Cats Blast Rebels, 14-7

Feb. 24, 2009

LAS VEGAS - The Arizona baseball team cruised to a 14-7 victory over host UNLV Tuesday night as the Wildcats' offense exploded to score runs in each of the first six innings, including seven in the second inning.

The Wildcats improved to 3-1 on the season and picked up their first road win of the season, while racking up a season-high 19 base hits.

Freshman Kyle Simon got the start on the mound and was impressive over the first four innings. But, in the fourth, Simon ran into some trouble and was forced from the game, giving him a no-decision. At that point, the offense staked UA to a comfortable lead and held off the Rebels.

The Wildcats got on the board early with an unearned run in the first inning after a two-out error by Rebel second baseman Jarred Frierson. Bryce Ortega started things off with a one-out single, then advanced to second on a groundout by Bobby Coyle. That brought designated hitter Matt Presley to the plate, who hit a bouncer up the middle that Frierson was unable to handle, which brought Ortega home as the ball rolled into centerfield.

Arizona kept things going in the second as the first eight batters of the inning reached base, including three consecutive doubles.

Steve Selsky crushed a double to right center field and advanced to third on a towering fly ball hit by Jett Bandy. Selsky had to hold at third after waiting to see if the ball would be caught up against the wall and Bandy scampered into second with a double. Dwight Childs then brought both freshmen in to score as he doubled to right center to give UA a 3-0 lead.

Hunter Pace, who hit 4-for-5 in the opening series against Sacramento State, then blasted a run-scoring triple to left center field to bring Childs home. Pace was able to score three pitches later on a wild pitch by Rebel starter Glenn DeWeese, which gave the Wildcats a 5-0 lead.

Deweese, who allowed five runs on six hits in one-plus innings of work, was replaced by Thomas Whitsett. But, Whitsett initially struggled to settle things down. The right hander walked Ortega then gave up a single to Coyle to load the bases. With Presley at the plate, Valenzuela scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.

Still with no outs in the inning, Presley walked to again load the bases. Dillon Baird then brought a seventh run across with a ground out to first base, and Selsky, who led off the inning, hit a sacrifice fly to right, which brought in another run and set the score at 8-0.

The Wildcats added another run in the third, as Childs launched a solo home run into the night sky on the first pitch of the inning.

The Rebels scratched a run on the board in the bottom of third. Trent Fuller hit a bouncer to third that Bandy backhanded, but Bandy's throw short-hopped Baird at first, allowing Fuller to move to second. Fuller advanced to third on a groundout, then scored on J.J. Sferra's RBI groundout.

Arizona returned the favor with two runs in the top of the fourth. With one out, Presley and Baird hit back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second. Presley scored from second as Selsky hit a grounder to first that went through the glove of Rebel first baseman Jesse Wight. Baird then scored on a two-out run-scoring single by Bandy, which gave UA a 11-1 lead.

UNLV was able to answer with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back infield singles by Rance Roundy and Jesse Wight set up an RBI groundout by Justin Aldridge and an RBI single by Anthony Morel. The Rebel's next hitter, Fuller, doubled down the left field line to bring home the third run of the inning and cut UA's lead to 11-4.

The Rebels stayed on the offensive in the bottom of the fifth by adding three more runs. A walk, a single and another walk loaded the bases with one. Drew Beurlein then broke things open with a bases-clearing double to right center to bring three Rebels across the plate.

Matt Chaffee entered to settle things down for UA, going two-thirds of an inning and retiring each of the batters he faced to earn the victory.

Arizona kept its streak of scoring runs in each inning going with a single run in the top of the sixth. Selsky picked up his second hit of the game to lead off the frame, moved to second on a passed ball, then reached third after a Bandy flyout to center. Pace then picked him up with a two-out, RBI single to extend the Wildcat lead to 13-7.

The Wildcats added an insurance run in the eighth when pace reached on a bunt single, stole second and moved to third on a ground out. He then scored on a passed ball to push the Wildcat lead to 14-7.

Arizona relievers Cory Burns and Jason Stoffel teamed up to pitch scoreless baseball over the final four innings, including six punch-outs.

The Wildcats and Rebels will wrap up the two-game mid-week series on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for Noon at Earl Wilson Stadium.

NOTE: Arizona's 19 base hits were the most in a single game since tallying 20 on March 9, 2008 against Notre Dame.


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