No. 15 Arizona Defeats Liberty in Series Opener
Cody Brown hit his second home run of the season Friday at Arizona.
No. 15 Arizona banged out 20 hits, the most by a Liberty opponent this season, as the Wildcats downed the Flames, 16-2, in a non-conference game, Friday night at Sancet Stadium.
Liberty falls to 28-20 on the year with the setback, while Arizona improves to 33-11 with the victory. The Flames have now dropped four-straight contests, the longest such streak of the season for Liberty. Arizona's 16 runs in the game are the most by a Flames' opponent this season. In addition, the Wildcats' 20 hits are also the most by a Liberty opponent in a contest this year.
After a scoreless first inning, Arizona jumped on the scoreboard with five two-out runs in the home half of the second inning. With one out, center fielder T. J. Steele beat out a chopper, which fell into no man's land between the mound and second base, for an infield single. The Wildcat center fielder promptly stole second base.
After the next hitter fouled out trying to bunt on a sliding catch by Liberty catcher Errol Hollinger (So., C, Upland, Calif. ), Dwight Childs walked. Shortstop Robert Abel's single plated Steele with the game's first run and put Arizona up, 1-0. Diallo Fon followed with the big blow of the frame, lining a three-run home run over the left centerfield fence for 4-0 advantage. The blast was the Wildcat left fielder's first round tripper of the season. Colt Sedbrook continued the frame with a single to center and moved to second base on a passed ball. C.J. Ziegler then cashed in Sedbrook with a double, staking Arizona to a 5-0 advantage.
In the fourth inning, the Wildcats added to their lead, benefiting from two Liberty miscues. Fon drew a one-out walk and advanced to third base on an errant throw on a pickoff attempt. Two batters later, Arizona made it, 6-0, as a throwing error by the Flames shortstop on a ground ball in the hole between short and third by Ziegler allowed Fon to score.
Meanwhile, Roger Clemens and Golden Spikes finalist Preston Guilmet held the Flames in check through 5 2/3 innings. Second baseman Kenneth Negron (So., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) lined a two-out single to right field for Liberty's first hit off the sophomore right-hander in the sixth inning.
Arizona extended its advantage with four more runs in the sixth. A two-out single by designated hitter Bill Rhinehart chased home Fon and another run would score on a throwing error by the Liberty catcher during a run down on the play. Third baseman Brad Glenn followed by connecting on his seventh home run of the year, a two-run shot, for a 10-0 lead.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the seventh and four in the eighth as four of Arizona 's four hits in the frame were doubles.
The Flames averted the shutout in the top of eighth against Wildcats' reliever Daniel Schlerth. With one out, Derek Bennion (Sr., CF, Snohomish, Wash. ) lined a single off the third base bag. Two batters later, pinch hitter Cody Brown (R-So., 1B, Boca Raton, Fla. ) ripped a two-run home run over the left field wall. It was the redshirt sophomore's second of the year.
Liberty starter David Stokes (Jr., RHP, Locust Grove, Okla. ), the first of five Flames hurlers on the evening, took the loss to fall to 7-5 on the year. The right-hander gave up six runs, four earned, on eight hits over five innings. He struck out seven hitters and walked three. Arizona starter Guilmet held the Flames scoreless through seven innings, allowing one hit. He struck out six and walked none in running his record to 9-1 on the season.
Arizona 's Steele went 4-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI, while Fon, Sedbrook and Ziegler added three hits apiece. All three of Ziegler's hits were two base knocks. Fon had four RBI to lead Arizona. No Liberty hitter had more than one hit as the Flames had four hits in the contest.
The Flames and the Wildcats will meet again tomorrow night in the middle game of the three-game series. First pitch is schedule for 9 p.m. EST.