ASU in 3-game set

Bobby Stover

The end of spring break is a sad time for students, but returning to class is even more bitter for the Arizona baseball team.

After opening the break with a three-game sweep of Michigan (10-5), the Wildcats found themselves on the opposite end of the broom at the hands of Arizona State University (17-3, 3-0 Pacific 10 Conference).

Arizona followed a home sweep of the Wolverines – in which the Wildcats put up 25 total runs while their pitching staff threw a pair of shutouts – with a three-game effort which was far from similar.

Sunday’s grim 23-9 losing effort to the Sun Devils put a stamp on a rough weekend overall for Arizona (11-10, 0-3).

“”(Sunday’s loss) was just a really poor job of coaching on my part and I take full responsibility,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”I didn’t do a good job of preparing the guys (after Saturday’s game) and it just continued into today.””

Pitching was the key throughout the series as ASU’s staff out-dueled Arizona’s hurlers and held the Wildcats’ hitters off-balance all weekend long. The Sun Devils saw two starters go at least seven innings

Friday night starter Mike Leake (5-1) went the distance allowing only one run on five hits while fanning 15 Wildcats.

Arizona right-hander Preston Guilmet (2-2) matched his counterpart through his first four innings but then exited in the sixth after allowing two earned runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

“”The first two games we kind of got dominated by (ASU’s) first two starters,”” Lopez said. “”We had 15 strikeouts the first night and 11 the second night. That’s a tough thing to overcome.””

Sunday’s series finale was the opposite performance from Leake’s for Arizona southpaw Bryce Bandilla. The freshman lasted only four batters before being chased from the game.

After walking ASU’s leadoff hitter Jason Kipnis, Bandilla hit the batter and issued another walk before allowing an RBI single through the left side. Two more runs would be charged to Bandilla before the inning ended.

For the rest of the day, Arizona’s ineffectiveness on the mound and at the plate plagued the Wildcats, who fell short of the Sun Devils by 14 runs.

“”I think (ASU) had something to do with getting our hitters into a little bit of a slump,”” Lopez said. “”They pitched really well. They made the pitches they had to and played good defense the first two nights so that kind of put them in the driver’s seat there.””

Despite the sour taste left at the end of the break for Arizona, there was something to smile about. During the first weekend, the Wildcats dominated the Wolverines in a three-game home set at Sancet Stadium.

Arizona’s offense appeared to be in top form as Arizona hitters managed at least eight hits in each of the three games while collecting 20 during a 14-0 in the series finale.

Extra Bases

Arizona Closer Jason Stoffel was awarded the Pacific 10 Conference Pitcher of the Week last week after throwing 6 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout ball against Oklahoma State and Michigan the week prior. The junior collected his fourth and fifth saves of the year against the Wolverines during the three-game sweep.