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Arizona baseball falls to Charleston in series finale

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In a slow-moving Sunday matinee game, the Arizona Wildcats were beaten 10-6 by College of Charleston at Hi Corbett Field.

The loss, which came in the finale of a three-game series, dropped the Wildcats to 10-6 overall and 4-4 on their 13-game homestand. Arizona had beaten the Cougars in the first two games.

UA coach Jay Johnson tried to remain upbeat after the defeat but couldn’t hide some of his disappointment.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t (disappointed),” he said afterward.

Unlike a majority of their losses this year, where the defense was to blame, the Wildcats’ pitching was the main reason for Sunday’s defeat.

Arizona’s starter, junior Vince Vannelle, only recorded one out in the top of the first before being taken out by Johnson. This put the Wildcats’ bullpen in a tough situation the rest of the way, as they would be forced to record 26 outs in the game.

Arizona used seven relievers once Vannelle was removed.

Andrew Nardi did well to limit the damage to one run in the first, and when Arizona responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame, it looked like the Wildcats might be able to blow things open and sweep the series.

Things didn’t play out that way however, and after allowing eight walks and 15 hits to the Cougars’ batters, Arizona was unable to grab a third straight victory. Nardi took the loss.

Trailing 3-1 in the top of the third inning, after two RBIs from Matt Fraizer and one from Austin Wells had momentarily put the Wildcats ahead, Charleston grabbed five runs off of Nardi and an ineffective Gil Luna to retake the lead at 6-3.

Arizona was never ahead in the game again.

The Wildcats were able to hang around in the contest, after another three-plus innings of strong relief from Bryce Collins, coupled with two RBIs from preseason All-American Nick Quintana and another from Dayton Dooney.

But with the score 7-6, the Cougars scored three more runs in the top of the eighth inning, padding their lead to four.

The loss was very disappointing for Arizona, who could have used a sweep, but it was good to see the team playing better defensively after recent struggles. Preseason All-American Cameron Cannon, in particular, was much better in the field on Sunday.

Johnson tried to stay focused on the positive side of things after the disappointing defeat.

“I think there were some positives,” he said. “I think Cameron played really well defensively. It was nice to see Jacob (Blas) back and Nick got a couple of a good swing later in the game. We’ll continue to be positive and do what we can to fill the team with the right mind set.”

Blas, Arizona’s shortstop to begin the season, had missed several games while away from the team for personal reasons.

After taking two of three from the Cougars, the Wildcats will look to build some momentum before conference play starts on Friday when they host Xavier on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MST.

Here is Arizona baseball head coach Jay Johnson, after today’s dissapointing 10-6 loss to the College of Charleston Cougars:

Posted by AZ Desert Swarm on Sunday, March 10, 2019