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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball hosts USC

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Wildcats took on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pacific 10 Conference baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at Frank Sancet Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona State won 10-5.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats took on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pacific 10 Conference baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at Frank Sancet Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona State won 10-5.

The Arizona baseball team is looking for payback this weekend.

But it’s not because of the way the Wildcats, who currently sitting at seventh in the Pacific 10 Conference standings, have struggled this year. It’s also not because of the current abysmal skid they are on, having lost four of their last five — the only win coming behind a Kyle Simon complete game three-hitter.

It’s because of how Arizona was embarrassed while being swept by a struggling Southern California team that was well on its way to getting its coach fired a year ago.

“”After last year, we’re definitely going to sweep those guys,”” sophomore pitcher Kurt Heyer said.

But payback isn’t the only reason the Wildcats have their eyes set on a sweep this weekend. There are only three weekends of conference play remaining after the USC series, and Arizona (24-16, 6-9 Pac-10) is running out of time to salvage its Pac-10 record.

“”I’m getting a little tired of losing,”” said head coach Andy Lopez. “”Is there a feeling that we’re running out of time? If we continue to lose two out of three, then yes. I think there’s still plenty of time to do what we need to do. But we’ve got to start winning series. I don’t think we’ve run out of time yet, but we need to get going.””

There isn’t just one area of poor play that has bothered Arizona. Inconsistency has plagued both the bullpen and the lineup through Pac-10 play, and while Friday and Saturday starting pitching has been solid, Sunday has been a disaster.

“”We’re just struggling right now, everybody, the whole team is,”” said pitcher Bryce Bandilla. “”You can’t say pitching isn’t doing its job, you can’t say that hitting isn’t doing their job. It’s a team effort.””

Bandilla also knows that Arizona needs to string together wins this weekend against the Trojans (18-22, 8-7), who are just two games ahead of the Wildcats in the standings.

“”We’re not panicking, but we’ve backed ourselves into a corner with the way we’ve played,”” he said. “”We’re going to have to get hot this weekend. We can’t drop another series in the Pac-10. We’re going to have to change something or just get hot.””

Change is coming in the form of a switch in the pitching rotation. Heyer will pitch Sunday instead of Friday, and usual Sunday starter Tyler Hale isn’t in the rotation, being replaced by freshman Konner Wade, who will start Friday’s game. Kyle Simon will be on the mound on Saturday in his usual spot.

Although the wins haven’t come yet, the Wildcats have been putting in extra work during practice, hoping to break their skid.

“”We’ve just got to keep working hard and getting after it in practice,”” said catcher Jett Bandy. “”We’ve got to win. We have four series in the Pac-10, and we’ve got to win all those, flat out. There’s no question about it.””

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