Cats Bounce Back, Top Hornets, 11-2

Feb. 22, 2009

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TUCSON, Ariz. - A stellar collegiate debut by pitcher Donn Roach and several key offensive changes sparked Arizona (2-1, 0-0) to an 11-2 victory over Sacramento State (1-2, 0-0) on Sunday afternoon at Jerry Kindall Field. With the win, the Wildcats claimed a season-opening series win for the 15th consecutive season.

Roach, a freshman, took the ball to start the game and dominated from the opening pitch as he took a no hitter into the fifth inning. Back-to-back singles in fifth broke up the no-hit bid, and he allowed two sixth inning runs, but the righty turned in the most impressive pitching performance for a Wildcat to date, finishing with six strikeouts and three hits allowed in six innings of work to pick up the victory.

The Arizona bats awakened from a season-opening slumber in the first two games to explode for 11 runs on 13 hits, perhaps due to significant lineup changes.

Rafael Valenzuela was moved into the leadoff spot, while Bryce Ortega was moved into the two hole. Brad Glenn was moved to the cleanup spot behind Bobby Coyle. Glenn was put in as the designated hitter, while Jett Bandy made his first start at third base. Hunter Pace, after picking up a single the late in Saturday's game, got the nod in centerfield, and Coyle moved over to left.field.

The lineup did not produce immediate results, as the Wildcats went down in order in the bottom of the first inning. But in the second inning, the offense came alive.

Brad Glenn was hit by a pitch to lead off the home half of the second. He stole second base before Dillon Baird walked with no outs. Steve Selsky advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, which set up Daniel Butler who singled home Glenn.

The Cats added one more run later in the inning and placed five runs on the board in the bottom of the third to stake a 7-0 lead.

In the third, Ortega doubled to lead off and advanced to third on a Coyle single to right field. With runners at the corners, Glenn doubled to right center, bringing Ortega home and moving Coyle to third.

That forced Sacramento State to pull starter Chris Baek and bring in Tommy Elrod.

Elrod got Dillon Baird to strike out swinging, but Selsky followed with an RBI groundout that brought Coyle across the plate. A Daniel Butler walk set up back-to-back doubles by Jett Bandy, who collected his career hit, and Pace, to set the score at 7-0 through three innings.

Roach kept the Wildcats in a comfortable postion with his control on the mound. The only blemish on his line was two unearned runs in the sixth inning.

Blake Crosby reached on a leadoff error by Rafael Valenzuela and Aaron Crouch doubled to put runners at second and third. Roach was able to induce back-to-back groundouts, which brought two runs across the plate.

The Wildcats added four more runs in the seventh, which began with a Selsky solo homerun to start the inning. Later in the inning, with two runners on, Valenzuela hit an RBI double to left center. That set the table for a two-run single by Ortega, to set the score at its final, 11-2.

Cory Burns and Jason Stoffel teamed up two turn in three solid innings of relief, allowing only three combined hits and no runs.

The Wildcats will hit the road on Tuesday for a mid-week series at UNLV. The first game of the series is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and the second game will be at Noon on Wednesday.

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