Arizona baseball notebook: Three important moments from first game of double-header against UMass Lowell
Arizona faced off against UMass Lowell in its second matchup of the four-game series and left no doubt from the beginning all the way through to the last out, winning by a score of 18-4. Here are a couple moments that defined the first of two games on Saturday at Hi Corbett.
Arizona gets off to a hot start again:
After getting off to a 4-0 lead through one inning in yesterday’s season opener, the Wildcats started where they left off, plating 10 runs in just the first inning. It was tough to watch for the opposition, as UMass Lowell’s starter Henry Funaro lasted just 2/3 of an inning. His stat line looked much worse on paper than it really was, however, as only one of the seven runs that he allowed were earned.
After Nick Quintana grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and nobody out to plate the Wildcats' first run of the game, the next batter, Austin Wells, reached on a throwing error by UMass Lowell shortstop Mark Tumosa.
Everything went downhill from there for the River Hawks, as Funaro hit the next batter in Donta Williams before Branden Boissiere and Jacob Blas both drew walks. At that point, the day was over for the starter as Sean O’Neil entered the game out of the bullpen. It didn’t get much better for him though, as he gave up three consecutive hits, capped off with a 3-run bomb to Ryan Holgate that hit the top of the batter’s eye.
Arizona gets another quality start from starter:
After Randy Labaut notched a quality start in yesterday’s season opening win, Andrew Nardi pitched another quality start for the Wildcats. After retiring the first nine batters in order through three innings, Nardi got into a little trouble in the fourth inning, where he allowed the three hits and two runs he surrendered for the game. The Wildcats already held a big 12-0 lead going into the inning, so you could tell Nardi was still pitching confidently at the time. He bounced back the following inning, striking out the side.
Nardi finished the night throwing five innings, while allowing three hits, two runs, and striking out nine hitters to only one walk. Outside of the fourth inning, Nardi retired every batter he faced. It was another interesting decision from coach Jay Johnson, which entailed taking the starter out early on a fairly low pitch count.
After Labaut was taken out through five innings on 70 pitches last night, Nardi was in a similar situation after having thrown just 64 pitches before being replaced by Randy Abshier in the sixth inning.
Speaking to the media about this situation after last night’s win, coach Jay Johnson stated, “I liked the thought of being able to keep his pitch count down. It’s a long year and Randy [Labaut] is a critical part of our team. I thought this would be a good time to take him out early.”
It appeared Johnson took a similar approach with Nardi in his first start of the season this afternoon.
Cameron Cannon continuing where he left off last season:
After being named as the second-best second baseman in the country before the season began, Cameron Cannon certainly hasn’t disappointed so far this season. After hitting .321 last season, Cannon has now compiled five hits over seven at-bats through two games this season. He has added on three runs driven in, five runs scored, and four doubles as well to his hot start to this 2019 campaign. If the Wildcats are to make a run at the NCAA tournament this season, it will have to be led by the bats of Cannon and Quintana.
Follow Ari Koslow on Twitter