Baseball sweeps No. 2 Stanford
Wildcats keep pace in Pac-12 race, remain tied for 1st with UCLA
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Riding the momentum of a Friday comeback victory, Arizona starters Konner Wade and James Farris threw back-to-back complete games on Saturday and Sunday as the No. 8 Arizona baseball team swept the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal over the weekend at Hi Corbett Field.
The weekend marked the first time that Arizona had swept Stanford since 1993.
“It was a great weekend for our guys, I’m happy for them,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “They played well, I’m really thankful for the crowds that came out the whole weekend.”
Along with Friday starter Kurt Heyer, Arizona (21-7, 7-2) pitching staff allowed only five earned runs and 19 hits through the three-game series against a highly touted Stanford (16-6, 2-4) offense.
Lopez had only praise for his pitchers, but admitted that he’ll still be thinking about the Stanford hitters for some time.
“I’m really thankful for the way we pitched this weekend,” Lopez said. “I’m probably gonna have nightmares about Stanford’s hitters for the next two weeks before I get them out of my system, they’re big, strong, physical guys.”
Maybe the Arizona hitters should stay on Stanford head coach Mark Marquess’ mind instead.
The Wildcat bats chased the Cardinal this weekend with 36 hits. Coming into the weekend, Stanford had only given up 133 hits over 19 games. The Cardinal pitching staff had only allowed 10 or more hits three times entering the weekend, but the Wildcats reached double-digit hits in each game.
Arizona also hit for a team average of .371 over the three contests.
On Sunday, right fielder Robert Refsnyder became only the second Arizona player to homer at Hi Corbett this season. It was also his first long ball of the year.
Coming into Sunday, Refsnyder was only hitting 1-for-9 in the series, but with two outs in the top of the fifth, he jacked one to left field, giving the Wildcats the 5-2 lead.
“All the guys we’re kind of joking about it,” Refsnyder said. “How I had a goose egg in home runs since I had six (last year).”
Refsnyder admitted he was a little skeptical that the ball was even going out.
“At (Sancet Stadium) it was going to be a no doubter off the bat,” he said. “At Hi Corbett, once the ball gets passed the infield, it hangs up a little bit.”
Despite the offensive success throughout the weekend, the sweep belongs to Arizona’s pitching staff.
On Friday, Heyer gave up only two earned runs and struck out 11 Cardinal batters. In Konner Wade’s outing on Saturday, the sophomore only gave up three hits while tossing a complete game.
James Farris managed to retire 14 straight Stanford batters and didn’t allow a leadoff hit throughout the entire contest.
“It’s starting to become a competition between us who can throw the best, who can get the most wins,” Farris said after Sunday’s game. “I’m glad that we came out and did what we did.”
The top-10 matchup brought 10,656 fans through the gates of Hi Corbett Field.
It was the highest recorded weekend attendance for Arizona since May of 1992, when the Wildcats brought in 13,466 against ASU to end the regular season.
That year was also the last that the Wildcats hosted a regional playoff.
“The crowd was amazing, I’m so glad everyone came out,” Farris said. “We love playing in front of them, they’re loud and that lets us get energetic and motivates us to win.”
Refsnyder said after Sunday’s game that it was really a statement series for the Wildcats.
“With all the hype and the national writers talking about Stanford, how great they’ve been perceived, what they did last year, all the prospects and future millionaires, there’s some really talented guys on their team,” Refsnyder said. “I can’t think of a bigger sweep.”