Baseball: Crawford's bittersweet start has sour end
After winning in five extra innings on Tuesday night, Arizona played an extra inning yesterday and was defeated by Utah Valley 5-2.
“[Utah Valley] did a good job; they did outstanding,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “They scored all their runs with two outs. You have to give credit when credit is due. They did a marvelous job with two outs.”
With two outs and one runner on in the 10th inning, the Wolverines put together three hits in a row to score three runs and eventually win the game.
On Saturday, Arizona starting pitcher Tyler Crawford struggled in his first start of the season. Crawford pitched just a third of an inning on Saturday and gave up seven earned runs.
Tyler Crawford pitches during Arizona's 5-2 loss against the Utah Valley Wolverines at Hi Corbett Field on Wednesday.
However, Lopez let the junior have a redemption start yesterday. Crawford started the game and went 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts and gave up two runs on 73 pitches.
Lopez was impressed by Crawford’s start and called it “a bright side” to yesterday’s game. For Crawford, he was just happy to get over Saturday’s fiasco, but pitching midweek games isn’t where he wants to be.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Crawford said. “It feels good to come out here and have success, but at the same time it’s disappointing that I’m having to do this on a Wednesday and not on the weekend.”
According to Lopez, Crawford did exactly what he needed to do in keeping the ball balanced. Lopez said Crawford was down on the zone and his pitches were consistent.
Being a starter during the weekend is Crawford’s main goal after Wednesday’s performance.
“I just have to keep going out there and do my job, and my chance will come,” Crawford said.
This two-game series allowed Lopez to look more into the pitching rotation and make some changes this early in the season.
“It’s early in the season, and for me it’s always been three basic things: have a plan, get them ready and then play the right guys,” Lopez said. “That’s the process we’re going through right now.”
Offensively, Arizona had nine hits yesterday.
In the ninth inning, trailing by one, freshman Bobby Dalbec hit his first home run of the season to tie the game.
Although Lopez thought the offense did its job, Dalbec gave credit to the defense, especially the pitching staff.
“I thought Crawford came out really strong,” Dalbec said. “Our offense didn’t really execute. We needed to have better at bats.”
Lopez said he’s been seeing good things offensively coming from Dalbec.
Dalbec has had five hits during his last four games, including his home run.
“It’s a good feeling to get it off my back and hopefully there’s more to come,” Dalbec said.
Arizona will host Alcorn State this Friday for the first game of a three-game series.
—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal