UA baseball team finds the secret to winning on the road

Whew! The Wildcats baseball team is breathing easier today after getting their first road win of the season.

The Cats beat Washington in Seattle yesterday, 7-2,  for the series opener. The win was important, not just because it came on the road, but because it also broke a four-game losing streak.

And last week’s series with California – at California – did little to build their confidence going into the series against the Huskies, who have won nine of their last 10 games .  The Cats, the top hitting team in the Pac-10, hit just .221 against California and were able to score just five runs in three games.  The result was a sweep by the Bears.

The opener against Washington didn’t get off to a particularly good start either.  Kurt Heyer, the freshman right-hander, opened the game by hitting the first batter and then allowing a hit and a run before the first inning closed.  But Heyer settled down, guiding the Cats to a 6-2 lead before turning the ball over to Joe Allison with two outs in the sixth.  Heyer’s record improved to 5-0.

Despite being on a winning roll lately, the Huskies (16-12, 2-2) rank last in the conference in ERA.  And the Cats took advantage of that weakness, piling up 12 hits in the win that brought them to 21-8 overall, 3-4 in the Pac-10.

Robert Refsnyder got his first home run in the second inning and Steve Selsky added a solo shot over the left field fence in the fourth.  Selsky, Jett Bandy, and Rafael Valenzuela all contributed two hits apiece.

They combined the hitting with flawless defensive work, going the full nine innings without an error.

The Wildcats are ranked No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll, which is where they entered the Top 25 rankings a couple of weeks ago.  They moved up to 20th briefly, but fell back again in the wake of their recent losing streak.

If they can take the next two in this weekend’s series at Husky Ballpark, they may begin to see a little movement again.

When they get back from Seattle, the Cats will have 15 of their last 23 games in their own park.

Ahh…home, sweet home.  It’s been rough on the road.