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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Offense key to rebound

    UA outfielder Jon Gaston swings away in a 7-6 Wildcat win over Indiana State at Sancet Stadium on Sunday. Arizona has averaged 7.6 runs per game over the last five games.
    UA outfielder Jon Gaston swings away in a 7-6 Wildcat win over Indiana State at Sancet Stadium on Sunday. Arizona has averaged 7.6 runs per game over the last five games.

    They say all good things must come to an end. According to Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez, the same goes for all bad things.

    Following the Wildcats’ 7-6 victory over Indiana State Sunday, Lopez responded to questions regarding his team’s current five-game winning streak on the tail of what has been a discouraging slump for his once top-ranked team.

    His response: “”I’m not surprised.””

    “”A lot of

    We started to play good (defense) and we’re pitching well, and we’re putting hit after hit after hit together and starting to get runs again.

    – Colt Sedbrook,
    second baseman

    programs are going through tough times right now,”” Lopez said. “” (Former No. 5) Long Beach State just lost 11 out of their last 13 games. It’s just the way the schedule is. It’s a tough situation if you’re not playing well. There’s just no practice days, no way to get out of a slump.””

    Prior to last week, Arizona (20-11, 3-6 Pacific 10 Conference) struggled achieving any sort of consistency not only on the field but at the plate. In eight of the 10 games prior, the Wildcats scored four or fewer runs while suffering three shutouts over the 2-8 stretch.

    But lately, Arizona bats returned to form as the Wildcats pounded out 38 runs while holding the opposition to 16 through the teams’ current five-game winning streak.

    Now Arizona carries its offensive momentum to Albuquerque, N.M., where it will take on New Mexico (24-12) in a two-game series beginning tonight.

    With the way Arizona hit through much of March, several of the Wildcats’ normally consistent hitters are glad to see things turning around since April began.

    Over the last five games, Arizona hit .282 as a team with 12 doubles and six long balls. But for the Wildcats, the most impressive part of the past week has been the consistency.

    Last week was the first time Arizona’s offense managed to record consecutive five-plus run performances since March 21, which happened to be the start of the team’s debilitating 3-10 slump throughout the tail end of March.

    “”We were pretty slow, we weren’t in the game too well,”” second baseman Colt Sedbrook said of the team’s offense during its slump. “”We were trying to do too much and had long strokes. Our at-bats just weren’t very successful.

    “”But now we’re starting to get things going again,”” Sedbrook added. “”We’re starting to play good (defense) and we’re pitching well, and we’re putting hit after hit after hit together and starting to get runs again.””

    Interestingly, despite several members of Arizona’s offense contributing to the slump, many of their batting averages still top .300. Out of 13 players with 17 or more game appearances, seven are hitting above .300 with three of the remaining six carrying an average above the .250 mark.

    And although third baseman Brad Glenn began the season in a slump, the junior has begun his resurrection throughout the past week with several big hits in key situations.

    Most recently, Glenn smacked a monstrous three-run homer against Indiana State Sunday that brought the Wildcats back from an early 6-1 deficit to tie the game in the fifth inning.

    “”It’s about time I start hitting,”” Glenn said. “”I’m starting to feel more comfortable at the plate and as a team we’re starting to shorten up out strokes and put better contact on the ball. We’re just looking to continue getting better from here.””

    The Wildcats’ schedule caters to a still-improving offense over the next week and a half as neither New Mexico nor Arizona’s weekend opponent, Washington State (19-15, 3-6), exert much of a threat.

    In Arizona’s previous meetings with the Lobos, the Wildcats hold an overwhelming 160-32 advantage including a three-game sweep in Tucson last year when Arizona outscored the Lobos 25-10.

    New Mexico also enters tonight’s series opener with an opponent-friendly team ERA of 5.11.

    If you ask Lopez, the answer to how Arizona can continue its current offensive strength: mechanics.

    “”The mechanical answer is we need to shorten up our strokes,”” Lopez said. “”We shortened up our strokes in the fifth inning

    (Sunday) and we scored five runs. That’s really our issue right now. If we start swinging for hits instead of trying to swing for home runs I think we’ll be OK.””

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