The Arizona Wildcats kicked off their quest for a national championship in a big way on Friday night, knocking off the Missouri Tigers in front of a crowd of 5,086 at Hi Corbett Field. Despite a few early runs from the Tigers it was veteran pitcher Kurt Heyer who completely dominated the rest of the game as the 'Cats went on to claim a 15-3 blowout victory.
Arizona pounded out 20 hits on the evening, quite a few of which were indeed pounded into the ground and bounced over the Mizzou infielders. For a school that has such a strong softball tradition, it sure seemed like the UA hitters had taken notes on how to take advantage of a hard, fast infield in southern Arizona.
The two clubs scored two runs each in the first inning, and Missouri held a 3-2 lead after scratching across another run in the second.
The game was essentially ended in the fourth inning. Arizona used a few infield hits and bloopers to get runners on, and then belted what seemed like an endless barrage of doubles and triples into the spacious outfield in Tucson. A total of seven runs scored for the Wildcats in the fourth, and they added on three runs of insurance in the seventh and eighth innings.
Heyer did not allow a hit after the second inning. He tossed his 12 complete game of the season on 118 pitches, 77 of which were strikes. Heyer recorded seven strikeouts against a Mizzou lineup that was hot coming off a run at the Big 12 Tournament.
Arizona will now face Louisville in game four of the Tucson Regional on Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. assuming the earlier game, New Mexico St. vs. Mizzou, finishes without needing multiple extra innings.
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