[Wildcat Online: Sports] [ad info]





Duncan, Wildcats start season on a good note


Eric M. Jukelevics
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Sophomore right fielder Shelley Duncan celebrates after hitting a two-run homerun in his first at bat of the season Friday. The Wildcats went on to win and take two of the three games from St. Mary's.

By Ryan Finley
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 24, 2000
Talk about this story

Even though it didn't sweep the first series of the season, the Arizona baseball team learned that winning two out of three ain't bad.

The Wildcats started its 2000 campaign with a pair of wins over St. Mary's this weekend at Sancet Field. The No. 19 Wildcats took Friday and yesterday's games handily, but suffered a letdown with a loss on Saturday.

Friday afternoon, sophomore right fielder Shelley Duncan homered twice and drove in five runs as UA cruised to an 11-2 victory against an overmatched St. Mary's team.

Sophomore right-hander Ben Diggins pitched five innings, allowing just three hits. Duncan's two home runs gave him four multi-homer games in his brief career, tying a Wildcat record.

In his two opening days as a Wildcat, Duncan has four homers and ten RBI.

"It was cool to go out there and hit the ball well," he said. "I thought there was no way I could do that again."

Following Friday's blowout, the Wildcats suffered a lapse, losing Saturday's game, 4-3. St. Mary's sophomore left-hander Mike Byer held UA to three runs and seven hits in seven innings of work as the Gaels (1-2) won their first game of the season. Wildcat center fielder Troy Gingrich stole a career-high three bases and third baseman Erik Torres had a solo homer in the losing effort.

UA head coach Jerry Stitt was quick to praise the St. Mary's pitching staff.

"They have good pitching, top to bottom," he said. "They had really good pitching against us and won the game."

Duncan agreed.

"Their pitcher (Byer) did a really good job of doing what he does well," Duncan said. "He hit his spots and had good control. We just couldn't sit back and hit."

Yesterday afternoon, sophomore left-hander Brian Pemble allowed four hits and one earned run as the Wildcats took the third and decisive game of the series, 5-2.

Arizona scored two runs in the third inning, adding solo runs in the first, third, and fifth.

Senior Tony Milo earned the save, striking out three batters in the ninth inning for his first finish of the season.

Duncan had two singles and a pair of RBI in the victory.

The victory was the 100th of Stitt's career. In doing so, Stitt became the fourth coach in UA history to reach the 100-win plateau.

"I was pleased with the way we played," Stitt said. "Our defense played great, and we pitched well."

For Pemble, Sunday's victory helped cement him as the team's third starter.

"Once I got the nerves out and let things roll, I pitched well," Pemble said. "I got a little nervous, but I can't let it affect me. It was good to get off on the right foot."

Pemble's outing opened the eyes of fans and teammates alike. According to Gingrich, Pemble's 5-inning appearance was "the best I've seen him throw in two years."

The Wildcats host the University of San Francisco this weekend in a three game series at Sancet Field.

[end content]
[ad info]