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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Baseball drops 4th straight despite spotless defense

    The No. 6 Arizona baseball team can’t seem to escape the black cloud under which it currently sits.

    For the sixth time in their last seven games, the Wildcats fell. Despite a rare, perfect defensive performance, Arizona (13-7, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference) found little offensive production in a 3-2 loss to Oklahoma State (17-6, 3-3 Big 12 Conference) last night in Stillwater, Okla.

    After averaging just under 10 runs per game through the first 15 games of the season, Arizona’s bats have fallen silent. In their last five games the Wildcats scored a total of six runs, including two shutouts at the hands of USC last weekend.

    “”We’re going through a rough stretch right now,”” head coach Andy Lopez wrote in an e-mail, “”but I reminded the team tonight that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.””

    While the offense struggled, Arizona found some light in that for only the second time in 11 games the team finished the game with zero errors.

    Lopez again tweaked the lineup with the return of some familiar faces. Dillon Baird took over the third base duties once again while former shortstop Robert Abel found his way back into the lineup at second base.

    Recent third

    We’re going through a rough stretch right now, but I reminded the team tonight that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.

    – Andy Lopez,
    head coach

    baseman Colt Sedbrook was left off the infield roster, but contributed to the batting order filling in as the designated hitter.

    With a tight defense behind them, the Arizona pitching staff looked strong overall allowing nine Cowboy hits. But one big inning by Oklahoma State proved to be enough.

    Through the first two innings, starting pitcher Ryan Perry (1-2) looked impressive, allowing only a pair of base runners while striking out four.

    But in the third inning, the Cowboys’ right fielder Dylan Brown laced a double to right field. Two batters later, shortstop Jordy Mercer reached on an infield single.

    Then a mistake by Perry allowed Oklahoma State designated hitter Matt Hague to strike a three-run shot to left field.

    Arizona’s pitching staff held the Cowboys quiet for the remainder of the night, but the three runs was all Oklahoma State needed to secure the two-game series sweep.

    “”We played better defense and got some great pitching out of Ryan and the bullpen,”” Lopez said. “”But we need to continue to improve as the year moves along and I believe we will.””

    Despite tallying 11 total hits, Arizona couldn’t push the tying run across. The Wildcats gave themselves a couple chances, but were unable to cash in.

    In the fifth inning, pinch hitter Mike Weldon roped a triple to right field then later scored on a wild pitch, bringing Arizona within one run. After first baseman C.J. Ziegler grounded out, the next two Wildcat batters reached base with only one out, but neither player advanced.

    Weldon began a rally again in the ninth with a single to center field. But this time a failed bunt attempt followed by a double play off the bat of center fielder Jon Gaston put an end to any attempt at tying the game.

    “”We just couldn’t come up with a key hit at the plate,”” Lopez said. “”We’re going to have to regroup here pretty quick.””

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