By Michael Schwartz
Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona's Mike Koons delivers a pitch during Arizona's game against Northern Colorado at Sancet Stadium. Arizona defeated Northern Colorado 10-0.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 14, 2005
The only thing that seems to be able to stop the Arizona baseball team's bats these days is Mother Nature.
The No. 11 Wildcats (6-0) swept their second consecutive series this weekend, this time beating Northern Colorado (0-3) at Sancet Stadium.
After a rainout Friday, the Wildcats won all three games by double digit runs: 16-1 in Saturday's first game, 13-2 in the second game and 10-0 in a shortened seven-inning affair yesterday.
Arizona averaged 13 runs and just under 15 hits per game in the series and have now scored double-digit run totals every game except for the first, in which they scored nine.
"I'm not going to say it's a surprise," said Arizona head coach Andy Lopez. "You're always happy when guys are swinging the bat well. It should be our strength for at least the first part of the season. They've got a lot of college experience, and there shouldn't be too many things that they aren't accustomed to seeing right now."
In the first game, it was the bottom of the order that got it done.
The number seven through nine hitters junior catcher Nick Hundley, junior outfielder Chris Frey and freshman third baseman Bryan Kervin went 8-for-11 (.727) with six RBIs and seven runs scored, including Frey's two triples.
Sophomore designated hitter Bill Rhinehart stole the show in the second game of the doubleheader on a wet, soggy Saturday evening. Rhinehart hit 3-for-4 with two home runs, a double, six RBIs and three runs scored.
"I was just trying to get some quality at-bats," Rhinehart said. "We're trying to be consistent, just have a little rally going, from me or whoever on the team. Our offense is ridiculous right now. Everyone is doing real good."
This trend continued yesterday as a balanced attack, in which every regular reached base by hit or walk, beat the Bears.
Junior outfielder Trevor Crowe and senior outfielder Jeff Van Houten each collected three hits, while Hundley and Frey each got two. Hundley scored three times, while Crowe and Frey touched home twice.
"Everybody is real aggressive at the plate," Hundley said. "We've got nine tough outs, and then the guys coming off the bench are tough outs too, so as a pitching staff against us it's tough to go through our lineup once, let alone four or five times."
The explosive offensive performance overshadowed an equally dominant pitching staff, which gave up just two earned runs on a meager 13 hits over the weekend. The staff also struck out 31 hitters while walking just five.
In the first game, junior John Meloan (2-0) extended his season scoreless inning streak to 13.2 in six solid innings before Sean Jarrett closed out the game for his first career save.
Junior Kevin Guyette (1-0) got the win in the second game, throwing 5.1 solid innings, before senior Sean Rierson finished the game with three hitless innings. Rierson has not given up any runs or hits in 5.1 innings this year, while striking out nine and walking one.
"It's very big in a lot of ways," Lopez said. "Just the presence of Sean because he's an older pitcher for us. I've always believed that competition makes people better, and he's been creating a lot of competition for one of those starting rotation spots. He wants to be a starter, he's been a starter in the program, and we think if he pitches well he can be a starter in this program, so he'll create some competition for us."
Freshmen finished the series yesterday, with starter David Coulon (1-0) giving up just three hits and no runs in five innings. Fellow freshmen Mike Koons and Eric Berger finished the job with an inning apiece before the blowout was called after seven innings.
"It's just getting those young guys out there and getting them some experience," Lopez said. "I was very happy with David. I think he's done a good job his last couple outings. I thought he was getting better as the game went on, which is a good sign."
While Lopez said it's always good to win three games each weekend, he also said the Wildcats must keep getting better, giving his team an overall B-plus for the season thus far.
"It's always good to win three," Hundley said. "Coach always talks about if you get the sweep, it's a very good weekend. It doesn't matter who we're playing. (Still), there's always something you can constantly improve on. Once you're content with where you are, you start sliding. We really need to keep improving defensively, keep making plays and keep going hard."