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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball building on a national championship

Gordon+Bates+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ARiley+Moore%2C+No+6%2C+catches+during+a+UA+baseball+game+against+UC+Davis+on+March+6%2C+2012.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Riley Moore, No 6, catches during a UA baseball game against UC Davis on March 6, 2012.

The Arizona baseball team is back to practice after its championship season.

Arizona lost ace Kurt Heyer and shortstop Alex Mejia to the St. Louis Cardinals, third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean to the Cincinnati Reds, center fielder Joey Rickard to the Tampa Bay Rays and right fielder Robert Refsnyder to the New York Yankees in June’s MLB draft.

While that may make the roster seem depleted, the moves give new players a chance to shine.

“Movement is a part of baseball,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “In our case, it’s about professional movement and excelling in the game. I’m not sitting around and worrying about the people we lost. I’m excited to see which players will be the next to step up and fill those shoes. We have a lot of good competition.”

Outfielders Tyler Parmenter and Zach Gibons are fighting for the spots vacated by Refsnyder and Rickard, while Kevin Newman and Trent Gilbert battle for Mejia and Mejias-Brean’s starting spots.

The Wildcats expect to be supported by veteran pitchers like Konner Wade and James Farris, and look to add depth with younger talent like Riley Moore and Gilbert, who gained valuable experience during last season’s championship run.

Wade threw a complete game against South Carolina to open the College World Series championship series in Omaha, Neb. Moore caught 561 out of 586 innings last year and batted .301 with 40 runs scored and 38 RBIs. He was named a first team Freshman All-American by Baseball America.

Moore also contributed to the success of his team late last season. He hit .389 during the postseason and lifted that mark to .412 in the College World Series.

“I chose Arizona because of the good baseball program,” Moore said. “I came here to win a national championship, and we did that.”

Farris finished off South Carolina in the second game of the series to secure the national title. Before starting that game, Farris’ last appearance was against Louisville, where he pitched a complete game, giving up 12 hits and two earned runs while striking out seven. Farris battled against Gamecocks ace Michael Roth, edging him while holding South Carolina to just two hits over 7.2 innings.

Gilbert played second base for the Wildcats throughout the season, compiling a respectable .272 batting average while collecting 42 RBIs on 64 hits.

“I’ve been head coach for 36 years and I am a creature of habit,” Lopez said. “We of course make small adjustments, but for the most part, the foundation of our program is what it is. We shoot for intensity as well as efficiency.”

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