggi reached base three times with a hit and two walks, while scoring a run.
Arizona will try to win its second road series of the season on Saturday with another 4 p.m. (PDT) contest. The series concludes Sunday at 3 p.m. Both games will be televised live on Pac-12 Arizona with a radio broadcast on 1290 AM in Tucson, Ariz.