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Baseball tops Aggies in slugfest, 14-10

KRISTIN ELVES/Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senior shortstop Brad Hassey takes a pitch yesterday against New Mexico State at Sancet Field. Hassey hit a first-inning homer to start the Wildcats on their way to a 14-10 win.

By Brett Fera
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Feb. 27, 2002

The No. 29 Arizona baseball team defeated New Mexico State yesterday, 14-10, in a game loaded with both explosive offense and stifling defense.

The game initially looked like it might be a pitching showcase after UA freshman Jason Snyder struck out the side in the first.

But a first-pitch homer by leadoff hitter Brad Hassey in the bottom of the first inning put Arizona (15-4) ahead early.

And that was just the beginning.

New Mexico State (10-5) responded in the top of the second, scoring three runs on three hits against Snyder.

Arizona quickly countered, scoring four runs in its half of the second inning, along with four runs in the bottom of the third as well, three of which came on a bases-clearing triple by senior Justyn St. Clair.

The scoring barrage continued for the first five innings before both offenses went to sleep, with no runs being recorded beyond the fifth.

Sophomore Marc Kaiser entered in the bottom of the fifth and quickly shut down the Aggies' potent offense. Kaiser pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up just two hits and no runs while striking out four en route to the win, improving his record to 3-0 on the season.

"It was good to see Kaiser pitch," head coach Andy Lopez said following the game. "He did a good job. He has been swinging the bat exceptionally well, obviously, but it was good to see him get on the mound and get some work out there because we're going to need him when we get rolling in the Pac-10."

The Wildcats tallied 11 hits for the game, while yielding 15 to the Aggies.

Freshman catcher Richard Mercado hit his first career home run in the fourth inning with two runners on base. Despite going 2-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBIs, Mercado struggled in the field early, committing two errors while playing at third base.

Including Mercado, all three of Arizona's catchers were in the lineup today, with senior Chris Cunningham at first and junior Ken Riley behind the plate.

Hassey, Mercado, St. Clair and Kaiser each posted solid days at the plate. The quartet accounted for 11 RBIs between them, along with eight of Arizona's 11 hits.

"We're hitting well, obviously," Mercado said. "They swung the bats pretty well also, but aside from the errors, I thought we played pretty well as a team."

Starting pitcher Terry Lawrence of New Mexico State suffered the loss, bringing his record to 2-2, while Snyder did not factor in the decision, despite giving up seven runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings of work.

Next up for the Wildcats is an exhibition matchup against the Colorado Rockies. The game is tomorrow at Hi Corbett Field, site of the Rockies' spring training facilities.


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