The Arizona baseball team bounced back in a big way with a four-game sweep of Southeastern Louisiana. The Wildcats played well in every aspect of the game. They got some great starting pitching, guys making web gems all over the field and the bats were very alive. You could call it an offensive explosion; they scored seven runs in the first game, 13 in the second and 14 in the fourth game. If you can score runs in bunches you have a great chance to win a lot of baseball games. What you really notice about this squad is how aggressive they are on the base paths. They steal bases, hit and run and lay down sacrifice bunts. It is an unselfish brand of baseball that head coach Jay Johnson likes to play.
“We are going to find a way to win no matter what type of game it is. If it’s a slugfest, a one-run type of game, runs are sometimes at a premium,” Johnson said. “It’s the fourth day in a row. You never know how your hitters are gonna feel.”
It can be a fun brand of baseball to watch as a spectator. Baseball can be more exciting when you have plays at the plate because of guys trying to be aggressive and when you can get extra runs from smart base running.
Game one: 2/25/2021 Arizona 7- SE Louisiana 4
Chase Silseth started the series for the Cats and had a quality start. He was able to go for 6.2 innings and gave up four earned runs while also striking out 10. The Cats jumped out to an early lead in this game scoring seven runs in the first five innings, but SE Louisiana made it a game when they hung a four-spot on Arizona in the top of the sixth. Arizona was able to lock the game down with their bullpen. Vince Vannelle went 1.1 innings giving up no runs, then Preston Price came in to close the game and get the save. The hero of this game was center fielder Donta Williams who went 4-5 and scored 2 runs. It was also an error-free game from Arizona.
Game two: 2/26/2021 Arizona 13 - SE Louisiana 11
An offensive explosion from Arizona in game two of the series. Arizona hit five home runs including two from Branden Boissiere who was hot this entire series. Unfortunately, what kept this game close was four errors committed by Arizona fielders which was a complete 180 from the night before. Johnson preaches error-free baseball and he was not happy after this one.
Game three: 2/27/2021 Arizona 4 - SE Louisiana 3
Even though it was the lowest-scoring game of the series it was the most exciting. Arizona was trailing most of the game until they scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the one run lead. Arizona was able to get the clutch hits when they needed them most. They still made three errors in the game which is something they will have to clean up as they get deeper into the season. Making errors gives the opposing teams more opportunities to win the game. Other than winning another positive from this game was the bullpen. They were able to keep SE Louisiana at three runs which allowed the offense to later on in the game take the lead.
Game four: 2/28/2021 Arizona 14 - SE Louisiana 2
Man oh man did the bats come alive for Arizona today. It felt like they got the leadoff batter on base in almost every inning. SE Louisiana’s starting pitcher was hurt early in this game on a sac bunt play. It was a tough scene because with very few people in attendance you could hear him writhing in pain on the ground clutching his ankle. SE Louisiana had to go to their bullpen the rest of the game and Arizona was able to capitalize. Arizona’s starting pitcher TJ Nichols had the best start of any Arizona starter in this series. Nichols was throwing some nasty stuff and had complete control of the strike zone. Nichols went 6.0 innings only giving one run on three hits.
“I felt like I was composed to start, not as nervous as last time which is good. I had a good plan going into it … kept the ball low and did what I was supposed to do,” Nichols said.
Probably the MVP of this series had to be first baseman Boissiere. In the series finale, he went 4-4 with three RBIs and a walk. Boissiere has a pretty simple philosophy when he steps into the batter's box.
“Trying to make hard contact with the ball every time, you know we kind of had a pretty good idea of what these pitchers would be like coming into this week, so I knew the kind of pitches I would get and where to look for them,” Boissiere said.
Arizona gets set for their first road trip of the season at the Frisco College Baseball Classic. The Classic starts Thursday, March 4, and Arizona will play Oklahoma twice, Dallas Baptist University and Missouri.
Follow Seth Litwin on Twitter