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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Stanford next for baseball

    UA sophomore Daniel Workman hurls a pitch toward home plate during an 8-5 UA loss to Oklahoma State on March 11 at Sancet Stadium. The Wildcats play three games at Stanford this weekend.
    UA sophomore Daniel Workman hurls a pitch toward home plate during an 8-5 UA loss to Oklahoma State on March 11 at Sancet Stadium. The Wildcats play three games at Stanford this weekend.

    The dream of a postseason is vanishing quickly for the Arizona baseball team. But head coach Andy Lopez and his team have not abandoned hope yet.

    With the Wildcats sitting in the cellar of the Pacific 10 Conference with a league record of 3-12 – 17-19 overall – they likely need a sweep of the Stanford Cardinal (17-16, 7-8 Pac-10) this weekend to keep any chance of a regional appearance alive.

    “”I’m not at that point yet,”” Lopez said of considering his season over. “”If you ask me next week, maybe the answer will be yes. But now, I’m just focused on trying to get (the team) to play well on the weekends.””

    Arizona has yet to pick up a conference series win and is currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak against conference opponents.

    To make their pain worse, three of the Wildcats’ last four conference losses have come by one run. This trend is not new to the team, which has seen nine games decided by a singlerun this season – in which Arizona holds a 3-6 record.

    Fingers can be pointed in various directions as to the reason for the Wildcats’ repeated short-comings, but overall a combination of slip-ups has doomed Arizona.

    “”I don’t think (the one-run losses) has been an issue of getting the runs,”” said UA third baseman Brad Glenn. “”It’s more the defense. We seem to screw ourselves at least once or twice near the ends of games and that really has cost us.””

    Arizona is second in the conference for errors with 59 – second only to USC. The Wildcats’ mistake-prone defense became a big factor in last Sunday’s extra-inning loss to Washington State, when three errors in a single inning allowed the Cougars to score two runs and climb back into the game.

    Sloppy defense has also robbed starting pitcher Preston Guilmet of his first conference win on several occasions. Last Friday, the senior entered the seventh inning with a 4-2 lead after allowing just one earned run back in the first. But after Guilmet allowed one run to score, outfielder Hunter Pace fell while going for a ball, allowing a two-run triple to drop and thus robbing the right-hander of a win and sending him to his fourth loss of the year.

    “”Obviously we’ve ended up on the bottom side of things a lot this season,”” said closing pitcher Jason Stoffel. “”That’s been frustrating. But hopefully we can get things figured out soon because we need to play better baseball all around.””

    While Guilmet has proven consistent throughout the year, the same cannot be said for the rest of the Arizona pitching staff which consists mostly of underclassmen. With a team ERA of 5.63, the Wildcats have not fooled many hitters and the results have been evident as only three pitchers on Arizona’s staff have a winning record.

    To Lopez, the lack of production from his young staff and his various freshman starters in the field has nothing to do with a lack of skill.

    “”In my opinion (the lack of maturity) is a direct correlation to our lack of success,”” Lopez said. “”We talk about all that stuff about being accountable and taking care of things off the field, but still some of these guys just don’t do it.

    “”If you can’t get things done off the field,”” he added, “”then you won’t be successful on the field.””

    For the upperclassmen and the leaders on the team, the year has been a battle to try and get through to the younger players. However, the messages seem to be disregarded as at least two freshmen – according to Lopez – have been academically ineligible this season.

    But despite the maturity issues, the team’s leaders have yet to give up on the year.

    “”I definitely thought we’d be in a much different situation right now,”” Glenn said. “”But you never give up. That’s just more of a pride thing I guess. We’ll keep fighting through every game until the season’s over.””

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