The No. 19 Arizona baseball team cruised to an 8-1 victory on Sunday afternoon to improve to 3-0 on the young season.
Feb. 20, 2011
Arizona 8, North Dakota State 1 (Box Score)
TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona's pitching staff dominated with 14 combined strikeouts and Josh Garcia delivered a third-inning grand slam as the No. 19 Wildcats completed a three-game sweep of visiting North Dakota State with an 8-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.
Tyler Hale turned in an impressive starting performance on the mound - the third in as many days for UA's staff - earning a victory with a seven-strikeout season debut. The sophomore right-hander scattered four hits against two walks with just one run allowed.
Arizona (3-0) trailed for the first time on the season after the Bison (0-3) plated a run in the top of the second inning. But that quickly changed in the fourth inning as Garcia ripped a grand slam to left centerfield to stake the Wildcats to a 4-1 advantage.
The home run was the third for Garcia in the last two days and matched his season total from an injury-plagued junior season last spring. The blast completed a 6-for-12 weekend at the plate for UA's designated hitter, which included six runs scored and six RBI.
Freshman Johnny Field made his second straight start in left field and registered a 2-for-4 day at the plate. One day after hitting a two-run home run, Field drove in a pair of runs with a double to left field that extended the Wildcats' lead to 6-1 in the home half of the fifth inning.
Arizona tacked on two more runs in the sixth as sophomores Cole Frenzel and Robert Refsnyder drove in runs. Frenzel's RBI - his eighth of the weekend - came on a sacrifice fly out and drove home Bryce Ortega. Later, Refsnyder singled to right field to bring home Joey Rickard.
The eight runs scored by the Wildcats on Sunday were the fewest in the series, but they were more than enough to support the pitching staff that combined to allow just two runs on the entire weekend.
Freshman Konner Wade made his debut in relief of Hale in the seventh inning and retired all three batters he faced, two by strikeout. An inning later, sophomore Vincent Littleman struck out the only hitter he faced, and freshman Daniel Ponce de Leon fanned both hitters he saw. Bryce Bandilla and Jacob Doyle worked the ninth inning, combining to pick up a pair of strikeouts.
In all, the Wildcats used nine pitchers over the three games. The staff allowed two runs and scattered 12 hits, while it struck out 40 Bison hitters and issued only four walks.
Offensively, Arizona finished the series with 31 runs scored on 41 hits. The Wildcats hit five doubles, four home runs and three triples in the season, with a .387 cumulative batting average.
Arizona will now hit the road for the first time in 2011 as it travels to Long Beach State for a three-game series Feb. 25-27.