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March 3, 2013
The No. 20-ranked Arizona Wildcats managed just seven hits and starting pitcher Stephen Manthei failed to record an out Sunday afternoon in a blowout loss to San Francisco, 9-2, at Hi Corbett Field.
Today's game marks the worst home loss for Arizona (10-3) since UCLA dismantled the Wildcats, 15-3, on April 14, 2012.
"We just didn't respond offensively after the first inning," head coach Andy Lopez said. "Their starter (Christian Cecilio) was outstanding and our starter (Manthei) was less than stellar."
San Francisco (5-7) broke out of the gates early, capitalizing on three walks by Manthei (1-1) for two runs in the first inning.
The right-hander walked the Dons' first two batters of the game to place runners in scoring position for Derek Atkinson, who drove home the first run of the game off a sharp single to left field. Following a walk to Zachary Turner in the next at-bat, Lopez signaled in freshman standout Cody Moffett from the bullpen.
Manthei's day was done after just 19 pitches. The redshirt junior allowed two runs on one hit. His second earned run came in on a fielder's choice to second base in Moffett's first batter faced.
Moffett, however, was dominant again in his second appearance this week. The left-hander allowed no hits over four scoreless innings,but gave up a walk and hit a batter.
Between his outing this afternoon and win on Wednesday against Utah Valley, Moffett garnered 9 1/3 innings pitched, allowed three runs - only two earned - and had five strikeouts. Now, his role may expand, Lopez said.
"I thought Moffett did a great job, really good damage control," Lopez said. "Probably put himself right into the rotation, maybe."
The other seven relievers, some of which made their first appearances of the season, did not fare so well.
Nathan Bannister tossed a shutout inning between the seventh and eighth, while Tyler Hale and Xavier Borde both faced only one batter.
But veteran pitchers Augey Bill (one earned), Nick Cunningham (two earned) and Vincent Littleman (three earned) had difficulty getting ahead early in counts and freshman Jesse Scholtens (one earned) could not find the strike zone.
"I think the biggest thing was starting ahead in the count," catcher Riley Moore said about the pitching. "Falling behind 1-0, 2-0, 3-1, then you got to come with a fastball. Everybody under the sun knows a fastball is coming in those counts."
The game got out of hand quickly in the ninth. Already leading 5-1, the Dons poured on four runs to take a commanding lead - a deficit even this year's rendition of the cardiac 'Cats could not overcome.
Left-hander Christian Cecilio (1-0) earned the win for San Francisco, pitching a solid 5 2/3 innings with one run allowed and four strikeouts.
"It wasn't overpowering velocity, thats for sure," Lopez said about Cecilio. "But, hey, I tip my hat to him. He shut us down like we didn't exist."
Reliever Haden Hinkle pitched the remaining 3 1/3 innings for the Dons, who avoided the series sweep. The Madera, Calif., native allowed five hits, one run and earned his first save of the season.
The Wildcats will host Texas Tech for the first of a two-game series starting Tuesday at Hi Corbett Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Lopez said Tyler Crawford will most likely be on the mound for Arizona.
GOAZCATS.com Baseball Staff Writer
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