Baseball opens season with Eastern Michigan

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Carlos Herrera and Carlos Herrera | The Daily Wildcat

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Arizona baseball outfielder Tyler Krause (10) records a hit during Arizona's 6-5 win against UCLA at Hi Corbett Field on April 13, 2014. The Wildcats open their season with a three-game series against Eastern Michigan starting on Friday. 

The wait is over for Arizona baseball fans as the Wildcats host Eastern Michigan for the season opener at Hi Corbett Field on Friday. 

Austin Schnabel is the starting pitcher for the season opener. Schnabel only pitched 16 innings last season as a freshman finishing with a 9.18 ERA. 

“Everything is up for grabs and Austin has done a really good job,” said Arizona head coach Andy Lopez.

Arizona finished with a 22-33 overall record last season with only nine Pac-12 Conference wins, which is something that Lopez hadn’t previously been through.

“Based off of last year, I came back in August and met with the club and said, ‘Hey, I’ve never been through anything like this, so every job is open,’” Lopez said. 

The starting pitching rotation will have Schnabel on Friday, TCU transfer Robby Medel on Saturday and Tyger Talley on Sunday. 

Talley has been the starting pitcher on Sundays before, and he said it’s nothing too new to him.

“The pitchers are ready to go,” Talley said. “We feel ready. We’ve been preparing since the fall, and I think we should do a good job this weekend.” 

The Wildcats start the season by facing the Eagles, a squad that finished with a 19-34 record last season. 

Although the teams didn’t meet last year, this will be the 12th time the two teams have faced each other, and Arizona has the 10-1 series advantage. 

The first time Arizona faced Eastern Michigan was in the finals of the 1976 College World Series, the same year Arizona beat the Eagles 7-1 to win the first national title in school history.

The last time the two clubs met was in 2012 when Arizona swept a three-game series.
On the mound for the Eagles will be Ryan Lavoie on Friday, Charlie Land on Saturday and Jake Andrews on Sunday. 

Lavoie is a senior who got on the mound 17 times for the Eagles last season, including seven starts. He finished with a 4.92 ERA and a 2-4 record in 53 innings. Land and Andrews are also seniors. Land had 17 appearances on the mound last season and Andrews had 12. 

Looking back at last season, Arizona recorded its first loss against Kent State with just two games in, but hopes are high that this won’t happen again. 

“We feel pretty solid right now,” Tyler Krause said. “After our fall performance, I feel that we’re competitive, aggressive and efficient enough. I think we are ready for an enemy now.”

Krause is one of the players who battled for an outfield spot throughout the fall and preseason. 

First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. 

Fans are invited to stay for fireworks as soon as the game concludes.

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Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela on Twitter.


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