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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Rough ending

    Sarah Smith/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Wildcats take down the New Mexico Lobos 9-3 at Sancet Stadium on Tuesday night.
    Mike Christy
    Sarah Smith/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Wildcats take down the New Mexico Lobos 9-3 at Sancet Stadium on Tuesday night.

    During the Arizona baseball team’s last two seasons, when the kid with the fiery red goatee comes jogging onto Jerry Kindall Field, the Wildcats typically have the late lead. The usual result: a few whiffs from the opposing batters and a win for the Wildcats.

    Lately, however, that kid – UA closer Jason Stoffel – has made anything but quick work of opposing hitters.

    In each of the Wildcats’ last two series, the junior has blown a save opportunity which ultimately led to Arizona losses.

    The most recent implosion came against Washington State on Sunday when Stoffel entered in the ninth inning with a two-run lead. He allowed the Cougars to tie the game after giving up a pair of walks to go along with two hits. Arizona went on to lose the contest in 11 innings by a score of 8-7.

    “”Obviously I just haven’t done enough lately to be successful,”” Stoffel said of his recent performances. “”It’s been tough. I haven’t been throwing my breaking ball really well and that’s helped hitters hit my fastball a little better than they usually do.””

    Stoffel – who typically hits the mid-90s – has been one of the few consistent threats on an Arizona pitching staff which has been plagued with inconstancy and youth.

    Already on the year, the right-hander has collected a Pacific 10 Conference best seven saves and moved into sole possession as the all-time saves leader in Arizona baseball history.

    Despite the success, Stoffel has also gone through his fair share of struggles as well. He currently holds a career-high 4.54 ERA and is far short of reaching his strikeout total in either of his first two seasons.

    This season, Stoffel has also seen significant numbers in hits allowed (33) and walks issued (15). These problems come as an unwelcome surprise for the struggling Arizona pitching staff. However, the junior has tried not to let it affect his demeanor on the mound.

    “”Jason (Stoffel) is the same Jason no matter what’s situation he’s in (on the field),”” said catcher Daniel Butler. “”He always knows what his job is. So even if he’s getting hit, you never see him change. He’s just out there trying to throw strikes and get the next batter out.””

    Prior to the season, Stoffel was named a pre-season All-American after he set a school record with 13 saves and finished the year with a 3.00 ERA and 79 strikeouts through just 48 innings pitched in 2008.

    The numbers from his sophomore year campaign are not terribly different from his freshman year performance, in which he finished 5-0 with a 1.87 ERA in 26 appearances.

    Although his numbers this year are hard to compare, UA head coach Andy Lopez said he has no doubt his closer will not keep struggling for long.

    “”I think Stoffel will be fine,”” Lopez said. “”I’m sure he’d like to get some of those base on balls back but he’s been coming in and doing what he’s supposed to do in throwing strikes.

    “”Because of who he is, he’ll put some (of the losses) on his back,”” Lopez added, “”but really I think he’s been pitching well so I’m not too worried there.””

    Perry, Crowe seeing playing time in MLB

    Two former Wildcats who were named to opening-day rosters for the first time have been more than names on a lineup card thus far. Cleveland Indians outfielder Trevor Crowe was called up when left fielder David Dellucci was put on the 15-day DL with tightness in his calf.

    Crowe – a three-year Arizona letterman from 2003-05 – has seen action in seven games and has started five contests. So far he has a .227 batting average with a double and four RBIs in 22 at bats.

    Meanwhile, former Wildcats pitcher Ryan Perry, a member of last season’s Super Regional squad, has made the most of his five appearances out of the bullpen for Detroit. So far he has allowed just one earned run while issuing four strikeouts and three walks.

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