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Arizona dominates UMass Lowell in first game of Saturday’s doubleheader

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Arizona vs Oklahoma State Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

A chilly day in Tucson couldn’t cool down the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday as they continued their scorching hot start to the season against UMass Lowell, winning 18-4 in the first game of a doubleheader.

After winning 12-4 and scoring four runs in the first inning last night, Arizona (2-0) outdid itself by by scoring 10 runs in the first inning Saturday.

UMass starting pitcher Henry Funaro only lasted 2/3 of an inning. His issues began early when he threw 10 balls in his first 12 pitches. After walking the bases loaded, a potential double play ball looked to bail out Funaro, but an error let the inning continue.

The Wildcats jumped on the opportunity. Junior first baseman Matthew Dyer homered and, after a couple more baserunners reached base, Funaro’s day was done after just 33 pitches.

His reliever, Sean O’Neil, did not have much more success. After inheriting the runners from Funaro, the graduate pitcher allowed a single, double, and homer over the next three batters before getting Nick Quintana to make the final out.

O’Neil stayed in the game for 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three more runs.

UA designated hitter Ryan Holgate went 2 for 3 with four RBI. Second baseman Cameron Cannon had three doubles and knocked in two runs. Matt Fraizer went 2 for 3 with two RBI in the leadoff spot.

Unlike UMass, Arizona’s pitching was spectacular. Starter Andrew Nardi was a force on the mound. After being given a 10-run cushion, he cruised through his five innings of work. He fanned nine batters and only needed 64 pitches to do it. Nardi hit a speed bump in the fourth when he allowed two runs, but showed the makings of dominant Saturday starter behind Randy Labaut.

Freshman Randy Abshier made his colligate debut in relief of Nardi, as did several other freshmen, thanks to the lopsided score. Abshier immediately surrendered a homer, but settled down and did not allow another run. He even got a save thanks to working more than three innings in relief.

Arizona’s offense woke up again in the seventh, when senior Justin Wiley worked an eight-pitch walk with the bases loaded. After a wild pitch, the next batter, freshman Kobe Kato, hit a two-run triple in his first-ever at-bat. He would later score on a wild pitch.

While there were 22 total runs, 19 total hits, three total errors, and 11 total walks, the game concluded before the three-hour mark.

Arizona will look to continue its dominant ways when game two of the doubleheader commences at 6 p.m. MST.