Arizona takes two to open season

By Sam Spiller
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 29, 1996

Karen C. Tully
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Erik Mattern slides back into first base during Friday's 7-5 victory over the New Mexico Lobos. UA won two of the three games against UNM


In a repeat performance of last year, the Arizona baseball team won two of three games against the New Mexico Lobos.

Sunday's 6-4 victory was a hard-fought struggle, sparked by the fifth inning solo home run by left fielder Jeff Gjerde.

"They played pretty well against us," Gjerde said. "We had to battle the whole time."

The real story of Sunday's game was the relief pitching of junior college transfer Tyler Haddix. Haddix was called up in the fifth to relieve starter Jason Ford.

"It was a good, hard-fought game. It was not an easy victory for us," said Arizona coach Jerry Kindall. "Tyler Haddix came in and did a nice job. (He) deserved a victory."

"I knew I could pitch against them if I was focused, and I was pretty focused out there," Haddix (1-0) said.

The victory was sweet revenge for Arizona after a disappointing defeat on Saturday 10-7.

The Lobos scored three runs early in Saturday's game, but the Wildcats (2-1) closed the gap in the fifth inning, with Russ Brown and Erik Mattern scoring.

The Lobos pulled away in the eighth inning by scoring six runs to win the game, despite a five-run rally in the bottom half of the inning by the Wildcats.

Saturday and Sunday's games were marked by the number of runners Arizona left stranded on base. Twelve runners were left stranded on Saturday and eleven were stranded on Sunday, but Kindall was optimistic.

"I'd love to see them driven in. I'd love to see them score, but the fact is that we're getting them on," Kindall said.

Friday's 7-5 UA victory was a mix of good hitting and strong pitching by senior starter Matt Hendren. Hendren (1-0) allowed only one earned run while striking out four batters in six innings of work.

Gjerde led the offensive charge with a 2-3 performance and two RBI while catcher Tom King came through in the fourth inning with an RBI triple.

The Lobos attempted to come back with Adam Taylor's solo home run in the seventh inning, but UA held on with strong relief pitching by senior Ben White. White allowed only two earned runs with one strikeout.

The team will play against Cal-State Dominguez Hills tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. at Frank Sancet Field. Kindall said the team feels strong for tomorrow's game.

"Dominguez Hills is a very good test for us, as New Mexico was," Kindall said. "Early in the season, our team still has the element of youth, we need to bind together. It'll be a good challenge for us."