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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Oakland up next for Arizona baseball

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Emily Gauci

Arizona baseball catcher Riley Moore (6) hits the ball during Arizona’s 6-4 extra innings loss to Rice on Sunday at Hi Corbett Field. Moore and the Wildcats host Oakland for a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Arizona baseball hosts Oakland today and tomorrow at Hi Corbett Field.

The Wildcats (6-2) lost a three-game series to No. 17 Rice last weekend 1-2. Strong hitting performances from catcher Riley Moore, who went 6-16 and recorded a two-run home run on both Friday and Saturday, and second baseman Scott Kingery, who has a .486 batting average and went 6-13 against the Owls, backed their efforts.

“We never thought we were out of it,” Kingery said. “We knew we had a chance no matter what happened.”

Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said that after Sunday’s 4-6 loss in extra innings, he was proud of where his team is at so far, and they put up a good fight against one of the best hitting teams in the country.

“You look up the numbers [Rice] put up at Texas, and they can hit,” Lopez said. “Rice was a very good team.”

Lopez said the one thing Arizona needs to work on is its defensive lapses. With Arizona’s first road trip coming up after the midweek Oakland matchup, Arizona travels south to Mississippi State. In order to make that a successful trip, the Wildcats need to stop dropping fly balls, kicking balls and letting runners advance.

Lopez also said he’s still looking to find his starting pitching rotation for Pac-12 Conference play, something that the two-game series against Oakland should help with.

“Now we just have to find the right people and put them in the right spots,” Lopez said. “But I think they’re here.”

Arizona’s pitching performances didn’t compare to the impressive opening weekend executions against Eastern Michigan. Sunday starter Tyger Talley gave up four runs on nine hits in just 3.1 innings on Sunday.

It’s expected that Cody Hamlin will start tonight and Nathan Bannister will open tomorrow; although last Tuesday, Lopez brought Bannister in as a reliever for Hamlin and started senior Xavier Borde on Wednesday.

Right now, Lopez said he just wants to explore all his pitching options, even if that means getting someone on the mound that he doesn’t really want to. However, he would rather figure it out now than still be in the dark for the Pac-12 opener against Utah on March 13.

The Oakland Golden Grizzlies are 0-6 in season play so far. Back-to-back sweeps against Florida State and Arizona’s Pac-12 opponent USC have highlighted the beginning of the season.

The Golden Grizzlies are still playing with their starting lineup as well. Six of their nine players have started every game. One of those players, Ian Yetsko, is batting .350.

Oakland has scored just 16 runs compared to Arizona’s 63 in the season. Arizona has also forced 24 errors; Oakland is averaging about one error per game.

“We’ve just got to keep competing every day,” infielder Bobby Dalbec said. “Oakland may not be Rice, but we can’t take them lightly, because anyone can beat anyone.”

First pitch is at 6 p.m., and tomorrow’s game starts at 3 p.m. Both games can be streamed live at arizonawildcats.com.

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Follow Nicole Cousins on Twitter.

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