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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Arizona baseball: Freshman bats to face reigning Pac-10 champs, tough rotation”

    There is no rest for the weary.

    The Arizona baseball team knows this all too well, as the Wildcats (13-14, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference) take on 2005 Pac-10 champion Oregon State (19-8, 1-2) today in Corvallis, Ore., at 5 p.m. for Arizona’s sixth game in the last nine days.

    Junior right-hander Dallas Buck (6-0, 3.38 ERA), the ace for the No. 11 Beavers, will get the nod tonight when freshman righty Preston Guilmet (2-4, 2.41) toes the rubber for Arizona.

    “”They’ve got their pitching back,”” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “”That’s the key. It will be a good challenge for us.””

    Oregon State returns 19 lettermen, including junior starting pitchers Jonah Nickerson (4-3, 2.26), a righty, and left-hander Anton Maxwell (3-2, 4.76), who are slated to throw Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m., respectively, against junior left-hander Brad Mills (3-1, 2.93) and sophomore lefty David Coulon (0-2, 7.00).

    In addition to winning the Pac-10 title last year, the Beavers compiled a 46-12 overall record and advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

    “”They have a lot of returners back from the team that went to Omaha (last year),”” junior shortstop Jason Donald said. “”We’re just going to have to match the intensity and play the game well.””

    Over the last nine days, Arizona went 2-2 and also lost an exhibition game to the Tucson Sidewinders Tuesday night.

    If the freshmen are any indication, the Wildcat offense is finally starting to come around.

    In a nonconference game Sunday at Chase Field against in-state foe ASU, freshmen right fielder Jon Gaston, designated hitter David Plante, first baseman Brad Glenn and center fielder T.J. Steele combined for six hits and four runs scored. Plante alone went 3-for-5 with 7 RBIs thanks to a game-winning grand slam.

    “”The transition (from last year’s team) that we expected is pretty much as is, with the exception of maybe some older guys not having the type of offensive years that we thought they would have,”” Lopez said.

    “”I think as hitters, we’re starting to become more comfortable at the plate,”” Glenn said. “”I think we’re starting to swing at the pitches we should be and laying off the pitches that we shouldn’t be. I think we’re starting to hit the ball a little bit better.””

    Although California took two out of three from the Wildcats to open Pac-10 play last weekend, Arizona could have just as easily swept the Golden Bears. The Wildcats lost by one run to open the series and then again lost by a single run on a walk-off homer Sunday morning to conclude the set.

    “”We are running out of time to wait to start hitting,”” Lopez said.

    Injury update

    Sophomore southpaw Eric Berger continues to be sidelined with an injury to his throwing elbow.

    “”They do not think it’s Tommy John,”” Lopez said. “”There’s definitely something there. It’s an old injury. (His availability is) probably going to be weekend to weekend.””

    Also, junior outfielder Jason Sadoian (torn labrum) and freshman infielder Travis Peep (wrist) have both elected to use a medical redshirt this season.

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