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NCAA regional: Arizona-Missouri game blog — Cats dominate

Kurt Heyer, after a shaky start, dominates Missouri while the Arizona Wildcats blasted 20 hits for a 15-3 victory in the first round of an NCAA regional at Hi Corbett Field on Friday night.

Arizona advances to play Louisville on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The Cardinals defeated New Mexico State 3-2 earlier Friday.

Heyer (12-2) allowed four hits to the first 10 batters, then set down eight in a row before walking Blake Brown. Heyer then retired another eight in a row before walking Brown again in the eighth. Missouri didn’t have a hit after the second inning.

It was Heyer’s seventh complete game of the season in 16 starts.

Attendance: 5,086.

* * *

Arizona has pounded out 20 hits against Missouri, the most allowed by the Tigers this season. The Cats are up 15-3, three outs to go.

* * *

Kurt Heyer is through eight innings and will finish this one off, preserving the bullpen for what could be three games in the next three days. Heyer has thrown 108 pitches. Arizona still leads 12-3.

* * *

Arizona having some late-night fun, tacking on three more runs in the bottom of the seventh and blistering hits to the deepest part of a very deep Hi Corbett Field.

After a two-out double by Joey Rickard, Johnny Field and Alex Mejia launch back-to-back triples to centerfield, extending the lead to 12-3.

All the scribes on deadline in the pressbox are only waiting on the official attendance figure to pretty much finish their stories.

* * *

Cruising. Kurt Heyer hasn’t allowed a hit since the second inning. He has faced the minimum over the past five innings. Arizona leads 9-3 at the seventh-inning stretch.

* * *

A double play to end the top of the fifth means Kurt Heyer has faced the minimum in the past three innings, settling down nicely after a shaky start.

* * *

Arizona gains the lead for the first time in the bottom of the fourth inning — with the help of some hard ground in the infield.

Bobby Brown led off with a chopper over third base for single. He went to second when third baseman Mach Conner muffed a potential double-play grounder, but he did recover to throw out Joseph Maggi. Riley Moore followed with a high three-hopper that second baseman Dillon Everett didn’t charge. He had no play.

The Cats scored a run when Trent Gilbert hit another big bouncer into the hole at shortstop, giving him enough time to scoot safely to first. Then came the big hit: A two-run triple by Joey Rickard into left-center field that made it 5-3 Arizona and chased starter Blake Holovach.

Reliever Ryan Yuengel walked his first batter, Johnny Field. Field stole second, and when a bad throw from the catcher got away, Rickard scored from third for a 6-3 lead. Field went to third on the play and scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Cats weren’t done. Robert Refsnyder’s double and Seth Mejias-Brean’s walk preceded Bobby Brown’s double to the wall in right, pushing the advantage to 9-3. That was it for Yuengel, who got one out in five batters.

Joseph Maggi ends up making two outs in the inning … but quite an inning it was, as the talent and depth of Arizona’s lineup was on display.

This should be enough of a lead for Kurt Heyer, huh?

* * *

Both teams flashing some serious leather now. Arizona third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean dives to his left, fully extended, to snare a grounder in the hole, gets up quickly and fires to first to get Scott Sommerfeld for the second out in the fourth. That’s seven in a row retired by Kurt Heyer.

* * *

It’s only the bottom of the third inning, but there isn’t likely to be a better defensive play than the one just turned in by Mizzou second baseman Dillon Everett. He ranges up the middle to snare a sharp grounder from Alex Mejia, turns and leaps from almost behind the bag … and gets enough on the throw to clip Mejia by a half step.

That keeps Mejia off base to lead off the inning.

* * *

More fast and furious action from Hi Corbett. Missouri retakes the lead in the top of the second inning with some help from an Arizona error. Second baseman Trent Gilbert’s flip to second for a force out went awry, allowing Andreas Plackis to race to third with no outs.

Dillon Everett’s sacrifice fly to left brought in Plackis to make it 3-2.

* * *

Arizona unleashes six hits in the bottom of the first inning to tie the game at 2, but the biggest play was a balk on pitcher Blake Holovach.

Joey Rickard led off with a single for the Wildcats, but Johnny Field popped out to shortstop for the first out. Holovach’s balk then put Rickard on second, which was huge, because Alex Mejia followed with what could have been a double-play grounder to shortstop Eric Garcia.

Instead, Rickard went to third, and Garcia took his sweet time with the play, taking an extra hop and throwing late to first as Mejia beat out an infield hit. Robert Refsnyder’s single to right brought in a run, and Seth Mejias-Brean tied it when his single up the middle drove in Mejia.

Refsnyder was thrown out at third on the relay throw from the catcher, which was also a key play. Bobby Brown and Joseph Maggi each followed with singles, but no more runs scored and the inning ended when Mejias-Brown was thrown out at the plate on a throw from left fielder Scott Sommerfeld.

It looked like Mejias-Brean beat the throw, but catcher Ben Turner had the plate blocked well.

* * *

Tough start for Arizona ace Kurt Heyer. He gives up a ground single up the middle to leadoff hitter Eric Garcia, and Blake Brown follows with a line-driver gapper into right-center field for an RBI triple. A groundout to shortstop brings in Brown for third … and Heyer has basically used up his typical allotment of runs with only one out in the first inning.

Heyer hits Conner Mach with one out, but gets a strikeout and a line out to second to end the inning.

* * *

Louisville second baseman Nick Ratajczak hit an RBI double in the fifth inning that proved to be the winning run in a 3-2 victory over New Mexico State in the first game of the Tucson regional.

Justin Amlung (9-4) pitched six innings for the victory, allowing six hits and striking out five. Travis Tingle threw three perfect innings for the save.

“Amlung does what Amlung does — he goes out and pitches his best; he just competes,” coach Dan McDonnell said. “He gives us a chance to get back in the game. Amlung and Tingle were phenomenal.”

The Aggies led 2-0 after three innings, but the Cardinals scored one in the fourth and two in the fifth.

* * *

Tonight’s starter for Missouri is left-hander Blake Holovach. He has started 13 games this season, going more than 6 2/3 innings only twice. The 6-5 junior college transfer won his first five starts, went through a dead-arm phase, but regained his low-90s velocity late in the season.

* * *

The Arizona Wildcats’ first game in an NCAA baseball regional will start on time after Louisville defeated New Mexico State 3-2 in the opening game.

Arizona will take on Missouri at 8 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field; the game will be televised by ESPNU.

Tonight’s winner will take on Louisville at 8 p.m. on Saturday. The losers of Friday’s game will meet at 4 p.m. in an elimination game.

Here is the Cats’ lineup tonight:

1. CF Joey Rickard
2. LF Johnny Field
3. SS Alex Mejia
4. RF Robert Refsnyder
5. 3B Seth Mejias-Brean
6. DH Bobby Brown
7. 1B Joseph Maggi
8. C Riley Moore
9. 2B Trent Gilbert

And it will be Kurt Heyer on the mound.

Check back here during the game for updates and analysis. …

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