Arizona missed on several key opportunities early in the game, and was not able to get it going late as Mississippi State took the Hi Corbett Classic finale by a score of 6-4.
Listen: Andy Lopez
Listen: Trent Gilbert
MSU started freshman Dakota Hudson on the mound, and he did not last very long as he gave up two runs in the first and put two more guys on base in the second before being removed from the game.
That's when you knew the Bulldogs were serious about leaving Arizona with at least one win, as they had gone 0-3 up until Sunday.
Think John Cohen wants to leave Arizona with a win? Jonathan Holder coming in to pitch in the second inning with Zona threatening again.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersPG) March 10, 2014
MSU head coach John Cohen brought in star closer Jonathan Holder in the second. Holder was able to escape trouble in the second, third and fourth innings without allowing a single run come across until the 7th.
Holder had the longest outing of his Mississippi State career, going 5 2/3 innings before another star reliever in Jacob Lindgren came on to close out the final 2 1/3 innings for the Bulldogs.
"Those two guys are going to be high draft picks," Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said after the game. "Big time draft picks, especially (Lindgren). That guy's the real deal."
For Arizona on the pitching side, Austin Schnabel started the game for the Wildcats because Cody Moffett is suffering from a case of pneumonia. And Schnabel may have pitched himself into a Sunday starter spot after Tyler Crawford's poor outing earlier in the day.
"He may have earned it," said coach Lopez. "(Crawford)'s gotta go back into his role as a bullpen guy. He was never recruited here to be a starter. He's been doing it by default more than anything. He'll work well out of the pen. But we've gotta find that Sunday guy."
"Schnabel deserves another shot," Lopez continued. "He's a hard-thrower, he's got good stuff, and he does a good job. He has good command of his fastball and he's developing his second and third pitch right now. He's a big, strong kid, and he's a freshman. I like the future. He pitched well tonight."
Another Wildcat who shined Sunday night, and really the entire weekend, was Trent Gilbert. He added another three hits and two RBI on top of his already insane statline coming into the finale.
"He was more up the middle," said Lopez. "Before he was pull-happy, but he just did a better job of staying on the ball. Had really good at bats."
"If there were an MVP of the Hi Corbett Classic, I would vote for Trent Gilbert."
Gilbert was happy with his performance as well, after making a small adjustment during practice on Thursday.
"It was a small adjustment, just shortening it up a bit," he said afterwards. "I was getting too long, and there were some pitches I should have landed on. When I shortened up, I was able to catch up to some fastballs, and stay back longer to adjust to breaking balls."
One scary moment in the game happened in the bottom of the eighth on a pop up into foul territory down the left field line. Both Kevin Newman and Zach Gibbons were giving chase, and after the ball dropped, the two ran into each other, and were both on the ground for a little while. Both stayed in the game, and Gibbons looked like he took the worse of it. Maybe something to look for on Tuesday if one or both of them gets the day off.
Pac-12 season is almost upon us, and Arizona is once again below .500 with a record of 8-9. The Cats have a midweek series against Air Force on Tuesday and Wednesday before Washington State comes to the Old Pueblo next weekend. Tuesday's game starts at 6 PM, and Wednesday is a 1 PM start.