Arizona baseball dominates Eastern Michigan
TUCSON, Ariz. — The No. 7 Arizona baseball team exploded for seven runs in the first two innings, then rode the arm of junior ace Kurt Heyer to a 9-2 victory over Eastern Michigan that extended the club’s modest winning streak to six games Friday night at Hi Corbett Field.
The Wildcats, who had scored only eight first-inning runs in the first 12 games of the season, jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening frame Friday. After the Eagles scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the second, UA quickly answered with three more to claim a 7-2 edge. Two more runs in the fourth capped the scoring at 9-2.
Heyer pitched eight complete innings to run his record to 4-0 to start the season. The right-hander scattered six hits and allowed the two unearned runs while striking out eight and walking just one. He lowered his season ERA to 0.58 in 31.0 innings pitched.
Joey Rickard pulled a double down the left-field line to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Alex Mejia then dropped a bunt down the third-base line and beat the throw at first, but the Eagles failed to cover second base and Mejia advanced to put two runners in scoring position.
Robert Refsnyder extended his season-opening hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single to plate Rickard with the game’s first run, and Johnny Field’s RBI groundout plated Mejia with the second run.
Later in the inning, Trent Gilbert’s single to center field drove in Field, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Riley Moore collected the final RBI of the inning with a sacrifice fly to knock in Seth Mejias-Brean, who had reached on a throwing error.
Eastern Michigan (3-9) put its first two runners on base in the second inning with a single by Lee Longo and a double by Ben Magsig. Heyer was able to retire the next two hitters he faced and kept both runners in scoring position, but an error by Mejias-Brean allowed the two unearned runs to score before the inning ended.
Arizona (11-2) wasted no time responding. Brandon Dixon singled and then scored on Rickard’s second double of the game in the second inning. Mejia followed with an RBI triple to push Rickard across, and Mejia scored on an RBI grounder by Refsnyder.
The Wildcats tacked on a final pair of runs in the fourth. Singles by Dixon and Joseph Maggi set up a sacrifice fly by Mejia and an RBI single by Refsnyder later in the inning.
Mejia finished the game 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Refsnyder, who has a 15-game hitting streak dating back to 2011, drove in three runs.
Arizona’s offensive attack pounded out 13 hits in the game. Eight of the Wildcats’ nine hitters in the lineup recorded a base hit, and the club stranded just one runner on base all game.
Eagles starter Joe Battistelli was charged with the loss. He pitched five innings and gave up nine runs, six earned, on 12 hits. Paul Shaak pitched the final three innings for EMU, surrendering just one hit and allowing no runs.
Heyer turned the game over to Stephen Manthei to start the ninth inning for the Wildcats, and Manthei retired all three hitters he faced.
The two clubs continue the three-game series Saturday evening at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field.