An energized crowd was out at Hi Corbett under the bright lights Tuesday night as the Arizona baseball team defeated Arizona State 14-2.
Here are three key stats that stood out in this victory:
5.2 shutout innings:
After starter Dawson Netz allowed two runs in the first two innings, Randy Abshier and Quinn Flanagan followed with 5.2 innings of shutout baseball. They allowed just one hit each, combining for five strikeouts and zero walks. Coming off a three-game series against the Sun Devils this past weekend where the bullpen combined to allow just one run over 12 innings, it is safe to say they are starting to find their stride as a unit.
“[Abshier] had a really good Fall,” head coach Jay Johnson said. “I mean he was actually probably the team leader in ERA. The three weeks leading up to the season, he performed exceptionally well. He had a rough first outing against Ball State, but then responded the next day with a really good outing as well. I think he’s been good. I just think the way some other guys have been pitching, it’s been hard to find the right opportunities, a little bit has to do with some of the lineups that we’ve faced but to his credit, he has continued to work at a high level. He’s matured at a high level, and really pleased with that performance tonight.”
“I can’t tell you how big that was for our team, our pitching staff and hopefully this is a sign of really good things to come out of him because we could use another left-hander out of the bullpen at this point to be effective.” Johnson said. “He certainly has the talent to do it, so to match that up with that kind of performance tonight was awesome, difference in the game tonight.”
Four players with multiple hits:
It was a real balanced effort for the Wildcats on the offensive side as Jacob Blas, Ryan Holgate, Daniel Susac and Nik McClaughry all had two hits each. Arizona racked up 13 hits as a team against a tough Arizona State pitching staff.
7-20 with runners in scoring position:
In Saturday’s 3-2 loss in the finale of the three-game series against the Sun Devils down in Tempe, the Wildcats put together plenty of chances to score more runs, but they were unfortunately unable to come up with the hits when it counted most. They combined to hit 1-12 with runners in scoring position, a statistic that saw a great improvement in Tuesday’s win as the offense combined to hit 7-20 with runners in scoring position. After Kobe Kato and Tanner O’Tremba each got out to begin the bottom of the fifth inning, the Wildcats put five straight runners on base with four singles to add on two more runs. They scored two or more runs in every inning from the third inning till the seventh inning.
“I think we were just ourselves,” Johnson said. “The other night was an anomaly because in that 1-12, there were some balls hit hard. I mentioned the other day that Drew Swift at shortstop probably saved at least two to three runs making good plays. ASU’s pitchers made some big pitches on Saturday night. Tonight, I thought we were just in character. I thought we managed the zone extremely well. I thought we stayed within ourselves really well. I really liked how we played tonight.”
“We had a clear view of what we wanted to do tonight in all phases of the game, and we executed that,” Johnson said. “It was a great baseball performance by our team.”
The Wildcats are back in action this weekend for a three-game series at Hi Corbett against the California Golden Bears.
“They are a good team,” Johnson said. “They are a very complete team. We played a non-conference opponent that has played a lot of teams in the Pac-12 and that coach mentioned that they thought Cal was the best team of all of those teams. I didn’t ask him after our game if he changed his opinion.”
“We can’t wait for the competition this weekend,” Johnson said. “This is going to be great weekend of baseball here with two really good teams competing at a high level.”
Follow Ari Koslow on Twitter