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March 6, 2013

Cold Arizona bats, decision spoil freshman's first start

Freshman Tyger Talley's brilliant first career start went all for naught Wednesday as the No. 20-ranked Arizona Wildcats fell late, 5-2, to Texas Tech in the midweek series finale at Hi Corbett Field.

In a 1-1 game, it was a decision head coach Andy Lopez made that he admitted "cost us the ballgame."

Left-hander Augey Bill came in to replace Talley for the lefty-lefty matchup with one on and nobody out in the seventh. Bill got the strikeout, but was then surprisingly yanked after just six pitches for senior Nick Cunningham.

"Real poor decision on my part," Lopez said of replacing Bill. "I'll get us back one later in the season."

Relievers Cunningham (0-2), who was credited with the loss, and Stephen Manthei allowed the final four runs of the inning to give the Red Raiders a 5-1 lead. Jake Barrios, Zach Davis, Brett Bell and Bryant Burleson each collected RBIs in the inning for Texas Tech (8-6).

Talley, who had only allowed one run through his previous four appearances this season, had a no-hit bid broken up in the sixth when left fielder Zach Davis singled to right field in the first at-bat of the inning.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., native finished the day with six innings pitched, one run allowed and just two hits.

"I was just locating my fastball, establishing it early," said Talley, who received a no-decision. "All my offspeed was working, in and out, and I just had great location and that's what really helped me."

Lopez had nothing but high praise for the young pitcher.

"He threw strikes and he threw strikes with three pitches," Lopez said. "I thought Tyger Talley was outstanding today, my goodness. What a great performance for a young guy."

At the plate, the Wildcats (11-4) had a disappointing day executing with runners on base. With runners in scoring position, Arizona went 3-for-13 and with runners on third base, the Wildcats went 0-for-3.

The Wildcats two runs on Wednesday came on RBI singles by Riley Moore in the third and Brandon Dixon in the ninth.

"We just didn't get it done today," said Dixon, who stranded half of the 12 runners the team left on base. "We need to continue to work on execution. Manufacturing runs rather than just stringing a bunch of hits together."

Johnathon Tripp, the starter for the Red Raiders, pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run baseball, but did not receive a decision. Reliever Andre Wheeler (1-0) threw two-thirds of an inning and took home the win. Jerad McCrummen earned his first save of the season.

On Friday, the Arizona Wildcats will welcome Columbia (0-4) to Hi Corbett Field for the first of a three-game series with the Lions.

Moving into the starting rotation behind Konner Wade and James Farris this weekend will be freshman Cody Moffett. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA through 11 1/3 innings pitched this season.

Danny PassovoyDanny Passovoy
GOAZCATS.com Baseball Staff Writer

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