Posted 9:43 PM 2/15/2013 : UA Baseball begins title defense with 16-0 shutout
TUCSON - It was the start of a new season, but 24th-ranked Arizona picked up right where it left off a season ago. The defending national champions rode the dominating right arm of junior Konner Wade and the offense erupted in the middle innings to cruise to a 16-0 season-opening shutout victory over Coppin State before 5,145 fans at Hi Corbett Field on Friday night.
Wade (1-0), a winner in all four of his postseason starts last June, including two complete games at the College World Series, retired the first 11 Eagles' hitters and he did not allow a base hit until the seventh inning. He finished with eight strikeouts, one walk and just one hit allowed in 6.1 innings of work as he improved to 15-3 in his career.
Arizona (1-0), which won its 12th-straight game dating back to last season, was overanxious at the plate in the first two innings against right-hander Darryl Martinez. But in the third, sophomore designated hitter Tyler Parmenter blasted a leadoff triple off the wall in left field, the first of three three-baggers in the frame - a figure one shy of the NCAA Division I record for triples in an inning.
Parmenter scored the season's first run when freshman Ryan Koziol drove in a run and reached on a sharply hit grounder that was booted by second baseman Colin Dower. One out later, freshman leadoff hitter Scott Kingery was hit by a pitch and sophomore Joseph Maggi drew a walk to load the bases for Johnny Field. The reigning Pac-12 batting champion crushed a triple to the gap in left-center, clearing the bases to plate three runs.
Sophomore catcher Riley Moore knocked home Field with a single, and junior third baseman Brandon Dixon socked another triple to send home Moore. For good measure, Parmenter, who led off the frame, later drove in Dixon with a sacrifice fly to cap the seven-run explosion.
All seven runs were charged to Martinez (0-1), who suffered the loss after lasting just 2.1 innings. He gave up four hits and walked two, while two of his runs allowed were unearned.
The Wildcats kept their foot on the gas pedal an inning later, sending five more runs across the plate in the fourth. Kingery, who tied a school single-game record by being hit by a pitch three times, was plunked and promptly stole second to lead off. That set the stage for five Wildcats to collect RBI in the inning, including Field who went on for a five-RBI night.
Arizona added a pair of runs in the fifth and eighth innings, respectively, to set the score at its final, 16-0. It was UA's first Opening Day shutout since 2011, and its highest scoring output since a 19-6 romp over St. Mary's to kick off the 1999 campaign.
Wade was lifted with one out in the seventh, and he handed the ball over to senior right-hander Nick Cunningham, who finished out the game. Cunningham did not allow a hit and walked just one in his 2.2 innings out of the bullpen, combining with Wade to throw the school's first one-hitter since Feb. 2, 2007. That day against Gonzaga, Preston Guilmet and Cory Burns teamed up to one-hit the Bulldogs in a 14-0 rout.
Arizona hitters were hit by a pitch seven times in the game - a new school single-game record - and drew seven walks. Those 14 free-passes made up for a 10-hit night at the plate, a modest output for a program that led the nation with 756 base hits a season ago.
Field finished with three of those hits, highlighted by a 3-for-5 effort that produced three runs and five RBI. He sparked a middle-of-the-order attack that saw the Nos. 3-7 hitters tally eight of the club's hits and combine for 10 runs scored and 12 RBI.
Prior to the game, Arizona honored its 2012 national championship team in a pregame ceremony that featured a pair of stars from last year's team - Kurt Heyer and Joey Rickard. Each tossed out a ceremonial first pitch, and the newest of the school's four title banners was unveiled in centerfield. Opening Day came to a festive end with a postgame fireworks show.
The Wildcats and Eagles continue the three-game series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. (MST) at Hi Corbett Field.
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