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No. 6 baseball thumps Lobos

Arizona second baseman Bryan Kervin attempts to turn a double play over Lobo Jordan Pacheco against the University of New Mexico yesterday at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M. The fifth-ranked Wildcats beat the Lobos 14-3.
By Michael Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
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The high-octane Arizona offense smacked the ball around the park in yesterday's 14-3 win at New Mexico.

The No. 6 Wildcats (27-11, 10-2 Pacific 10 Conference) hit 14 extra-base hits, including six home runs from five different players, to blow out the Lobos (19-19) at Isotopes Park.

Arizona also hit seven doubles and a triple for a total of 18 hits on the way to scoring in seven of nine frames.

The Wildcats have now beaten New Mexico in 23 consecutive games, dating back to Jan. 31, 1997.

Junior left fielder Trevor Crowe led the offensive charge with two home runs, while hitting 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs. After Crowe led off the game with a home run, Arizona never trailed.

"Up and down the lineup we've got guys that can really hurt you," said junior catcher Nick Hundley, who hit his ninth home run of the season as well as a double. "Each guy is focused on each at-bat. We don't take at-bats off. We really bought into (head) coach (Andy) Lopez's philosophy, and it is really paying off."

The Wildcats knocked around Karsten Gaarder (1-6) who gave up 10 runs, nine earned, on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings. This should come as no surprise as Gaarder entered the game with a 6.28 ERA on a squad that holds a pathetic 7.46 team ERA.

Leading 3-0 in the third, junior center fielder Chris Frey (3-for-4, two RBIs) hit a two-run home run to put the Wildcats ahead 5-0. The shot was Frey's third of the season and the first since March 19 at No. 2 Cal State Fullerton.

With two runs already scored in the fourth to give Arizona a 7-1 lead, junior first baseman Jordan Brown (2-for-5, three RBIs, two runs) hit a three-run home run to put Arizona up by a commanding 10-1 margin.

Brown now leads the conference with 59 RBIs and the team with 11 home runs.

Sophomore left fielder Bill Rhinehart added a two-run home run, freshman second baseman Bryan Kervin doubled twice and junior designated hitter Derek Decater collected three hits.

"It makes you feel comfortable and relaxed," freshman pitcher Eric Berger said. "They're going to do their part. You just need to go out, let batters get themselves out, and everything else will take care of itself."

Berger (4-0) got the win with four innings of relief for senior Sean Rierson. Berger allowed two runs on four hits while walking four.

"I was not happy about my performance at first," said Berger, who allowed the runs in his first two innings. "I made adjustments the last two innings. I slowed down a little bit."

Rierson started the game and gave up one run in his four innings of work, striking out three.

Hundley said Rierson will factor into Arizona's pitching plans down the stretch after not having pitched the past three weeks.

"Rierson threw real well," Hundley said. "He really pounded the strike zone, and he was impressive throwing three pitches for strikes."

The mid-week game gave Arizona the opportunity to get Rierson and Berger some work after Berger pitched just one inning and Rierson did not appear in last weekend's series against No. 9 Oregon State.

"When you have a quality staff and quality starters, they're going to go deep into ballgames, so those guys come in and help us out," Hundley said. "We need the whole staff. It's important for them to pitch well."

Even without the normal pitching rotation, this being a mid-week game, Arizona continued its hot play of late, winning its ninth game in 10 tries.

After sweeping the Lobos in the season-opening series at Sancet Stadium Feb. 4-6, they have now outscored New Mexico 52-14 on the season. This time the Wildcats got to experience baseball at Isotopes Park, named the top collegiate baseball field in 2004 by the SportsTurf Managers Association.

"It was amazing," Hundley said. "It was one of the nicest parks I've ever played at. It's fun to play in that type of environment."

Arizona now travels to Sacramento, Calif. where the University of California Irvine and Sacramento State await the Wildcats. Arizona plays the Anteaters Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. in neutral field games at Hornet Field before playing the Hornets Saturday at 3 p.m. on their home turf.

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