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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Sweeping through the Pac

    UA pitcher David Coulon releases a pitch in Arizonas 5-3 victory over California Saturday at Sancet Stadium to complete the three-game sweep. Coulon earned the win after pitching three hitless innings.
    UA pitcher David Coulon releases a pitch in Arizona’s 5-3 victory over California Saturday at Sancet Stadium to complete the three-game sweep. Coulon earned the win after pitching three hitless innings.

    The Arizona baseball team says it’s trying to send a message to the rest of the Pacific 10 Conference: We’re here to stay.

    Saturday’s 5-3 win to complete a sweep of California may have done just that, as the No. 17 Wildcats (28-6, 6-0 Pac-10) extended their winning streak to 14 and continued conference play on a roll after sweeping then-No. 4 Oregon State two weeks ago.

    Coupled with a 15-12 win over the Golden Bears (17-17, 2-4 Pac-10) on Friday night, Arizona became the first team in program history to open Pac-10 play with six consecutive wins.

    “”It’s huge,”” said catcher Dwight Childs. “”Now you’re hoping when you show up at a place on the road, you get off that bus, (and) people are like, ‘Oh, we got to play Arizona?'””We’re trying to send a message that we’re a good team, and as long as we don’t get complacent, we’re going to keep getting wins.””

    The 28 total wins surpass the total from last season, when the Wildcats went 27-28, and the current win streak is Arizona’s longest since taking 16 in a row in 1998.

    “”Pitchers are throwing strikes, defense isn’t making errors, we’re getting hits when we need hits,”” said Childs, who tied a career high with three hits Saturday. “”It’s as simple as that.””

    But perhaps most impressive about the conference start is that Arizona has done it all without closer Daniel Schlereth, who’s missed the past two weekends with an abdominal strain and is likely due back next week.

    “”That’s the real kicker for me,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”We just ran off two weekends in Pac-10 play, and we didn’t have our closer at the end. That bodes pretty well if we can just stay where we’re at.””

    On Saturday, first baseman C.J. Ziegler knocked in three runs, including two that put the Wildcats up for good with a seventh-inning double off the wall in right.

    After a rocky start, UA starter Ryan Perry eventually settled down, throwing 82 pitches in five innings, his longest outing of the year. The sophomore missed the first five weeks of the season with a broken left elbow and has been struggling to build his arm strength back up ever since.

    He was replaced by lefty David Coulon – the player whose spot in the rotation he took this weekend – to start the sixth. Coulon responded with one of his best outings of the year, picking up the win after not allowing a hit in three innings and striking out two against two walks.

    But Lopez said Perry will keep his spot in the rotation.

    “”(Perry’s outing) wasn’t stellar … but it was very good for where he’s been,”” Lopez said.

    On Friday, the Wildcats hit double digits in runs for the second time in three games, but they needed nearly all of them, as Arizona’s arms couldn’t seem to get anyone out after being spotted a 14-2 lead heading into the sixth inning.

    “”We’ve said it for a long time, our little motto we got going is ‘Pick each other up,'”” right fielder Jon Gaston said after Friday’s game, in which he finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs.

    “”If someone gets out, we pick each other up with a big hit, or if a pitcher’s struggling, we’ll give them some more runs so they feel more comfortable.””

    Cal scored a combined 10 runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to Arizona’s one as the Bears cut the Wildcat advantage to 15-12.

    “”We hung a lot of zeros in the first four (innings), and then we started to get a little – we wanted to be perfect, we wanted to keep hanging those zeros like we did (Thursday) night (in Arizona’s 1-0 win in 11 innings),”” Childs said. “”Sometimes, you don’t need to do that. Sometimes you just need to get ground balls, get pop outs.””

    Cal starter Alex Rollin (6-2) was rocked, giving up 10 runs on 11 hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings, as he shouldered the loss. The right-hander’s ERA ballooned to 5.29 after entering the game with a 3.88 mark.

    Arizona starter Brad Mills (7-2) finished with four walks in 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits as he picked up his team-leading seventh win.

    “”I was breezing through the first four (innings), but then we got (14) runs by then, and I kind of got caught up in trying to throw a great game,”” Mills said.

    Extra bases

    Arizona hits the road for the next three weekends in a row. Its next home game is May 4 against Liberty. … Cal closer Matt Gorgen (1-3), who entered the series with the best ERA in the Pac-10 at 1.64, was charged with his second loss of the series Saturday after taking the loss Thursday. He now has a 1.91 ERA. … Righties Cory Burns and Jason Stoffel picked up their second saves of the season on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

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