Arizona baseball routs Rice in first road game

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Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat Left-handed pitcher, Randy Labaut (#17) during the game vs UMass-Lowell on February 15th. The wildcats won the night with the score of 12-4.

After posting a 10-13 record on the road last year, the Arizona baseball team wasted no time in showing their struggles from last year may be behind them. The University of Arizona's first road contest came Wednesday night at Reckling Park against the Owls of Rice University.

The Wildats were able to sweep the UMass Lowell River Hawks last weekend at Hi Corbett field, starting the 2019 season 4-0. Their home stand landed the ‘Cats the No. 24 spot on Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s first regular-season poll. 

The ‘Cats were able to keep the momentum going, scoring early and often against the Owls and driving in runs in each of the first three innings, capped off by a two-run bomb to right field by sophomore Donta Williams in the top of the fifth. After that, Arizona never looked back, defeating Rice 16-5. 

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After a light relief load during Sunday’s contest against the River Hawks, the Wildcats went with Avery Weems for his first start of the season on Wednesday night. Weems was able to display his composure on the mound as he forced Rice batters to hit 1-5 with runners in scoring position. He finished his night throwing five innings, giving up four hits, with two runs, striking out four hitters and allowing two walks before he was pulled in the bottom of the sixth leaving one on. 

Following a rocky relief effort from junior Vince Vanelle, who survived just two batters and leaving the bases loaded with no outs, the Wildcats called on freshman and Tucson native George Arias Jr. in the bottom of the sixth. Arias Jr. was able to get out of the jam, only allowing Weems' runner to score. Arias Jr. pitched just two innings, allowing one run and striking out two hitters. The Wildcats used a combination of sophomore Zach Sherman and freshman Randy Abisher to close out the Owls in the final two innings.      

The Wildcats were able to receive contributions from their young core, freshmen Austin Wells, Ryan Holgate and Matt Dyer combined for seven hits and six runs batted in on top of the two-run bomb from Williams in the fifth. 

Junior Cameron Cannon was able to continue his hot start to the 2019 season, extending his hitting streak to five games. Cannon had four hits, scoring twice and driving in one run. This game also marks Cannon’s fifth consecutive game with a double. After this outing, Cannon is now batting .632, which has him ranked third for batting average in the Pac-12.   

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The ‘Cats displayed why they are one of the best hitting team in the Pac-12, leading the Pac-12 in home runs, runs batted in, walks drawn and batting average. They scored 16 runs on 17 hits, with 11 of their 16 runs being RBIs.

Arizona will travel up the road to Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park, where it will look to push its winning streak to six games. The UA is set to play game one of the three-game series against the University of Houston on Friday at 5:30 p.m.   


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