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February 15, 2013

Wade dazzles in Opening Day rout

It didn't take long for the No. 24-ranked Arizona Wildcats to show the 5,145 fans at Hi Corbett Field on Friday exactly what they are capable of this season, dismantling the Coppin State Eagles, 16-0, on Opening Day.

Ace pitcher Konner Wade tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowed one hit and struck out eight in a winning effort. Wade (1-0) stuck with the fastball for most of the night, but integrated his dominant changeup with his in-progress slider from time-to-time.

The junior right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh before surrendering a leadoff single to Eagles shortstop David Hamlett. Wade was lifted with one out in the frame, and Nick Cunningham tossed the final 2 2/3 innings.

"My go-to pitch was definitely my fastball tonight, I probably threw 12 to 15 off-speed pitches the whole night," Wade said. "It was inconsistent at times, but there were a couple I threw that felt really good, so I'm going to work off of that."

Head coach Andy Lopez, who has now won 10 of his first 12 Opening Day games with Arizona, thought otherwise.

"If you talked to him, he will probably say he didn't do as well as he wanted to in some respects," Lopez said. "I was very pleased. We're always asking for what location we get after we call it and for the most part he was pretty good."

The slugfest erupted in the bottom of the third as designated hitter Tyler Parmenter led off the inning with a triple off the top of the left field wall. Freshman Ryan Koziol followed with a grounder that ricocheted off the second baseman and into left field, giving the Wildcats their first run of the game and season. From then on, the Cats never looked back.

Arizona poured on seven runs in the third, five in the fourth, two in the fifth and two more in the eighth to give the Wildcats the commanding victory.

Freshman Scott Kingery reached base in five of his first six collegiate at-bats, Johnny Field led all Arizona hitters with five RBIs, including a bases-clearing triple, and Riley Moore, Brandon Dixon and Koziol each contributed two RBIs apiece.

"It feels great, just getting after it with the team finally," Kingery said. "We can do some damage on offense."

Coppin State starter Darryl Martinez was hammered for seven runs - five earned - on four hits over just 2 1/3 innings.

The three-game series against Coppin State will continue Saturday at 2 p.m. Right-hander James Farris will take the mound for the Wildcats against Eagles starter Yahya Muhammad.

Danny PassovoyDanny Passovoy
GOAZCATS.com Baseball Staff Writer

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