Cats Down Ducks, Win Pac-10 Opener
March 26, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. – Jett Bandy’s first inning two-run home run and another efficient outing by starter Kurt Heyer set the tone for Arizona’s 9-3 victory over visiting Oregon in the Pacific-10 Conference opener for both programs on Friday night at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium before a crowd of 1,563 fans.
The win extended Arizona’s winning streak to 14-consectuive games and marked the 16th win in the last 17 outings for the Wildcats. The win streak is the second-longest in Andy Lopez’s nine seasons at Arizona, trailing the 16-consectuive wins posted by the 2007 club.
Heyer, who improved to 4-0 on the season, turned in six steady innings in which he allowed just two runs – one earned – while scattering seven hits with five strikeouts.
Arizona (19-4, 1-0 Pac-10) roughed up Oregon ace Tyler Anderson for four runs in the first inning, despite an ominous start to the game.
Joey Rickard led off with a walk, but was picked off first with Valenzuela at the plate. But Valenzuela followed with a single and Bandy blasted his team-leading fifth home run of the season to centerfield to give the Wildcats an early 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats were not done. An error, a double and two singles plated two more runs in the first inning.
Oregon (17-7, 0-1 Pac-10) looked to bounce back in the second inning as Steven Packard ripped a solo home run to right field to lead off the frame, which cut the deficit to 4-1.
Arizona kept on the offensive in the second inning as Bandy reached with a two-out walk. A single by Steve Selsky and a double steal put the runners on second and third. Robert Refsnyder then battled Anderson in a 10-pitch at-bat before he singled through the left side to bring in a pair of runs, pushing UA’s lead to 6-0.
Anderson was lifted in favor Zack Thornton after lasting just 1.2 innings in which he threw 70 pitches. The Wildcats collected seven hits off Anderson, who dropped to 4-2 on the season.
The Wildcats added a seventh run in the fourth inning as Bryce Ortega scored on a two-out balk by Thornton.
After Oregon tallied an unearned run off Heyer in the fifth inning, Arizona scored two more in the bottom half of the inning to lead 9-2.
Thornton was steady in relief for the Ducks as he pitched 6.1 innings and allowed just three runs to go with six strikeouts.
Arizona’s bullpen kept the Ducks off the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth innings, but Oregon knocked in a run in the top of ninth off Nick Cunningham, which set the score at its final, 9-3.
Heyer and the pitching staff received some timely help from the middle infield combo of shortstop Alex Mejia and Ortega at second base. The two helped turn three double plays in the game. The Ducks also stranded 11 runners on base.
Bandy, who finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, reclaimed the highest batting average on the club as he improved to .473 for the season. Refsnyder, who had surpassed Bandy, went 1-for-3 in the game with two RBI. Selsky led the Wildcats with three runs scored, while Ortega collected a tam-best three hits.
The teams will continue the three-game series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium.