Manthei sloppy but Arizona baseball gets the sweep
Augey Bill cleans up the mess
Despite an imperfect start to the game, No. 10 Arizona (3-0) ended up coming away with the three-game home sweep of Coppin State (0-3) after defeating the Eagles 13-9 Sunday afternoon at Hi Corbett field.
“It was a good win, but we obviously still have some questions that need to be answered,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “Stephen [Manthei] obviously didn’t pitch the way he needs to pitch to be a Sunday starter but he’ll get another opportunity.”
All series long, the Wildcats’ offense has exploded off Eagle lapses. On Sunday, the Wildcats’ offense still managed to put up 13 runs, meager pitching by Arizona made the afternoon’s contest a tight one.
“[Manthei] was very very sloppy, poor location,” Lopez said about his new Sunday starter. ”Both Manthei and [reliever Tyler] Hale did a poor, poor job of locating their fastball more than anything. When you do that you put a strain on yourself.”
In only his second career start, first since 2010, the redshirt junior Manthei struggled with his location after blowing past Eagle batters in the first inning. In the end, Manthei’s second and third inning grind would cost him a decision, as he would only go 3.0 innings with just 13 batters faced.
The right-handed starter threw 48 pitches in the three innings and gave up four earned runs on three hits. Lopez, who has coached some of the best NCAA statistical pitching staffs of all time, understands that if you pitch well, everything else will fall in place.
“When you pitch well, it feels good,” Lopez said. “When you don’t pitch well, I don’t care how many runs you score it’s still going to feel ugly and sloppy.”
Hale came in for relief of Manthei in the fourth inning and, thanks to a five-run first inning by Arizona, had a comfortable 9-4 lead to work with. But after giving up two singles, a walk, a hit by pitch, a wild pitch, an inside-the-park grand slam and the five run lead in just .2 innings, Hale would get the quick hook.
Lopez would turn to his other senior relief pitcher, Augey Bill (1-0), who would clean up the game by going a career high 3.1 innings and only allowing one hit before walking off the field to a standing ovation by the 2,680 fans in attendance. Bill would eventually get the win.
“I felt really good and fresh today,” Bill said. “I was just trying to pound it in the zone and throw strikes and keep us in the game because I knew our offense would score more runs.”
The defending champs responded to every Eagle offensive attack by scoring and immediately taking back momentum. Lopez also saw sophomore closer Mathew Troupe dominate in his first appearance of the season.
Troupe earned his first save of the season after being handed the ball in the eighth inning and striking out all four Eagle batters he faced, only once falling behind in the count.
On Tuesday, Arizona will travel to California to start a two game series against Long Beach State, a program that has struggled as of late and will be coming off a tough three-game road series with No. 2 Vanderbilt. However, unlike Coppin State, don’t expect the Dirtbags to hit or walk 37 Wildcat batters.
Lopez has already chosen senior Nick Cunningham to start Tuesday and sophomore Tyler Crawford to start the Wednesday game.
“I think we’re a good team I just want to make sure we keep getting better,” Lopez said.