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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Baseball notes: Savior needed for UA bullpen

After sophomore reliever Bryce Bandilla blew Friday night’s game against Long Beach State University by allowing three runs on four hits in two innings, Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez put a sign outside of the clubhouse that reads “”closer wanted.””

The bullpen is young, but Lopez and his staff are searching for someone to step up and take the reigns as the closer.

“”We would like for (Bandilla) to be our closer but, you know, if he can’t handle that,”” said Lopez. “”He’ll get another shot or two, but we’re definitely in the market right now. If he wants it, he’ll take it. If not someone else will.””

The 6-foot-4 lefty labored through 34 pitches in two innings, and his inability to get ahead in the count hurt his chances of closing out the game.

“”Any season, there’s going to be ups and downs,”” said Bandilla, after blowing game one. “”Tonight was definitely a down.””

The other candidate out of the bullpen for the closer job is freshman Nick Cunningham, but he’s still only played five collegiate baseball games, a fact that showed as the right-hander committed two costly balks in the seventh inning of the Friday night 8-7 loss.

Freshman Tyler Hale has pitched well in two appearances — five innings, five hits, three walks, two runs and six strikeouts — but is his 5-foot-9, 155-pound stature suitable for a closers role?

Wildcats lack aggression

Lopez wants to see Arizona be the small ball type of team that thrives off of stolen bases, hit-and-runs and moving the runner over whenever possible, but the Wildcats were swinging for the fences against Long Beach State.

“”If we’re this young, I want us to be aggressive,”” Lopez said. “”I don’t want to sit back and think we’re going to play long ball, because that’s probably not going to be our style this year.””

Refsnyder all over the diamond

Before the season started, Lopez made it clear that there may be a different lineup on the field every game for the first month or so of the season, and freshman Robert Refsnyder has single-handedly proved that statement true.

In two games this weekend, Refsnyder played third base, first base and left field, and he is also capable at right field and second base. In five games at three different positions, the Laguna Hills, Calif., native has proved his versitility, and has yet to make an error.

His success has also translated to the plate. He went 4-for-8 with two RBIs and three runs scored this weekend. After five games, Refsnyder is ranked first on the team in on-base percentage (.542), second in batting average (.412) and fourth in hits.

Simon and Heyer humbled

Arizona pitchers Kyle Simon and Kurt Heyer were two of the few constants heading into last weekend’s series against Long Beach State. Their combined 14 innings, two runs and 20 strikeouts against Utah Valley University had cemented their positions as the team’s top two pitchers.

But the 19-year-old duo was hit hard against LBSU. In a combined 11 1/3 innings pitched, Simon and Heyer allowed eight runs on 17 hits and five walks.

Heyer surrendered zero walks and still gave his team a chance to win, as he left the game with a three-run lead, but the 11 hits he allowed were less than impressive.

Simon, on the other hand, struggled with control, walking five batters and throwing only 48 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

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