In the shakiest game of the year, Arizona (3-0) prevailed 13-9 over Coppin State (0-3), sweeping the Eagles in the first series of the 2013 season.
Stephen Manthei got the start on the mound for Arizona, and definitely did not fare as well as Konner Wade and James Farris had on Friday and Saturday.
Manthei lasted just three innings, giving up 4 runs, on 3 hits, but also walked 2 guys and hit one more. Tyler Hale came on in the fourth, and did not even survive the inning. He gave up 5 runs in two thirds of an inning, including an inside-the-park grand slam by Coppin State shortstop David Hamlett. The grand slam was the first Coppin State home run in their last 58 games. The Eagles hit zero home runs in 2012.
"If you don't throw strikes in this yard, you should be punished" said Coach Andy Lopez
"Both Manthei and Hale did a poor poor job of locating their fastball more than anything."
Augey Bill (1-0) came in with two outs in the fourth and saved the day for Arizona. He went a career long 3 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit.
After that, Tyler Crawford and Matthew Troupe (S, 1) closed out the game, not allowing any hits by Coppin State over the final two innings.
"Didn't feel good for the first five innings or so because we didn't pitch good" said Coach Lopez.
"I was pounding the zone throwing strikes, trying to keep us in there so we could win the game" said Augey Bill.
"My fastball location was good today, I was moving it in and out and my cutter was really effective, keeping it down in the zone."
"We have a lot more depth on the pitching staff this year compared to last year."
The Eagles' Anderson Burgess was the first lefty the Wildcats have seen this year, and it gave us a new lineup, which included junior college transfer Sam Parris at first base in place of Ryan Koziol. Koziol did eventually enter the game in the 5th inning after Parris picked up his first two hits of the year.
Overall, the game had a lot of bad baserunning by both teams. A lot of players getting picked off, careless mistakes all over the place. Arizona had 3 runners caught stealing, and could have been more had it not been for some favorable calls by the umpires.
Arizona's offensive production was very spread out once again; every starter except Tyler Parmenter recorded a hit. Seven different Wildcats drove in a run on Sunday.
"We have some questions that have to be answered in the next couple weeks, obviously in Sunday starter....Stephen will get another opportunity I'm sure" said Lopez after the game.
"Once Augey Bill got in it sort of soothed everything."
Arizona takes to the road this week, playing Long Beach State on Tuesday and Wednesday at Blair Field. The Wildcats will throw Nick Cunningham (0-0) on Tuesday, and Tyler Crawford (0-0) on Wednesday.