Wildcats win Regional

Arizona defeated Louisville in convincing fashion on Sunday night to advance to the Super Regional. Read on to see how it went down.

The Arizona Wildcats matched up with Louisville for the second time in as many days, in front of 3,485 fans, with a chance to take the regional title in Tucson.

The Cardinal was eliminated from the NCAA tournament after being dominated 16-3 by the Wildcats.

Arizona put up 47 runs on 58 hits over the course of 3 games. The Wildcats were white hot with the bats over the three game weekend, but were also dominate on the mound as well.

One person outside of the Arizona team that took notice was Louisville's Head Coach Dan McDonnell.

"Right now that offense is locked in," McDonnell said after the game. "That's the best team we've played all year. We've played four SEC schools, Pepperdine, a lot of Big 10 schools, and good Big East schools, but that's definitely the best team we've played this year."

The Wildcats have scored runs in bunches the first two games of the regional and did so again on Sunday night, striking for 4 runs on one swing of the bat.

The bottom of the order got the inning going when Riley Moore led off with a single to center and Trent Gilbert reached on an error by the pitcher. Leadoff man, Joey Rickard, walked, loading the bases for Johnny Field, who blasted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left field, clearing the bases. Arizona took the lead 4-0 and never looked back.

Arizona threatened in the first when Joey Rickard led off the game with a walk and then stole second. However, Robert Refsnyder grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Field scored his second run of the day in the 5th inning, making the score 5-0. He reached second to lead off the inning after the pitcher, Jeff Thompson, threw the ball wide of first base on a bunt attempt. Field later scored on a two-out single by Seth Mejias-Brean.

The Wildcats had another big inning in the 6th. They added for more runs to the total, making it a 9-0 game. The inning led off with back-to-back singles by Joseph Maggi and Moore. Rickard tripled, picking up 2 RBIs as the two base runners scored. Field doubled, scoring Rickard. He later scored on a throwing error by Louisville third baseman Ty Young.

The scoring over the weekend was huge for Arizona and it wasn't just fueled by one player. However, the biggest hits all seemed to come off the bat of Johnny Field. Field, the Pac-12 batting champion, was named the Tucson Region Most Valuable Player after the game.

It took a huge effort to achieve the honor, but it was well deserved. Field finished the weekend with 10 RBIs, going 8-for-15 from the plate with 2 doubles, 2 triples, and the grand slam. He walked once and struck out once.

After the game, Field admitted that the weekend that the team had offensively was one to remember for a long time.

"That's pretty special what we did this weekend," Field said. "Right now, we're about as hot as we've been all year, sop we really need to keep that momentum going into next weekend."

James Farris took the ball for Arizona and pitched a gem. He scattered 12 hits, only giving up 3 runs (2 earned) in a complete game effort. Farris struck out a season high 7 batters and gave up his only 2 earned runs late in the 9th, after the game had already been decided.

The victory pushed Farris' record to 7-3 and 1-0 for the NCAA tournament. It was his third complete game of the season.

Farris knew that the game was important, but came out and treated it like every other game. He took the same approach and it paid off with the complete game victory.

"Any time I go out and I try to minimize the walks and the hit batters, I'll have a good game," Farris said. "I'm just thankful that I kept the ball down and the defense was also huge. Without them making plays and throwing guys out at third, I wouldn't be lasting that long."

Thompson started the game for the Cardinals, but left after 5 innings. It was the longest an opposing starter lasted against the Wildcats in the regional. Thompson gave up 5 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits and 4 walks. He also struck out 4 Wildcats.

He took the loss, dropping his record to 9-4 on the season and 0-1 for the regional. He was relieved by Travis Tingle to start the 6th, but only got one out and gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits.

Arizona took home 7 of 12 spots in the All-Tucson Region Team. Kurt Heyer and Konner Wade took the two pitching slots. Johnny Field and Joey Rickard were two of the three outfielders selected.

Alex Mejia at shortstop, Seth Mejias-Brean at third base, and Bobby Brown at designated hitter were also selected to the team. Alex Mejia also finished second in MVP voting.

Arizona will play St. John's next weekend in a Super Regional. The site is still to-be-announced, but the general feel is that Arizona will host in Tucson for the second straight weekend. It would be Arizona's first time ever hosting a Super Regional.

St. John's advanced out of the Chapel Hill, NC regional, beating host and 6th ranked North Carolina twice over the weekend.

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