Loss to Texas Tech a lesson for Arizona baseball coaches
Head coach Andy Lopez has said all year long that one run should be enough, and Wednesday afternoon’s 5-2 loss to Texas Tech (8-6) at Hi Corbett Field gave No. 16 Arizona’s (11-4) coaches a better idea of who can be counted on to come in with a one-run lead.
In his first career start, freshman Tyger Talley (0-0) got no run or bullpen support, and despite pitching a no-hitter through 5.0 innings, ending the day with a no decision.
In the seventh inning, Talley gave up his second hit of the game to the lead-off hitter and then was relieved by senior Augey Bill (2-0). Bill struck out his only batter before being replaced by senior Nick Cunningham (0-2). Following Bill, the Red Raiders broke the game open with a five-run seventh inning.
“[Talley] hit his spots and had great command,” Lopez said.
Carl Miller / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Baseball wins against Texas Tech 6-2 in the first of a two-game series this week. Their second game will take place today at 1pm at Hi Corbett Field.
Talley was pulled because of the coaches’ decision to keep his arm at a low pitch count. He finished the game with 76 pitches.
After the game, Lopez said he made the switch because of the matchup and the need to give other guys an opportunity to prove their reliability. He made it very clear after that the young arms were outplaying many of the seniors, and even though he’d love to see the older guys succeed, as it stands now, all of them except Bill will be sitting come the start of Pac-12 play.
“I tell my guys all the time, I love my wife but I’m not bringing her out to pitch in the seventh or eighth inning,” Lopez said.
Prior to the five-run seventh, the Wildcats had a 1-0 lead, but could have had a larger lead if they hadn’t failed on multiple chances. In the fifth inning, Arizona failed to score despite having its number three and four hitters, Johnny Field and Brandon Dixon, up to bat with only one out. Texas Tech starting pitcher Johnathon Tripp (0-0) resolved the problem by getting Field to pop out and Dixon to strike out.
“We just didn’t get it done today,” Dixon said. ”We didn’t make it happen. Field got the pitch he was sitting on, but just missed it. And I had a bad at-bat.”
Talley’s no-hitter was broken up with no outs in the sixth inning when lead-off hitter Zach Davis singled to right center. Before Davis’ single, only two Texas Tech batters had reached base, both walked. Neither of the runners appeared to affect the freshman, as no Red Raider reached second base while Talley was on the mound.
“I was locating my fastball, my off speed was working and I had great location,” Talley said about his start. “I obviously didn’t want to come out, but it was the coaches’ decision and I want to do whatever’s best for the team.”
Talley was pulled with no outs in the seventh inning. Preceeding Talley, Bill, Cunningham, senior Stephen Manthei, redshirt freshman Xavier Borde and senior Tyler Hale all saw action in the inning.
“Talley was phenomenal,” Lopez said. “Both Talley and [Freshman] Cody Moffett have been excellent for us in the past week.”
Wednesday’s loss was good and bad for Lopez. He didn’t want to lose, but he needed to see if some of the older guys could be counted on in the future.
Now, after splitting the two-game series with Texas Tech, Lopez is satisfied with where his pitching staff is headed. Underclassmen like Tyler Crawford, Moffett (who Lopez announced would start Sunday’s game against Columbia) and now Talley have shown Lopez that they can come in to hold an offense and get to closer Mathew Troupe.
“We won a national championship with five arms,” Lopez said about the depth of his young bullpen. “I would really like to see the seniors perform, but sometimes you don’t get what you want.”
Arizona will be back in action Friday night as it starts a three game series with Columbia (0-4).