Sophomore pitchers Cody Hamlin and junior pitcher Tyler Crawford stifled Alcorn State’s bats while sophomores Kevin Newman and Scott Kingery sparked offensive onslaughts in Sunday’s double-header to help Arizona baseball complete a series sweep.
The Wildcats (6-2) took the first Sunday game from Alcorn State (0-8) by a score of 20-1 and finished the night strong, coming from behind to secure an 11-1 victory in the second contest.
Hamlin (2-0) threw his first career complete game and dominated Alcorn State’s lineup in the first matchup on Sunday afternoon, needing only 98 pitches. The righty limited the Braves to one run on five hits while striking out five.
“I feel like I had another pretty good outing, but there’s always stuff to work on,” Hamlin said. “I did better with my offspeed, attacked the hitters and let the defense do a lot of the work.”
Over two appearances this year, Hamlin has arguably challenged senior James Farris for the role of team ace. Head coach Andy Lopez said Hamlin could very well be the team’s Friday night starter.
“Farris has done a marvelous job [as the ace], but competition brings out the best in everybody,” Lopez said. “We had two complete games, and Crawford could have probably thrown one as well, but we wanted to get some young arms in there. I was really pleased with our pitchers this weekend.”
Hamlin has only allowed two runs on nine hits over 16 innings. Farris has allowed 11 hits in 16.2 innings.
“I’m always competing for that [top of the rotation] spot,” Hamlin said. “That being said, I’m just trying to get out here and get the win for the team first of all, and if moving up in the rotation happens, it happens.”
After Crawford (1-1) allowed the Braves to jump out to an early 1-0 lead in the second game, he quickly settled down and found a rhythm. He scattered four hits and allowed one run while striking out two over 6.1 innings.
Arizona battled back from its early deficit and tied the game off a single by freshman Kenny Meimerstorf in the bottom of the fourth. Arizona went on to score 10 more runs to secure the sweep.
In Sunday’s first game, Kingery and Newman combined to bat 7-for-10, hitting more than a third of the Wildcats’ 19 hits en route to Arizona’s 20-1 win. They scored seven of Arizona’s 20 runs and accounted for a third of the team’s RBI (6 of 18).
Newman led the squad’s offensive barrage in game one and had a team-leading four hits — three singles and a triple. Kingery tied the school single-game individual stolen base record and swiped four of the Wildcats’ 10 bases in Sunday’s first game. He additionally batted .636 on the series, collecting seven hits in 11 possible at-bats.
“Coach told us last night to set our stroke in BP before the game,” Kingery said. “I knew that they didn’t have many power arms, so I set my stroke and tried to stay up the middle and hit it to right field. We knew that they didn’t hold runners on that well and knew we wanted to take advantage of that.”
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17