Wildcat baseball falls to Columbia, 8-4
Saturday’s 8-4 loss to Columbia (1-5) at Hi Corbett Field felt odd from the beginning.
Under the weather, head coach Andy Lopez was not in the dugout for No. 16 Arizona (12-5) and gave the reigns to assistant head coach Matt Siegel for the night.
The bad vibes carried into the game, as the Wildcats starting pitcher with the lowest ERA, James Farris (3-1), got off to a slow start, and in the end couldn’t hold a three run lead.
“It felt weird in the dugout not having [Lopez] there,” freshman designated hitter Zach Gibbons said. “But we still got to get the job done.”
Columbia jumped out early against Farris, as they struck for the first run in the opening inning with two singles and a walk.
Farris would settle down after the first inning, retiring 13 of the next 15 batters he faced. However, he would immediately lose it following a four run fifth inning by the Wildcats to take a 4-1 lead, highlighted by a 2 RBI triple by third baseman Brandon Dixon.
The three run lead might have relaxed Farris too much as he would give up two runs in the following half inning and eventually the lead in the seventh inning with two more runs. Farris would be replaced with sophomore Tyler Crawford after giving up the go ahead RBI single.
Farris’ final line was 6.1 innings of work, five earned runs, and walking a career high four batters. The five earned runs also shot up the junior’s ERA from 2.70 to 4.25, now the highest out of the weekend starters.
Saturday would also not be Crawford’s night, as the reliable lefty would allow three more runs in before senior Stephen Manthei would come in for relief with two outs in the seventh inning trailing 8-4.
Manthei held the Lions’ batters to one hit in 2.1 innings of work, but it was too late. Arizona batters seemed defeated following the five run inning by Columbia. No Wildcat batters reached base in the final three innings of the game.
Sunday, the Wildcats will look to win their final non-conference weekend series, as freshman Cody Moffett will get the start in the rubber match against the Lions.
“I think we’re playing really good right now and we’re ready for conference play,” Gibbons said. “But we got to consistently manufacture runs on offense more if we want to compete. “