Crawford gets shelled in first start of the season
Things got ugly Saturday at Hi Corbett Field, fast. But that would be expected in a 14-5 game that lasted around three hours.
It took Arizona (1-1) three pitchers and almost 45 minutes to escape the top of the first.
Kent State (1-1) looked as if it were taking batting practice that inning, jumping out to an 11-0 lead on nine hits and batting around the order.
“The first inning was the ball game,” UA head coach Andy Lopez said. “It’s okay if you got Jerry Rice or Terrell Owens, but it’s tough to chase 11 runs.”
After a magnificent outing the previous night from James Farris, southpaw Tyler Crawford gave the Wildcats just a third of an inning. The junior surrendered seven runs that were all earned on five hits and beaned a pair of batters.
In a matter of eight batters faced and 25 total pitches, Lopez had seen enough of his starter.
“I thought [Crawford] was very noncompetitive, not much presence,” Lopez said. “He didn’t look like a starter, that’s for sure.”
Nathan Bannister was brought in to relieve Crawford and got shelled as well. The sophomore lasted only a third of an inning himself, giving up four runs on as many hits.
Once Bannister was pulled for Cody Moffett, the Wildcats pitching settled down a bit.
Following Bannister was Moffett, Luke Soroko, Mathew Troupe and Morgan Earman, who combined for 8.1 frames, three runs allowed on eight hits, a couple walks and six strikeouts.
Troupe, who pitched two shutout innings and had four strikeouts, said it was just the second time he’s taken the mound since being shut down with a back injury in October.
“I just have to keep throwing more curves and fastballs until it’s second nature again,” Troupe said. “It kind of felt like I started on square one all over again, so it’ll be good to get back to how it was back in the day.”
Shortstop Kevin Newman hit a trio of singles in four at bats and drove in three of Arizona’s five runs. Third basemen Cody Ramer was also a bright spot in the UA lineup, singling twice in four at bats with a walk and a run scored.
Tomorrow, the Wildcats will face the Golden Flashes for a rubber match. First pitch of the Sunday matinee is scheduled for noon at Hi Corbett Field.
“We’re going to come out here with a mindset that we’re ready to win, and we can win,” Newman said. “Tonight, we obviously got off to a terrible start, and from there it was down hill. Tomorrow’s a new day; we just need to flush tonight and come out tomorrow ready to win.”
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo