If Friday night felt like a dream for Arizona, Saturday afternoon was when it woke up back in reality.
The Wildcats couldn’t carry over the momentum of their big opening-night win over No. 2 Tennessee, falling 5-0 to Fresno State in the MLB Desert Invitational at Sloan Park in Mesa.
The UA had six hits but were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10 runners. It had someone on base in seven of nine innings but couldn’t produce in clutch situations.
Arizona had runners on 2nd and 3rd in the bottom of the second and sixth innings, only to have the next batter strike out each time. It also had two on and two out in the seventh for slugger Chase Davis, but with the count at 2-2 Davis was called out on an automatic strike due to not being in the batter’s box in time.
Among the new rules in college baseball this season is one that requires batters to be in the box by a certain point in the 20-second clock for pitchers to throw.
Tony Bullard was the lone bright spot offensively, going 2 for 3 with two doubles. He had a solo home run against Tennessee ace Chase Dollander in Friday’s 3-1 win.
Right-hander Tonko Susac went six innings for Arizona, allowing three runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts. He worked with men on quite a bit, allowing two runs in the top of the first and another in the fourth but minimized the damage before handing it over to redshirt freshman lefty Jackson Kent, who tossed the final three frames and allowed five hits along with a 2-run homer in the eighth.
Arizona returns to action Sunday at 6 p.m. MT against Michigan State at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, then wraps up the tourney at 1 p.m. MT Monday at Sloan Park against UC-San Diego.