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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball to face UCLA’s big arms

Annie Marum / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Baseball vs Cal Double Header
Annie Marum
Annie Marum / Arizona Daily Wildcat Baseball vs Cal Double Header

The No. 20 Arizona baseball team hits the road for a three-game series with the No. 23 UCLA Bruins.

Arizona’s (22-11, 4-5 Pacific 10 Conference) biggest weakness early on in conference play has been the bullpen, and that will need to improve against the Bruins (17-11, 7-2 Pac-10) this weekend.

Bruin brutality

The UCLA pitching staff is dynamite, plain and simple.

To put it in perspective, UCLA ranks third in the nation with a team ERA of 2.12

Saturday starter Trevor Bauer (6-1) also leads the nation with 97 strikeouts to complement his 1.67 ERA over 64.7 innings pitched this year. The dominant right-hander has thrown at least 10 strikeouts in six of his seven starts over the season.

If that wasn’t enough for the Arizona hitters to be concerned with, they’ll face starter Gerrit Cole on Friday, who has a 1.74 ERA and 64 strikeouts over 57 innings of work this season.

If any team is capable of bringing down one of the nation’s top 1-2 punches, it’s Arizona. The Wildcats are third in the nation with a team batting average of .342 and the 248 runs scored this season positions them at No. 12 in the country.

Arizona sophomore Joey Rickard is tied for first in the country with 59 hits and leads the team with an impeccable .428 batting average.

Bullpen, bullpen, bullpen

It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but the Arizona bullpen is still not doing its job.

“”Our issue right now is who’s going to get us to Chaffee,”” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “”You look at Chaffee’s walk to strikeout ratio, it’s phenomenal, but we have to get to him and we’ve got to get to him with the lead.””

According to Lopez, the bridge to Chaffee should be junior Bryce Bandilla and sophomore Nick Cunningham, but both have struggled of late, highlighted by Bandilla’s 19 walks in 23.1 innings.

Regardless of his numbers, Lopez remains positive about Bandilla.

“”We saw some good things out of Bandilla,”” Lopez said this week. “”He threw two

really good intrasquad innings.

“”I’m always optimistic. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to keep digging.””

Selsky sidelined again

Just a few short weeks after coming off a broken finger that kept him in the dugout through the start of the season, Arizona preseason All-American Steve Selsky is out with a pulled hamstring that he sustained during the intrasquad game on Tuesday.

Despite being Arizona’s top hitter last season, Selsky hasn’t quite found his rhythm hitting just .222 in 15 starts since his return.

No timetable has been set for his recovery, but Lopez confirmed that Selsky wouldn’t travel with the team to UCLA this weekend.

 

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