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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “‘Cats blow lead, lose to OSU”

    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Oklahoma State Cowboys baseball team plays the University of Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, AZ.
    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The Oklahoma State Cowboys baseball team plays the University of Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, AZ.

    Inconsistency has been the name of the game for the Arizona baseball team this year. The Wildcats can win one game 9-0 and then come out the next night and lose 10-4. The team has been a regular case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but nothing thus far compared to Wednesday’s 8-5 loss to No. 12 Oklahoma State.

    For the first four innings the Wildcats (8-7) played some of their most complete baseball all season. Freshman left-hander Bryce Bandilla was sharp on the mound, allowing just three hits and no runs through the first four frames.

    “”It was a good performance for Bandilla,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”He’s looked good so far and he’s going to see a lot of innings from now on.””

    To give Bandilla a helping hand, the offense was excelling in the art of small ball.

    After senior Brad Glenn hit his third homerun of the year in the first inning – a solo shot – the Wildcats added two more in the second. Freshman Steve Selsky led off the inning by striking out, but he reached first base on a dropped third-strike.

    Selsky then stole second and was driven in on freshman Jett Bandy’s double. Bandy, who leads Arizona with 15 RBIs this season, then came around to score on junior Daniel Butler’s groundball to the right side.

    The second inning was a textbook case of a team doing the little things necessary to win. Unfortunately, the fifth and sixth innings were textbook cases of a team doing what it takes to lose.

    Oklahoma State (11-2) loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth, forcing Lopez to pull Bandilla in favor of sophomore Daniel Workman. Workman quickly struck out the first batter he faced, but then surrendered a bases-clearing double to OSU shortstop Tom Belza.

    That opened the floodgates for the Cowboys as they scored eight runs during the course of the fifth and sixth innings to take a commanding 8-3 lead.

    “”We gave up some hits in the fifth and sixth innings that hurt us,”” Lopez said. “”(Bad innings) have really been a bugaboo for us, but we’ll get it worked out.””

    Arizona used six pitchers in the game but only Bandilla and senior Cory Burns logged a complete inning.

    Breaking down Bandilla’s performance

    Lopez has spent the first few weeks of the season feeling out his pitching staff and searching for arms to compliment his established hurlers, such as Preston Guilmet and Jason Stoffel. And after Wednesday night’s game he must have some newfound confidence in Bandilla.

    Yes, he took the loss and yes, he gave up four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, but his final line is not at all indicative of how he pitched.

    For four innings the lefty kept Cowboy hitters – the same bats that erupted for 10 runs on Tuesday – contained, a task that few pitchers have been able to do so far this season.

    His fastball was working well, painting the corners with ease and consistently clocking in at 88-90 mph. He complimented his four-seamer with a sweeping 74-76 mph curveball that he probably could have used more often.

    He can succeed as a reliever with those two pitches alone, but if he wants to follow through as a starter – which is what Lopez thinks he’s capable of – he’ll need to develop his changeup. Bandilla threw his slow-ball rather often, but for mixed results. At times it was sharp, but too often it fluctuated between 77-83 mph and missed its spot.

    His potential has been realized by Lopez, who named Bandilla the team’s equivalent to a No. 3 starter after the game. The move was humbling to the freshman, but he knows that he still needs to pitch well to keep that spot.

    “”I pitched pretty well (Wednesday night),”” Bandilla said. “”But I could’ve thrown more strikes. I just need to keep pitching well and throwing strikes, because either you pitch well and get your chances or you don’t pitch well and you don’t get your chances.””

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