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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Avoiding complacency

    Freshman reliever Jason Stoffel walks off the field after striking out three batters in a row with the bases loaded against then-No. 16 ASU March 28 at Chase Field in Phoenix. Coming off a sweep of then-No. 4 Oregon State, Stoffel and the Wildcats will try to avoid getting complacent against California this weekend.
    Freshman reliever Jason Stoffel walks off the field after striking out three batters in a row with the bases loaded against then-No. 16 ASU March 28 at Chase Field in Phoenix. Coming off a sweep of then-No. 4 Oregon State, Stoffel and the Wildcats will try to avoid getting complacent against California this weekend.

    It was a springboard onto the national scene, but the Arizona baseball team doesn’t want to dwell on last weekend.

    “”It’s almost like a big loss,”” third baseman Brad Glenn said of the Wildcats’ sweep of then-No. 4 Oregon State, the defending national champions. “”It’s three big wins, you’ve just got to put them behind you and just move forward from here, because there’s nowhere else to go but forward.””

    As No. 17 Arizona (25-6, 3-0 Pacific 10 Conference) turned its attention earlier this week to California (17-14, 2-1) for a three-game set that starts tonight at 7, UA head coach Andy Lopez had one message for his team: Don’t get complacent.

    The sentiment’s trickled down.

    “”You’ve got to put yourself in a situation, where, yeah, it’s a confidence-builder, and yeah, they were the defending national champs,”” said second baseman Colt Sedbrook. “”But you’re not going to get an automatic ticket to Omaha (the site of the College World Series).

    “”This doesn’t make our season,”” he added. “”If our goal was to come to the University of Arizona to beat Oregon State three times, then I think that’s a little far-fetched. I think we came to the University of Arizona to win a Pac-10 title and go to Omaha.””

    Complacency struck the Wildcats in a 7-5 loss March 4 to Eastern Michigan, a game that saw Arizona fly out 17 times. It’s a game that became somewhat of a turning point in the young season.

    Since that series, attendance in optional early batting practice each day has increased three-fold among players, and the Wildcats have won 12 of 13 games – including their current 11-game winning streak.

    “”The credit for their stretch right now is theirs,”” Lopez said.

    “”Players have to make plays, players have to win games, and players do it in the course of a game,”” he added. “”You get to a game and in some ways – I don’t know how other coaches feel, but sometimes I feel helpless during the course of a game. I can’t swing the bat for them, and I can’t make the pitch for them. We can try to have them do a certain thing, like hit-and-run or pitchout and things like that, but ultimately, they have to do that.””

    Preston Guilmet (6-0) will bring his 1.89 ERA – tops among Pac-10 starters – into tonight’s start, and lefty Brad Mills (6-2) will throw tomorrow night at 6, but Arizona will likely be without closer Daniel Schlereth for the second straight weekend.

    Schlereth tweaked a rib and oblique muscle as he hurried to warm up in the bullpen before entering, and saving, Arizona’s 6-5 win over then-No. 16 ASU last week.

    “”It felt like my rib and my hip kind of touched each other, which is kind of crazy, but I have a lot of torque in my front side,”” Schlereth said yesterday. “”The day after was probably the worst. When I woke up, I couldn’t move or breathe very well.””

    Warming up yesterday before practice, the lefty very gingerly played catch at what he called “”50 percent.””

    If Schlereth’s not on the roster tomorrow, he won’t throw all weekend because the Pac-10 requires coaches to submit 25-man rosters that can’t be changed before the start of each series.

    Lopez listed his closer’s availability as questionable to doubtful.

    “”If he’s healthy, we want him suited up, but if he’s not, then we need to get an arm that can be of use,”” he said.

    There was other news out of the bullpen earlier this week, with righty Ryan Perry (0-0) shifting into the third-day starting role, pitching Saturday this week because of the Easter holiday Sunday.

    Perry’s addition to the rotation means the subtraction of lefty David Coulon (2-1), who has a 5.24 ERA this season in eight appearances, six of them starts.

    “”It’s been a little bit of a struggle. If you look at the numbers, David’s had a rough go of the last couple of outings,”” Lopez said. “”I think we just need to make a change there. It may not be a permanent change, but right now, we need to put a different look there.””

    Perry, who missed the first five weeks of the season with a broken left elbow, has been trying to build up his arm strength ever since.

    The sophomore has started three pitch-count-limited games this season, also appearing twice in relief, and has a team-high 6.55 ERA. But that number drops to 4.50 in his starts, including a 3 1/3-inning performance against ASU on March 28 when he gave up just one run and struck out five.

    “”Starting, it’s your game from the start,”” Perry said. “”You don’t got to worry about … coming in with runners on, the pressure of just trying to get out without letting any of them score.

    “”That’s a big part, knowing it’s basically your game from the start.””

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