The Arizona Wildcats insist they are over their 2012 College World Series championship. They'll plead with anyone who will listen that they aren't thinking about that anymore.
They could have fooled the 5,145 fans that came out for their season opener against Coppin State on Friday night at Hi Corbett Field.
The Wildcats rolled the Eagles 16-0 to open the 2013 campaign, but that was secondary on Friday.
There was a party to be had.
The Wildcats opened the season with a pregame celebration, unveiling their 2012 championship banner in center field. The team's Pac-12 and national championship trophies were on display in the main concourse right through the entrance, and there were more championship rings in the house than a New York Yankees convention.
If that wasn't enough, there was also a fireworks show before and after the game.
"There were a lot of things going on tonight and rightfully so," coach Andy Lopez said. "I hope there's this much going on every year when we open. Short of a couple of elephants and a giraffe on the field, it was all going on here."
It was all enough to distract a team, which was Lopez's concern Friday.
Facing a Coppin State team that went 1-53 last year, Lopez didn't want his team taking anything for granted in Game 1 of 55.
"It was a concern of mine; it really was," Lopez said. "It wasn't a normal night."
Luckily for Lopez, distractions weren't an issue for his starting pitcher, Konner Wade. In fact, he probably could have gotten the giraffe and elephants out.
The junior right-hander carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, when he gave up a lead-off single to David Hamlett. Wade retired the next batter and then was removed by Lopez for reliever Nick Cunningham.
All told, Wade went 6 1/3 innings, giving up just one hit and one walk and striking out eight. He had a pitch limit of 90 pitches and tossed 92.
"He's one of the best Friday night guys in the country," junior center fielder Johnny Field said.
Wade said he was first aware of his no-hit bid in the fifth inning. It was the deepest he's ever gone with one.
"But, I knew I wasn't throwing nine innings tonight," Wade said.
The Wildcats bats gave Wade plenty of run support to work with. The UA got on the board in the third inning with seven runs and added five more in the fourth. Lopez's squad also scored two runs each in the fifth and eighth.
Field led the way, going 3 for 5 with five RBIs, three runs scored and a triple. Freshman left fielder Scott Kingery, sophomore catcher Riley Moore and sophomore DH Tyler Parmenter all had two-hit, two-RBI games in the win.
Kingery gave the Wildcats a nice lift out of the leadoff spot, going 2 for 3 with three runs scored and two RBIs. He reached base five times in six plate appearances, including being hit by a pitch three times. Lopez wasn't sure the freshman from Phoenix Mountain Pointe High School was even going to play after battling mononucleosis in the preseason.
"He did not practice for the first four weeks of January, so I didn't know what to expect," Lopez said. "But, he was great."
The 16 runs were the most in a season opener since a 19-6 win over St. Mary's in the 1999 opener. The Wildcats were also hit by a pitch seven times Friday, marking a program single-game record.
"It was a great night," Wade said. "Seeing the banner go up and everything, it was a real special night. These fans were great tonight. It's the best place to play on the West Coast, and it showed tonight."
The Wildcats and Eagles will play again today at 2 p.m.
• Who: Coppin State at Arizona
• When: 2 p.m.
• Where: Hi Corbett Field
• Radio: None
Contact reporter Daniel Berk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk