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Arizona baseball knocks off Texas State to open series

arizona-wildcats-college-baseball-texas-state-bobcats-2022-nichols-otremba-susac-pac12 Arizona Athletics

After striking out 13 times in a 10-inning win on Tuesday, Arizona coach Chip Hale was adamant about putting his hitters through drills that would cut down on those swings and misses.

The Wildcats struck out 10 more times on Friday, but when they did make contact the results tended to be good.

Arizona’s first five hits were doubles, while it also took advantage of four Texas State throwing errors in a 7-2 win at Hi Corbett Field.

“I think when you put the ball in play, good things always happen,” said Tanner O’Tremba, who had two doubles and three RBI, giving him 15 for the season. “I think we’ve built our identity around being able to put the ball in play and trying to limit strikeouts and have team at-bats.”

The UA (9-1) had eight hits and drew six walks, but it also had three batters reach when throws to 1st base were offline, and in two of those cases runs came in to score on the play.

“That’s the whole point, when you put the ball in play, either team—they did a good job, too—you’re gonna force guys to throw the ball,” Hale said. “The wind’s blowing like crazy, it does funny things in the wind. We were able to put the ball in play more and make them make some mistakes.”

Catcher Daniel Susac had two more doubles, giving him eight after setting a school freshman record with 24 in 2021, and scored four times.

That was more than enough run support for sophomore right-hander TJ Nichols, who threw a career-best 6 2/3 innings. Nichols (2-0) allowed four hits and three walks with an unearned run—Arizona had two errors, giving it 14 in 10 games—as well as six strikeouts.

“He got up to 100-some pitches, so that’s good for us for next week,” Hale said of Nichols, who lowered his ERA to 1.08.

Arizona and Texas State (8-2) meet again Saturday at 6 p.m. MT, with lefty Garrett Irvin (1-0, 1.80) starting for the Wildcats.