Arizona baseball: From title to pros, Rickard, Heyer try to make their mark

2013-02-16T00:00:00Z Arizona baseball: From title to pros, Rickard, Heyer try to make their markDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Believe it or not, center fielder Joey Rickard and pitcher Kurt Heyer don't remember the final out of the Arizona Wildcats' national championship game last June.

They were both at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Heyer in the dugout and Rickard in center field, but neither could take you through the details of the 27th out of the team's 4-1 win over South Carolina.

The former Wildcats got a refresher Friday night at Hi Corbett Field.

Rickard and Heyer, two of the heroes from last year's College World Series title team, were on hand for the Wildcats' season opener against Coppin State. Before the first pitch, the two participated in an on-field celebration with coach Andy Lopez and athletic director Greg Byrne.

A video highlighting the Wildcats' run to a title played on the video board in left field.

"It was unreal," Rickard said. "That video brought back a lot of memories, especially that last fly ball. I blacked out, so it was good seeing what I looked like doing it."

In case you don't remember, the final out was caught by right fielder Robert Refsnyder, who waived off Rickard.

"(Rickard) really wanted that one," Heyer said. "I blacked out too, but I know he wanted that last out. Refsnyder got it, and that's OK."

Rickard and Heyer then threw dual first pitches and watched the national championship banner be unveiled in center field.

"It was awesome watching that video and seeing the dog pile after the last out," Heyer said. "I hope they can do it again this year."

If they do, it will have to be without Rickard, a .320 hitter from a year ago and Heyer, a 13-game winner on the mound.

Here's a look at what both Rickard and Heyer, now minor- leaguers, are up to now.

Rickard

Organization: Tampa Bay Rays

Where he finished 2012: Hudson Valley (N.Y.), Class A short-season

How he did: The right-handed hitting Rickard hit .279 in 47 games with 11 doubles and 14 RBIs.

What's next: Rickard reports to Port Charlotte, Fla., on March 4 for spring training and will be looking to make a full-season roster. The most logical next step for Rickard is the Rays' Class A team in Bowling Green, Ky.

Quotable: "For me, I still think about (the national championship) pretty often. I haven't had a lot to do lately, so I think about it a few times a week. It was an amazing moment and I don't ever want to forget it." - Rickard

Heyer

Organization: St. Louis Cardinals

Where he finished 2012: Batavia (N.Y.), Class A short-season

How he did: Heyer only has six professional innings to his credit, four in Batavia and two for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. He gave up three runs and struck out nine over the six innings. The Cardinals were cautious with him after he logged 153 innings for the Wildcats last season.

What's next: Heyer reports to Jupiter, Fla., for Cardinals spring training two days after Rickard, on March 6. Like his former teammate, he'll look to make a full-season team in his second year.

Quotable: "Every time I walk by the (title) pictures or (see) the rings, I'm like, 'Man, I want to do it all over again.' But, it was a great way to end it - a nice little cherry on top. I can't ask for any more."

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

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