Farris shines in debut as Friday night starter
In his first game as Arizona baseball’s ace senior James Farris led the Wildcats to a 13-1 win despite a slow start.
Farris allowed two triples by the top of the fourth inning but turned his game around to strike out nine in 7.2 innings.
“Farris was outstanding and early in the game he did a good job when the game was close,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “He hung up a couple zeros [despite] giving up a leadoff triple in one inning.”
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Xavier Borde relieved Farris, who left with no one on base and two outs.
Farris was one strikeout shy of his most strikeouts since April 13, 2013.
Lopez said there were mechanical things that went a bit wrong but Farris finished with the help of catcher Riley Moore.
“[Riley] gives me words of encouragement and tells me to relax,” Farris said.
After being a 15th-round draft choice by the Houston Astros after his junior year Farris decided to go return to Arizona.
“He looks great, he has paid his dues,” former UA ace Kurt Heyer said. “I think he made the right decision to come back. He still has something to prove.”
After his first Friday start Farris was pleased with his job and his night on the mound went just how he expected it.
“I expected it to be like this,” Farris said. “I just threw a wrong pitch but that wasn’t suppose to happen.”
Farris went 5-5 last season with an ERA of 4.18 and 73 strikeouts in 99 innings.
Heyer, a former teammate of Farris’, noticed some changes from in Farris’ pitching skills.
“All his stuff looks sharper,” Heyer said. “His fastball looks a bit firmer too. He looks like he’s confident out there and he’s got the poise that you want in a Friday night guy.”
Heyer and Farris won a national championship in 2012.
“I think the Friday night spot is in pretty good hands right now. He sets the tone and he sets the rest of the weekend,” Heyer said.
Lopez said he was proud of Farris’ performance and looking forward to what the rest of the season will look like.
“James Farris was outstanding,” Lopez said. “If anybody knows what he has to do, it’s James. I thought he did a great job.”
—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal