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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bad blood

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.

Arizona’s baseball game with No. 8 ASU today doesn’t matter in the Pacific 10 Conference standings.

But while the Wildcats won’t gain or lose a game, tonight is a must-win for the team’s confidence.

Arizona was expected to make a run at its first trip to Omaha, Neb., and the College World Series since 2004, but now the Wildcats will most likely have to go on the road against a top seed — making a daunting task seem almost impossible.

But despite its recent struggles, Arizona has a chance to turn the season around and make an improbable run. The talent is there, the coaching is there and the will to win is there.

Today’s game is almost more important than a conference game. The Wildcats need answers — ones that lead to wins in the games that count — and this is their last chance to find them before taking on Southern California in a pivotal conference showdown.

Those answers need to start coming from the bullpen, which has transformed from being a not-so-sure-thing to a full-blown liability.

Even blessed with all the talent in the world, Bryce Bandilla can’t seem to put together back-to-back promising outings, moving Matt Chaffee to the closer role and opening the door for Arizona’s younger arms to get a shot.

Head coach Andy Lopez isn’t a fan of relying on freshman arms in Pac-10 play, but that’s what’s going to have to happen for Arizona to have any chance at running a reliable bullpen out onto the mound each game.

The bullpen isn’t the only glaring problem with this Arizona team. Its offense has been inconsistent — scoring 18 runs in the opener against Oregon State ace Sam Gaviglio, then scoring four runs in each of the next two games in the series.

Today’s game doesn’t matter in the standings, and win or lose, the outcome won’t determine the rest of the season.

If Arizona’s offense doesn’t produce or the bullpen costs the Wildcats another game, it will just be another brick in the wall.

— Alex Williams is a journalism sophomore. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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