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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball puts finishing touches on preseason

Baseball puts finishing touches on preseason

With the start of the season on the horizon, the Arizona baseball team is eager to play against someone other than itself. After finishing last season ahead of where critics pegged them, the young squad is geared up to prove their maturity in what is going to be a very competitive season.

Play ball

The Wildcats commence this season on Friday, with a three-game series against the visiting North Dakota State Bisons.

Although the games are a mismatch on paper, Arizona sophomore pitcher Kurt Heyer, whose 3.26 ERA led the Wildcats last season, said that his team can’t take any opponents lightly.

“”We’ve been waiting for an enemy this whole time — it’s getting really exciting,”” he said. “”It doesn’t really matter who we are playing; it’s all about just playing the game. There’s not really anybody on our schedule that we can’t beat, but there’s also nobody on our schedule that we can’t lose to.””

North Dakota State head coach Tom Brown, who is also a UA alumnus, returns seven starters and seven regular pitchers from last year’s team. The Bisons finished in sixth place in the Summit League last season.

New bats bringing more adjustments

After the NCAA issued new bat regulations to cut down on power and prevent injury, a new problem has arisen.

For the incoming freshmen, the new bats have brought problems that weren’t an issue in high school when they were swinging a standard aluminum bat and could count on hitting home runs with ease.

“”You’d be surprised at how many guys show up here from very good high school programs throughout the country, and you talk about stealing a base, and reading pitchouts, and hitting and running, and they look at you like you’re speaking a different language,”” said head coach Andy Lopez.

Regardless of the new bats, the team has been preparing to play the standard Lopez-style of baseball — putting pressure on opponents by stealing bases and hitting and running early and often.

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