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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Home series welcomed by UA baseball

    Arizona pitcher David Coulon delivers a pitch during a Feb. 5 practice session at Sancet Stadium. The Wildcats play their home opener against Sacramento State tonight at 7 with Coulon slated to take the mound Saturday.
    Arizona pitcher David Coulon delivers a pitch during a Feb. 5 practice session at Sancet Stadium. The Wildcats play their home opener against Sacramento State tonight at 7 with Coulon slated to take the mound Saturday.

    Dorothy uttered the famous words, “”There’s no place like home,”” in the “”Wizard of Oz”” in 1939.

    In 2007, the Arizona baseball team expressed similar sentiments. The Wildcats finished last season with an impressive 28-4 home record while winning 10 of the 11 series they hosted.

    Tonight at 7, No. 1 Arizona (2-1) will see if the magic can continue in its five-game home stand when it makes its home debut against Sacramento State (1-2) at
    Sancet Stadium.

    The Wildcats are coming off a 2-1 series win last weekend against Georgia in which record attendance numbers were reached. The attendance for Saturday’s game eclipsed any non-conference game in Foley Field history and roughly 400 to 500 people were turned away at

    the gate, according to Georgia officials.

    “”Georgia Tech comes in (to Georgia’s stadium) twice a year and they don’t have that kind of crowd,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”People were hanging over the fences, it was pretty amazing.””

    “”Hopefully our guys will get a chance to play in front of some big crowds like that here in town,”” he added.

    When asked about the impact of playing in front of a big audience, not many players denied being affected.

    Second baseman Colt Sedbrook admitted some of his most memorable games relate to the large crowds and added that all the hype prior to the season leads to higher attendance on opening weekend.

    “”I don’t care if people jump on the bandwagon,”” Sedbrook said. “”I would love to have thousands of people here every night. Last year for the Oregon State series, we had 2,000-3,000 people supporting us. That was the best feeling ever.””

    Last weekend, Arizona opened its season in frigid temperatures Friday and then scurried to make its flight out of town Sunday after a four-hour contest.

    Lopez said the comfort of being home should be a positive for his team.

    “”You’re just used to your surroundings and you’re used to your routine,”” Lopez said. “”There’s always a nice feeling about going home and hopefully we can play (at home) as well as we did last year.””

    Although Arizona appeared rusty, southpaw David

    Coulon threw 5.1 innings with eight strikeouts and allowed just one run.

    The Wildcats committed eight errors last weekend, all of which occurred in the infield. Third baseman Dillon Baird was responsible for two of the team’s miscues.

    “”I think it was just some opening weekend jitters; I know I had them,”” Baird said. “”That was the first time I had ever played in an environment (like Georgia) and it’s a whole different thing. But hopefully we got (the errors) out of our system.””

    Also appearing shaky in his season debut was the ace of the pitching staff Preston Guilmet. The preseason All-American appeared tight allowing four earned runs on seven hits through four innings.

    Lopez attributed some of Guilmet’s performance to tightness in his bicep as well as the dreary conditions the right-hander faced in Georgia.

    With weather conditions more to his liking at home, Guilmet (0-1) will try to even his season record tonight in front of what Arizona hopes to be a large home crowd.

    “”I think getting the season underway is a big excitement,”” Guilmet said. “”We have a bunch of good guys and a great baseball team; I hope (the stadium) is packed. That would be pretty cool.””

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