TUCSON, Ariz. (Apr. 27, 2012) – Already leading the contest 3-0 through two innings, the 11th ranked Arizona (27-13) baseball team exploded to combine for 19 runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to earn the series opening victory over ETSU, 24-7, Friday night at Hi Corbett Field.
The Wildcats pounded out a season-high 25 hits, while the 24 runs were also a season-high. Arizona also broke a school record with six triples in the contest, while the combined seven triples in the game tied an NCAA record.
Arizona starting pitcher Kurt Heyer (8-1) earned the victory despite allowing a season-high 12 hits and six earned runs, while striking out nine. Meanwhile, ETSU starter Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) fell to 2-6 on the season after giving up 14 hits and 11 runs in three innings.
Johnny Field led the Wildcats with a 5-for-6 night at the plate, while scoring three runs and driving in four. Shortstop Alex Mejia had two triples, a double and four RBI. Third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean delivered three hits in the contest and scored four runs. Meanwhile, designated hitter Bobby Brown was a home run short of the cycle as he hit two triples, a double, scored four runs and drove in a career-high six runs.
ETSU sophomore Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) led the Bucs at the plate by going 3-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI. Freeman has now reached base in 35 straight games. Meanwhile, Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) (2-for-4, RBI), Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) (2-for-5), Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2-for-5) and Cory Betterson (Atlanta, Ga.) (2-for-3) each had two hits on the night.
Arizona jumped out front with three runs on four hits in the first inning. Field led off the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third on a balk. Two batters later with one-out in the inning, Robert Refsnyder drilled an RBI double off the wall in left center to give the Wildcats the early lead. Then, with two-outs, Brown drew a walk and later stole second to put two runners in scoring position. Riley Moore followed with a two-run single to center field – giving Arizona a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats’ scoring explosion really got started in the third, fourth and fifth innings as they plated five runs in the third, nine runs in the fourth and five more in the fifth. Arizona plated the five runs in the third on five hits including an RBI double by Brown and a two-run triple by Alex Mejia. The Wildcats plated nine runs on nine hits in the fourth, which included two triples and a double. Arizona pushed across five more runs on two hits and two ETSU errors.
ETSU pushed across a combined five runs in the middle innings. In the fourth inning, ETSU scored two runs on four hits. The Bucs scored both runs on a two-run single to right field by Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.). After Freeman led off the inning with a base-hit, the next two Buccaneer batters were retired. Then, Doane and Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) recorded back-to-back hits before Riopedre lined the 1-1 pitch into right field for a two-run single.
Betterson led off the fifth with a triple to right center and scored on a Green single to center. The Bucs added another run in the inning on a bases loaded walk by Niesman – making the score 17-4.
The Bucs added another run in the sixth on a Freeman RBI double. With one-out in the inning, Betterson recorded his second hit of the night and later advanced into scoring position on a ground out. Freeman delivered a RBI double down to right center to plate Betterson.
Freeman capped off the ETSU scoring in the eighth inning with a two-run double down the left field line – scoring Green and Skyler Barnett (Johnson City, Tenn.), who recorded back-to-back two-out singles.
Arizona added a run in both the seventh and eighth inning to close out the scoring.
Game two of the series between ETSU and Arizona will begin at 7:00 p.m. (ET) tomorrow. ETSU will send senior right-hander John Long (Anderson, S.C.) (5-4, 4.17 ERA) to the mound to face Arizona righty Konner Wade (5-1, 3.84 ERA).
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.