The Arizona Wildcats set out to defend their National Championship on Friday night.
It took just three innings for Arizona to show signs of the team that won eleven straight to end the season, as the Wildcats extended their wining streak to twelve games with a 16 - 0 blowout over Coppin State.
“I was really happy with the way that we hit in scoring position tonight,” Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez said. “We did a real good job in terms of our RBI at-bats. It was a nice start.”
Sophomore Tyler Parmenter got things started for Arizona in the third inning when the designated hitter tripled off the left field wall with no outs. True freshman Ryan Koziol got the first Wildcat RBI of the season in the next at bat, reaching first on a bobbled ball by the second baseman.
Defending Pac-12 batting champion Johnny Field tripled to clear the bases after Eagle’s starter Darryl Martinez loaded them up with just one out. Catcher Riley Moore singled to score Field and was plated by Brandon Dixon a single batter later. That ended Martinez’s night and the Wildcats had a 7-0 lead by time the inning was over.
Arizona tacked on five more runs in the next inning. True freshman Scott Kingery was hit by a pitch to start the inning, followed by a Joseph Maggi walk. Field added to his RBI total with a single and later scored as the Wildcats extended the lead to 12-0. He finished with five runs batted in on three hits.
The Wildcats added two extra runs in the fifth inning and in the bottom of the eighth, allowing Arizona to have the largest margin of victory on opening day since 1999.
Several new faces littered the roster for the Wildcats. Freshmen Kingery, Koziol, and Kevin Newman started for Arizona, while Parmenter debuted in the DH spot.
Kingery, along with the rest of the Arizona team, set single game team records on opening night. The freshman was beaned three times, tying the individual record with seven other Wildcats. The team was hit eight total times by the Eagles’ pitchers, setting a new team record. The previous record was seven, set six previous times.
“It’s crazy,” Kingery said of his record tying performance. “It’s pretty cool to know that right off the bat, I’m doing something to help the team.
“They were inconsistent with their pitches all night. I heard on the base paths that their team had a couple young arms, so they are trying to get a feel for it. They just couldn’t find the strike zone.”
Arizona got a tremendous performance out of Friday night starter Konner Wade (1-0). The Opening Day starter went six and a third innings, striking out 8. Wade picked up the victory with 92 pitches, giving up just a single hit and walk. The junior took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing the lead-off man to single through the left side of the infield.
“I was pretty excited early, but I got a little behind too much tonight,” Wade said. “I just tried to go out there and get a win. Coming out here and setting the tone for the rest of the weekend feels great.”
Martinez (0-1) got the start for the Eagles. The junior started the night well, but had a rocky third inning on his way to giving up 7 runs, 5 earned, and taking the loss.
The two teams will play again Saturday afternoon. James Farris is set to take the mound for Arizona and faces Yahya Muhammad for Coppin State.