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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cats pick right field by committee

    Freshman outfielder Jon Gaston prepares to throw Sunday against Loyola Marymount in a 12-5 loss.
    Freshman outfielder Jon Gaston prepares to throw Sunday against Loyola Marymount in a 12-5 loss.

    Freshman outfielder Jon Gaston made a pretty convincing case to become the starting right fielder when he hit a pinch-hit home run in his first collegiate at-bat in Friday’s 10-5 victory over Loyola Marymount. The ball sailed over the right field sign displaying Arizona’s College World Series appearances.

    After pinch-hitting again in Saturday’s 5-3 win, he started in Sunday’s 12-5 loss to the Lions, going 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

    “”He’s really a tremendous athlete,”” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “”And we like that because that means that there’s a lot of things that you can do athletically with, you can steal bases with him and things like that.

    “”The thing that we’re looking for more than anything is consistency.””

    Lopez said the starting right field spot is still up in the air, as he used three different right fielders in as many games. Junior outfielder Bill Rhinehart got the nod on Friday and freshman outfielder Brad Glenn started on Saturday.

    “”It will take us the month of February easily to figure that out,”” Lopez said. “”We’re going to give everybody a chance out there, and they all deserve it.””

    Defense struggles, commits 11 errors

    The Wildcats struggled in the field this weekend, committing 11 errors over three games.

    Senior third baseman Brad Boyer, junior shortstop Jason Donald and sophomore second baseman Colt Sedbrook each collected three errors and junior first baseman Stephen Pearson and freshman pitcher Preston Guilmet both had one over the weekend.

    “”I won’t use the playing surface as an excuse although (the third base) umpire mentioned that to me after the game,”” Lopez said. “”The third base umpire said, ‘Coach, this infield is really bad.’ He said, ‘Man, I feel bad for you because nothing’s a true hop.’

    “”But like I told the guys (on Sunday), this is our home field, slow the game down and start playing catch,”” he added. “”They need to do a better job on that, obviously.””

    Offense potent in wins

    Mixed in the shuffle of Arizona’s defensive problems this weekend – fielding errors and poor starting pitching – the Wildcats still provided power at the plate as they scored 20 runs in the series, including home runs by Donald and Gaston.

    However, Arizona pitchers also gave up 20 runs to the Lions, only 14 of which were earned.

    “”When there’s errors, I need to work through and get out of jams better,”” said sophomore starting pitcher Eric Berger, who won on Friday while giving up five runs, only one earned, in addition to three strikeouts and a walk. “”I could have done a better job of keeping more runs off the board.””

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