By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The UA baseball team exploded for 15 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning en route to a 24-3 blowout win over St. Francis College yesterday at Sancet Field.
After rain caused a three-hour play stoppage, the two teams returned to the field in the bottom of the second with the Wildcats down 2-1. The UA got two runs in that inning and never looked back.
"We must not be deceived," UA head coach Jerry Kindall said. "They had many control problems. The runs were hard to come by early."
While it is true that the Terriers had trouble throwing strikes, it should also be noted that they had trouble fielding Ä St. Francis committed seven errors on the day.
The Terriers started the game by scoring two quick runs off of UA starter Clay Crossan (1-0) in the top of the first. By the middle of the second, the dark clouds that hung above Sancet Field began to release a freak thunderstorm with lightning, monsoon rain, and hail for 2 1/2 hours.
Of the nine players on the field for the Wildcats, Crossan may actually have benefited from the delay the most.
After experiencing control problems through the first two innings, Crossan came back from the rain delay throwing like a new man. He pitched seven strong innings, struck out six, scattered five Terrier hits and surrendered three unearned runs to earn his first victory of the year.
"He actually got stronger after the delay," Kindall said.
Jason Frierott closed the game for the UA to earn his second save of the year. St. Francis starter Chris McConnell (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing five runs. As it turned out for McConnell, being relieved in the sixth was like getting a seat on a Titanic lifeboat.
The Wildcats sent 21 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Joe Mennella relieved McConnell to start the sixth, faced five batters, allowed five base runners and was pulled in favor of freshman Frank Calise. But the Wildcats were just getting started. The first batter Calise faced was Menno Wickey. With two men on, Wickey sent a 3-1 offering over the left field fence for his second homer of the year.
Yesterday's victory was not due to any one spectacular hitting performance but rather to the entire team collecting one or two hits at the right times. The Wildcats tallied 18 hits on the long day. Every Wildcat starter got a hit except for shortstop Erik Mattern, who walked all four times he stepped to the plate.
The win upped the UA's record to 9-8. The Terriers, who opened their season with a loss to Arizona State Monday, fell to 0-2.
Travelling woes could lead to more problems for the Terriers. After the game Ä which ended at 9:00 p.m. Ä the team boarded its bus for the two-hour ride back to Mesa. St. Francis had to do this because all of the hotels in Tucson were booked due to the rodeo. The Terriers will travel back to Tucson today for a 2:30 p.m. game at Sancet Field before returning for another game at ASU Thursday.
Kirt Kishita (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will be making his first start of the year in tomorrow's game. Jim Giordano will also be making his first start for St. Francis.
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