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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Stoffel earning more innings

    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

The University of Arizona defeats the University of Massachusetts Sunday March 8, 2009.
    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona defeats the University of Massachusetts Sunday March 8, 2009.

    It is unusual to see a closer listed on the stat sheet under most appearances.

    It is especially odd for a team carrying an 11-10 record.

    However, Arizona baseball closer Jason Stoffel is not an average closer. With a fastball averaging in the low 90s, the junior has drawn much recognition and become infamous among his opponents for his ability to send them back to the bench with the bat still on their shoulder.

    In fact, Stoffel is currently second in the Pacific 10 Conference for called strikeouts with 13.

    These reasons, coupled with the continuing struggles of the rest of Arizona’s young staff, are why the right-hander finds himself second in the conference in appearances (14) despite being a closer.

    “”Stoffel’s been doing a great job for us and we’ve needed him,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”We’ve definitely been stretching him out and we’ll probably continue to do that.””

    “”I’d like to continue getting five to seven innings a week out of him, but if he can’t do that then obviously we’ll start using (the other guys) a bit more,”” Lopez added.

    A slumping pitching staff has been the main factor in Stoffel’s increased work load. As a staff, Arizona is ninth in the conference in earned run average (5.61) and 10th in opponents’ batting average (.307).

    Out of all the Wildcat pitchers with at least 15 innings of work, only two have ERA’s below 6.00 – Stoffel and starting pitcher Preston Guilmet.

    For the most part, Stoffel has shown little weakness. The junior was even awarded the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week award after the team’s sweep of Michigan for allowing a single hit through 6 1/3 innings during the week.

    Last week, however, Stoffel hit a bump against ASU and gave up eight earned runs through 3 2/3 innings.

    Six of the runs came in Sunday’s 23-9 beat down at the hands of the Sun Devils when the righty entered the game in the eighth inning as the Wildcats’ sixth pitcher of the afternoon.

    “”There’s no person who’s never going to get hit,”” said catcher Daniel Butler. “”There’ll be times you get hit and get hit a lot and (Stoffel) had one of those Sunday.””

    “”But he’ll be fine. It doesn’t matter whether he’s getting hit or not,”” Butler added. “”He’s still got the same mentality of ‘give me the ball and let me get this next guy out.’ He doesn’t change.””

    Freshman Roach loses spot in starting rotation

    After missing a start against Oklahoma State two weeks ago due to an academic violation, Lopez said right-hander Donn Roach is back pitching with the team but will not be part of the starting rotation this upcoming weekend when the team takes on UCLA in Los Angeles.

    Roach, who had moved his way into the Sunday starting role, lasted only four starts before the incident which Lopez called, “”not taking care of business in the classroom,”” allowed fellow freshman Bryce Bandilla to take over the current role.

    Lopez said Roach could still see action in a relief role. On the season, the Las Vegas native was 1-2 with an ERA of 6.12 through 19 innings of work.

    Lopez to stick with Bandilla as Sunday starter

    Despite an outing that lasted only four batters and resulted in three earned runs last Sunday, Lopez said he will stay with freshman Bryce Bandilla in the Sunday starting role against the Bruins this weekend.

    “”We’re just going to keep (the rotation) the same,”” Lopez said. “”I have to give Bandilla another chance. We really don’t have a lot of options and I want these guys (right-hander Matt Veltmann and Bandilla) to get more seasoned.””

    On the year Bandilla owns a 2-1 record but carries a 6.23 ERA through 21 2/3 innings.

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