Arizona baseball finishes Hi Corbett Classic with two losses
After a successful start in the opening two days of the Hi Corbett Classic, Arizona baseball slowed down on Sunday.
The Wildcats (8-9) lost 10-2 to UC Santa Barbara (10-2) in game one Sunday, and later on in the evening fell 6-4 to No. 10 Mississippi State (12-7). Losing the second contest to the defending national runner-up Bulldogs dropped the UA back to below .500.
“This has been like being in the Bahamas for the last five or six days,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “This is exactly what my cardiologist ordered. … This is exactly what I signed up for; we’re headed in the right direction.”
In the game against the Gauchos, Arizona lefty Tyler Crawford (1-3) had another unsuccessful start, lasting just 0.1 innings and surrendering five earned runs on two hits and a pair of walks. He even surrendered a grand slam to Gauchos first baseman, Tyler Kuresa, who finished the game 2-for-4 at the dish with six RBIs and a trio of runs scored.
Sophomore outfielder Scott Kingery runs to first base during Arizona's 10-5 victory against UC Santa Barbara during game four of the Hi Corbett Classic on Saturday. Arizona won its first two games in the classic but dropped its next two.
Lopez said the performance will strip Crawford of his Sunday starter spot and he will be moved back to the bullpen.
“He [Crawford] was never recruited here to be a starter,” Lopez said. “He’s been doing it [starting] by default more than anything and he’s a good guy; he’ll work well out of the ‘pen.”
Pitching wasn’t the only reason the Wildcats weren’t competitive against UCSB on Sunday. The four, five and six hitters in the batting lineup were a combined 0-13 and stranded six of Arizona’s 13 runners left on base.
Following a short break in between the two games, the UA showed more life in game two against MSU.
Freshman right-hander Austin Schnabel made his first career start for the Wildcats and lasted 5.1 innings. Even though he gave up four earned runs, Lopez said he was impressed and will likely take over as the new Sunday starter.
“He’s [Schnabel] is a hard thrower; he throws about 88-90 [miles per hour],” Lopez said. “He’s got good command of his fastball and is developing a second and third pitch right now… He’s a freshman, so I like the future of him, too.”
After going hitless in five at-bats against UC Santa Barbara in the first Sunday game, junior second baseman Trent Gilbert bounced back with a 3-for-4, two runs batted in performance. He finished the tournament with 11 hits in 19 at-bats with 10 runs batted in, six runs scored and his first career home run.
Lopez even said if there were an MVP award given out for the HiC Classic, he would give it to Gilbert.
“It was a small adjustment; just shortened up a little bit,” Gilbert said. “I was getting too long and was missing some pitches I should’ve landed on, so when I shortened up I was able to capitalize on some fast balls and stay back longer.”
Next up for Arizona is Air Force (4-8) on Tuesday. First pitch from Hi Corbett Field will be at 6 p.m.
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo