Sophomore right fielder Zach Gibbons has taken care of business at the plate over the first two games of Arizona’s final series of the year against Abilene Christian. In the past two contests, Gibbons has combined to hit 5-for-9 (.556) with two doubles and two runs scored.
In Friday’s opener, Gibbons scored two runs and collected three hits – two singles and a double – over four at bats. He served as the catalyst for the Wildcats’ three-run first inning and doubled in the bottom of the second inning after Abilene Christian threatened Arizona’s lead with an unearned run in the top of the frame.
“Zach has had a pretty good year,” UA head coach Andy Lopez said. “If you want to be critical, you’d like to see him get a little more production out of some of his at-bats; but he’s done a great job in the leadoff spot.”
On Saturday, Gibbons once again led his team’s offensive attack and gathered two hits in five trips to the plate.
“I’ve just been doing what coach has told me; trying to shoot it the other way and get my front foot down early and wait for it,” Gibbons said.
As it has been all season, timely hitting continued to evade Arizona and their lack of production contributed to the Wildcats 6-5 loss on Saturday. The defeat, which was Arizona’s 33rd of the year, guaranteed that the Wildcats will fall short of a .500 record at home for the first time since 1995.
“Offensively, it was too little, too late,” Lopez said. “We didn’t swing well until the last two innings.”
Farris completes his college baseball career
Right-handed pitcher James Farris, the lone senior on Arizona’s baseball team, concluded his collegiate career Friday night after working a nine-hit complete game effort on the mound to assure a 4-3 victory over Abilene Christian.
After being drafted by the Houston Astros in the 15th round of last year’s MLB First Year Players’ Draft, Farris decided to return to Arizona for a final year and over the course of the season, has emerged as the undeniable ace of the staff.
Farris provided Arizona with a strong finish as he scattered only nine earned runs for an Earned Run Average of 1.80 over his last 45 innings of work.
In his final two appearances for the Wildcats, Farris turned in complete games against California and Abilene Christian, combining to strike out 14 and allow three runs on 13 hits through 18 innings.
“[Farris] has done a good job and is the type of guy who just gets better and improves,” Lopez said. “He works at his trade and just does a solid job.”
Farris ended the year with a 6-6 record, compiled an ERA of 3.40 – third lowest on the team and lowest among Wildcat starters – and amassed an impressive 5.26 strikeout-to-walk ratio (SO: 100/BB: 19).
He ended his senior year ranked second in the Pac-12 in strikeouts with 100 strikeouts. Farris’ 1.51 walks-per-nine innings pitched ranked second in the conference behind Washington’s Tyler Davis (1.41).
“[Farris] did a great job over his four years here,” Lopez said. “He grew up in every aspect and I’m sure he’s going to be extremely successful in anything he chooses. He’s a great young man.”
— Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17