By Craig Degel
Arizona daily Wildcat
In a span of two games, the Arizona baseball team churned out 16 runs on 26 hits Ä and lost both games.
The Wildcats (4-4) continue to be victimized by mental errors, and the inability to hold a lead. These two factors have the team on a three-game skid after yesterday afternoon's 11-8 loss to St. Mary's College (Calif.) in front of 477 fans at Sancet Field.
"We made too many mental errors," UA coach Jerry Kindall said. "It's a learning process and these errors are correctable."
The Wildcats lost a two-run lead Monday and a six-run lead yesterday.
Arizona got off to a fast start, taking advantage of three Gael errors and lighting up St. Mary's starter Kevin Culmo for four runs in the bottom of the first. The Wildcats got two more runs in the second inning before Matt Fregi (1-1) came to Culmo's rescue.
UA starter, junior right-hander Matt Hendren (0-1) retired the first six Gael batters he faced but then allowed six straight base runners to open the third. Leadoff hitter Mark Whiley singled and later scored on a fielder's choice. The next hitter, Marlon McKinney, doubled to right and scored while Sean Dunbar was involved in a run down. When the attention was turned to McKinney, Dunbar was able to steal second. He and Kelly Asan, who was hit by a pitch, then scored on Jason Weekly's triple.
The Gaels scored two more runs in the fifth before Hendren was relieved by Jason Frierott. For the second straight day, the Gaels had the answer to Frierott as they scored three runs off the junior right-hander, who was then relieved by sophomore right-hander Pat McMillin.
"We just let them back in the game," said first baseman Jeff Gjerde, who was 2-for-4 on the day. "We'll learn from that and we won't let it happen again."
Arizona got a run in the fifth when John Powers doubled off of Fregi and eventually scored on a fielder's choice.
St. Mary pitcher Aaron Porter, a transfer from the UA who appeared in four games last year for the Wildcats, relieved Fregi, but proceeded to walk five of the seven batters he faced, before being pulled in favor of Gary Hanifen, who closed the game for the Gaels (3-3).
"We shot ourselves in the foot today," Kindall said. "We have to recognize it and deal with it. These are not stupid players."
After a loss, some try to find a scapegoat, but Kindall said that the team as a whole must take the blame for the loss.
"We will not use the excuse that we are young and inexperienced," he said. "The physical errors will happen (Arizona committed three), as I've said many, many times. An aggressive team will commit more errors."
The non-conference competition for the Wildcats does not get easier.
Cal State-Fullerton, fresh off a series victory over top-ranked Stanford will be at Sancet Field Thursday for the first of a three-game series with the Wildcats.
Senior right-hander Ryan Frace (1-1 2.65 ERA), who went 10 innings for the victory in his most recent appearance last Friday, will get the start for Arizona. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m.
The series will be interrupted Saturday for the annual AllPro Alumni game.
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