James Farris went out to the mound tonight for his first career start on a Friday. He came back with his shortest outing of the year.
Farris (L, 4-5) threw just 4+ innings, tied for his shortest start of the year (March 29th vs. Utah). Over those four innings he was charged with four earned runs, giving up just three hits, but two walks and two hit batters were the difference.
No. 10 UCLA (32-14, 15-7 PAC-12) scored seven runs in the fifth inning, and went on to win 10-2. Augey Bill replaced Farris with the bases loaded and no outs. He drew a ground ball to second baseman Trent Gilbert, but the throw to second was not in time to allow the second run of the inning. Bill then walked in another run before being replaced by Tyger Talley.
Talley gave up a run on a wild pitch, and then surrendered the crushing blow, a three-run double by Cody Regis to make the score 7-2. Regis also had a three-run double in the seventh inning.
That would pretty much do it for the Wildcats, who drop to 29-18 overall and 10-12 in PAC-12 play. Things aren't looking too good right now as far as postseason hopes are concerned.
In my mind, moving Farris to Friday was more for next weekend at ASU to give the Wildcats better match-ups on the mound with Farris facing Sun Devil Friday starter Trevor Williams, and then Konner Wade facing Ryan Kellogg on Saturday. But moving Farris did give him one less day of rest than he's used to, and that's big at this point of the season.
I also think the bullpen and the freshmen are starting to wear down, with a bunch of guys taking on a work load that far exceeds what they're used to. That showed up today with Augey Bill, who's pitched 24 innings this year in 21 appearances. Compare that to his first two years, where he pitched a total of 21 innings in 22 appearances.
Also, Tyger Talley, who gave up four runs today has now pitched 33 innings in his freshman year over 19 games. The Wildcats are just starting to run out of arms.
Another youth stat from this year. Only 26% of the team's overall starts have been made by upperclassmen. A huge drop from the 53% made by upperclassmen last year. Even though today's only multi-RBI games came from underclassmen Scott Kingery and Jordan Berger.
The Cats look to even the series up tomorrow at 2 PM at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Konner Wade (4-5, 4.22 ERA) will duel against UCLA right-hander Nick Vander Tuig (8-3, 1.84 ERA).