Arizona Baseball: Recap of Early Pac-12 Battle Against Washington State

Kevin Abblitt@kevinabblittCorrespondent IIIMarch 21, 2012

Starting pitcher, Kurt Heyer, delivers a fastball
Starting pitcher, Kurt Heyer, delivers a fastball

No. 6 Arizona (16-4, 2-1 Pac-12) wrapped up their first Pac-12 conference contest this weekend against Washington State after capping off Saturday’s double-header to take the three game series; 2-1.

For the Cats, the offensive attack never really awoke until the latter innings; providing a spark plug of sorts. Riding the comeback tour seemed to be the trend of the weekend.

Entering the weekend, the conference batting average leaders were submitted to a dismal seven hits that could be appointed to the three hurlers of the Cougar pitching staff. Offensively, it was all Washington State. The Cougars put the pressure on early and often, and made minimal margin for error. Starting from the second and into the fourth, the crimson and gray got out to a comfortable 4-0 lead, and that was all that was necessary.

Later attacks were manifested, increasing the lead while capturing the win with a blemish-free 6-0 performance. Although the Cougars may have reached out to ignite the first blood, there was still a weekend to be had. 

Welcoming the final day of the three-game series, the Cats knew they could not let another atrocious offensive performance resurface. The inability to convert left the Cats wounded but not out. Following the conclusion of the first half of the first inning, the Cougars put up an alarming five spot on the Wildcats. To put an end to the Wildcats’ dry spell, the home half of the first inning prompted a three-run rally of their own.

At the end of the third frame, the score was knotted at five a piece. Battling for the outright ownership of the lead, the Cougars slugged another run across the dish.

Last time I checked, three runs outduel one run any way you look at it. The Wildcats mustered up an afternoon appetite, launching three runs in the bottom half of the eighth that landed them their first conference victory for the season. Although the Cougars brought home another run, the addition was not enough. The Cats took the first game of Saturday’s bout; 8-7.

After the contagious outbreak that occurred in the first half of the first inning, starting pitcher Konner Wade readjusted his approach and steered his way to a cool 6.1 innings of work.

Due to a heavy winter weather storm forecast, Sunday’s event was moved into a double-header for Saturday.

For the sake of the Wildcats’ offense, the weather permitted them a storm of their own, bringing home a double-digit 12 spot on the box score.

With the series locked at one game a piece, the Cats needed to take back what was theirs; taking the rubber match of the opening Pac-12 series. Drawing first blood, Arizona reeled in two runs off the bat of Seth Mejias-Brean to take the early 2-0 lead. The lead withstood until the top half of the fourth, when the Cougars broke into the seal, knocking Arizona’s James Farris around for three runs.
For Arizona, the fifth inning marked a personal best for the season, as they would have their way with the Cougar’s pitching.

Busting down the doors, the floodgates opened up as the Wildcats brought 11 individuals to the plate, and plated seven of them.

Strike when the iron is hot, and the Cats did just that. The offensive onslaught could be best appointed to the efficiency of putting together critical at-bats with the runners in scoring position.

Unlike the first two games of the series, the Cats went a healthy 6-for-11. Johnny Field and Mejias-Brean stole the show compiling five RBI together, which helped reassure the 12-9 victory and owner of the series.

Arizona baseball will look to gather their momentum into the conclusion of their month-long stretch of home games, as they look to cool off the streaking New Mexico State Aggies in a heated two-game series beginning Tuesday.