A four-run first inning and another strong starting performance by Tyler Hale sparked the Wildcats to 7-1 victory and claim the series at Long Beach State.
Feb. 27, 2011
Arizona 7, LBSU 1 (Box Score)
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A four-run first inning and another strong starting performance by Tyler Hale sparked the No. 18 Arizona baseball team to a 7-1 victory as the Wildcats captured the series over host Long Beach State on Sunday afternoon at Blair Field.
Hale improved to 2-0 on the season and kept the LBSU hitters off balance all game long, tossing seven shutout innings with just five hits allowed. He struck out five and walked two.
The Wildcats plated all the runs they needed in the first inning. Joey Rickard and Cole Frenzel hit back-to-back singles to open the game and Jett Bandy drew a walk to load the bases. Robert Refsnyder, who had a double and a home run on Saturday, delivered a two-run single to left center field to put the Wildcats on the board, 2-0.
Arizona (5-1) tacked on two more runs in the opening frame on an RBI groundout by Johnny Field and a two-out, run-scoring single by Seth Mejias-Brean.
In the fourth inning, the Wildcats scratched across two more runs after Mejias-Brean led off with a double. Bryce Ortega tripled to left field and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Rickard.
Arizona added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Josh Garcia drove home Refsnyder with an RBI double down the left field line.
With a 7-0 lead after five innings, UA's pitching closed the game out from there, yielding only an unearned run in the eighth inning.
In the eighth, Matt Chaffee struck out two and gave up three hits. He allowed the unearned run after a throwing error by shortstop Alex Mejia extended the inning and let a run score on the play.
Bryce Bandilla pitched a scoreless ninth inning, registering one of UA's eight strikeouts on the day.
All told, Arizona outscored the Dirtbags a cumulative 17-4 in the series, allowing a single run in each of the final two games - both victories. For the pitching staff, just two of the four runs allowed were earned on the weekend and UA limited LBSU hitters to a .191 average over three games.
The series victory was an important one for the Wildcats, who dropped the series opener, 2-1, on Friday night. Arizona had dropped eight straight weekend road series dating back to 2008 when it lost the first of three games, as it did two nights ago.
Arizona returns home to host a busy week of action at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium. The week begins on Tuesday with the first of two mid-week showdowns with No. 22 Rice, which swept USC this weekend in Houston. Thereafter, the Wildcats host Utah Valley for three games next Friday-Sunday.