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February 16, 2014

Arizona takes opening weekend series



Junior college transfer Cody Hamlin set the tempo early for Arizona on Sunday afternoon, allowing just one run through seven innings as the Wildcats captured the opening weekend series with a 7-1 victory over Kent State at Hi Corbett Field.

"Felt good to get the first start out of the way and get the win," Hamlin said. "I think just command of the ball, getting a lot of strikes and pounding the zone helped out a lot."

Hamlin (1-0), a former Scenic West Conference Player of the Year, struck out three batters and allowed just four hits in his Wildcat debut.

"He was locating that slider pretty well and got guys out front consistently," said Jordan Berger, who caught Hamlin in place of Riley Moore. "He's tough to hit. He's going to be a big factor for us this year."

Tyger Talley made his season debut for the Wildcats (2-1) as well on Sunday. The sophomore pitched the remaining two innings and did not allow a hit, but did walk two batters and hit another.

Cleanup hitter Zach Gibbons led off the bottom of the second with a single to center field. A Scott Kingery sacrifice bunt and wild pitch put Gibbons on third base, and Bobby Dalbec squared a Michael Clark fastball through the middle of the infield for the first run of the game.

Dalbec finished the game 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

The Cats stayed hot in the third as Joe Maggi led off the inning with a single up the middle. After the junior stole second and moved to third on a hit-and-run, Trent Gilbert capitalized on the RBI opportunity with a single to right that put the Wildcats up 2-0 through three innings.

Kent State (1-2) answered in the top of the fourth, scoring on an RBI double to left field by Zarley Zalewski.

The impressive Zalewski went 6-for-11 in the weekend series with five RBIs and two runs scored.

However, the Cats responded again in the bottom half, scoring twice on a one-out, RBI single by Berger to right field. That pushed the score to 4-1 and chased Clark (0-1), who took the loss and allowed seven hits.

"Coach Siegel does a great job working with us on a two-strike approach," Berger said. "I spread out and choked up a little bit and he put the curveball up in the zone."

Arizona scored twice more in the sixth inning off a Cody Ramer RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Gibbons in the seventh.

The Wildcats shook off a forgettable 14-3 loss - including an 11-run first inning - from the previous night.

"Good to see us bounce back," Lopez said. "I thought the hitters did a really good job two of the three nights. We had a few opportunities that we kind of blew, but for the most part they were very productive again today."

The Wildcats host Utah Valley in a two-game series at Hi Corbett Field beginning on Tuesday. Mathew Troupe is schedule to start on the mound for Arizona.

Danny PassovoyDanny Passovoy
GOAZCATS.com Baseball Staff Writer

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