Kurt Heyer struck out 11 batters and Arizona scored 11 runs on 16 hits to cruise to a series-opening victory over Northern Colorado on Friday night.
March 11, 2011
Arizona 11, Northern Colorado 1 (Box Score)
TUCSON, Ariz. - Kurt Heyer struck out a season-high 11 hitters and No. 14 Arizona scored 11 runs on 16 hits to capture a convincing 11-1 victory over visiting Northern Colorado on Friday night at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.
Heyer, who improved to 2-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.21, tossed eight strong innings and hit double-digit strikeouts in a second consecutive start. The sophomore right-hander allowed just one run and scattered five hits and one walk in the ballgame.
Arizona (11-3) overcame an early 1-0 deficit with four runs in the bottom of the second. A run in the third and five in the fifth put the game out of reach as the Wildcats cruised to 11 unanswered runs to win going away.
Northern Colorado (0-5) plated a run in the top of the first inning after a pair of singles to open the game off Heyer. TJ Berge drove home leadoff hitter Bret Fanning with a sacrifice fly to spot the Bears a 1-0 edge.
In the home half of the second inning, Arizona evened the game as Jett Bandy was hit by a pitch with one out. The junior catcher moved to second base on a balk called against UNC starting pitcher Joe Sawicki, and then scored from second as Seth Mejias-Brean reached on a throwing error by third baseman Tony Crudo.
With the game tied, Alex Mejia and Bryce Ortega put down two straight bunt base hits, the second driving in Mejias-Brean on a safety squeeze to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. Joey Rickard and Cole Frenzel followed with RBI doubles, respectively, and UA suddenly had a 4-1 advantage.
It was the bottom half of the Wildcats' lineup that did the damage all night long. The No. 6-9 hitters in the lineup - Jett Bandy, Mejias-Brean, Mejia and Ortega - combined to score nine of the club's 11 runs in the game and totaled nine hits in 16 at bats.
At the top of the order, Rickard tallied a pair of RBI in a 3-for-3 night offensively that included a walk. The sophomore center fielder extended his season-opening hitting streak to 14 straight games and improved his batting average to a Pac-10 best .517.
The Wildcats rapped out just four extra base hits in the game, but were able to drive in runners in scoring positions with singles. A handful of the runs were aided by four UNC errors, but two of the runs were unearned in the game.
Interestingly, the Wildcats did not collect a two-RBI in the game, due in large part to four defensive double plays turned in by the pairs. The Wildcats added a pair of their double plays in the field to aid Heyer, who also saw an inning end with a pickoff at first base.
The two schools will continue the three-game series on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.