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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcats open season winning 2 of 3 over LMU

    Andy Lopez
    Andy Lopez

    Despite defensive woes and poor starting pitching this weekend, Arizona head baseball coach Andy Lopez found relief by way of his bullpen, which helped the Wildcats secure a pair of season-opening wins over Loyola Marymount.

    “”I’m a little disappointed (in the starting pitching). On the flip side, I’m very happy with our pen,”” said Lopez, whose Wildcats (2-1) won 10-5 on Friday and 5-3 on Saturday before falling 12-5 to the Lions yesterday at Sancet Stadium. “”If you are in the bullpen and you pitch better than a guy that’s a starter, then that’s easy. They’ll be starting.””

    That may come true as early as next weekend, as Lopez said junior pitcher Mark Melancon could be pulled from his closer role and replaced by redshirt freshman reliever Daniel Schlereth.

    “”Mark Melancon deserves to be a Friday-night starter,”” Lopez said. “”But he’s as good as any closer in the nation.””

    Three Wildcat relievers combined to pitch 10 1/3 scoreless innings on Friday and Saturday, allowing only three hits. Schlereth, son of former NFL guard and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, threw four hitless innings en route to recording his first collegiate save on Friday.

    “”I felt really smooth,”” said Schlereth, who redshirted last year at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas after undergoing Tommy John surgery. “”Coming out of the bullpen I felt good. My ball was getting down.””

    Melancon followed suit on Saturday, earning a save in three hitless innings after junior Brad Mills, who earned the win, pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings. With the save, Melancon – who is on the Roger Clemens Watch List for the nation’s best collegiate pitcher – became the Arizona all-time saves leader

    with 15.

    The relievers came back down to Earth yesterday, however, as freshmen Preston Guilmet, Ryan Perry and Cory Burns combined to allow four earned runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

    The Arizona infielders also struggled as the Wildcats had 11 errors over the weekend, including six combined by senior third baseman Brad Boyer and junior shortstop Jason Donald.

    “”We just didn’t slow the game down,”” Donald said. “”We didn’t do a good job defensively, we didn’t play catch and that’s basically what it boils down to. We tried to play the game too quick, I think, this weekend.””

    Lopez said that while he wasn’t pleased by yesterday’s performance, he tried not to let it get to him.

    “”(Even) on a great year, I’m going to have 10 days when I’m going to go home and feel like I should be a truck driver,”” Lopez said. “”Tonight’s the night I’ll take one of those ads down on the cable news and get the number down and put it in my back pocket and probably think about it for a day or two.””

    Sophomore starter David Coulon lost yesterday, as he gave up five earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.

    Junior reliever Brad Mills walked away with the win Saturday in relief of freshman Mike Colla, who struggled, allowing three earned runs over 2 2/3 innings.

    Sophomore starter Eric Berger earned the win on Friday, allowing five runs – only one of which was earned – in addition to one walk and three strikeouts.

    Arizona hits the road for the first time this season next week when the Wildcats take on the University of California-Riverside starting Friday in a three-game set.

    Regents extend Lopez’s contract through 2011

    The Arizona Board of Regents approved the athletic department’s request to extend Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez’s contract through 2011 on Friday.

    “”Oh, it went through?”” Lopez asked. “”I’d been told I was getting one.””

    Lopez, who is in his fifth year of coaching Arizona since taking over for Jerry Stitt in 2002, has led three of his four Arizona squads to the postseason.

    “”I would love to (end my career at Arizona),”” he said. “”My wife and kids love this town. We’ve been offered a couple jobs in the last couple of years, but we have not talked once about leaving here. And working with Jim Livengood, he is without a doubt the best athletic director I’ve ever worked for.””

    The contract includes a salary increase of $7,678, which raises it to $96,615 per year. Lopez’s prior contract was due to expire June 30, 2008.

    -Lindsey Frazier and Lisa Rich

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