Arizona baseball splits weekday series with Long Beach State
No. 10 Arizona (4-1) split its mid-week double-header series with Long Beach State (2-3) on Wednesday afternoon. The Wildcats had their first road game of the season scheduled for Tuesday night, but due to rain in the eighth inning, the end of the game was postponed until Wednesday.
After what head coach Andy Lopez called a “sloppy performance” from his Sunday senior pitcher Stephen Manthei, the spot in the starting rotation was open for senior Nick Cunningham (0-1) if he took advantage of his second career start Tuesday night. But after laboring his way through four innings and giving up four earned runs, Lopez had seen enough. He replaced the senior with freshman relief pitcher Tyger Talley in the fifth inning. Cunningham’s final line was 4.0 innings pitched, seven hits and four earned runs and he left the game with Arizona trailing 5-1.
Cunningham’s replacements, Talley, Augey Bill and Cody Moffett, kept the Wildcats close, while the bats of Arizona progressively chipped away at the four-run deficit to make it a 5-4 game at the time of postponement.
Wednesday, Arizona resumed action, but only had one more opportunity for a comeback, and ended up losing 5-4. The loss snaps a 14 game-winning streak for the Wildcats that dates back to May 26 of last year.
The second game began shortly after the first, with sophomore pitcher Tyler Crawford getting the start on the mound for Arizona. Crawford got more run support than Cunningham, as the Wildcats’ offense struck for three runs off six hits in the first four innings and led 3-1 going into the sixth.
Crawford and the Wildcats maintained their 3-1 lead into the sixth, when Lopez called upon Manthei to redeem his previous appearance. The Sunday starter, in for relief, stopped a late-inning rally by the Dirtbags and got three more outs without any damage before handing the ball over to sophomore closer Mathew Troupe, who secured the 3-1 victory.