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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball hosts Golden Bears

The No. 22 Arizona baseball team is looking to snap its current three-game losing streak when it takes on the No. 13 California Golden Bears. The series, which opens tonight at Frank Sancet Stadium, is the final leg of Arizona’s nine-game homestand.

For a program that’s future looks bleak after being cut from school funding for next season, the Bears (19-7, 5-1 Pacific 10 Conference) have been proving that they deserve to stay, as they sit tied for first in the conference with ASU and UCLA.

For the Wildcats (20-10, 2-4 Pac-10), their adjustment into conference play hasn’t been quite as smooth.

“”We have the challenge of competing in the Pac-10, and we have the challenge of getting back on track for this weekend,”” said head coach Andy Lopez. “”(I told the team to) show me some discipline, do a good job in practice and let’s get after it tonight, tomorrow night, Saturday and Sunday, and we’ll see what happens.””

Scouting the Wildcats

Since the start of the season, the offensive prowess has been very evident for the Wildcats.

Two hitters, Joey Rickard and Cole Frenzel are both hitting over .400, and Rickard leads the team with 55 hits.

On top of that, all but two of the Arizona starters are hitting over .300.

The defense, save for a few late game error problems, has been very consistent as well, and Arizona closing pitcher Matt Chaffee thinks that it ranks up at the top.

“”I think we have one of the best defenses in the country,”” he said. “”We’ve got speed, we’ve got a great infield, and then we’ve got Jett (Bandy) behind the plate, he can thrown anybody out at second.””

The Achilles heel for the Wildcats all season has been the bullpen.

Aside from Chaffee’s stellar performances, a lot of the Arizona losses have fallen onto the shoulders of its pitching relief effort.

Breaking down the Bears

The California pitching staff is one of the most dominant in the Pac-10 and the nation.

With a 2.32 collective ERA that’s good enough for 10th in the country, the Wildcats will have to match the Bears pitch for pitch in order to come up successful during the weekend.

The Bears bats, however, aren’t as hot as the Wildcats’. Senior Austin Booker is leading the team with a .346 batting average, and although he doesn’t hit for power, he’s always a threat to find the gap and produce at the plate.

They said it

For Lopez, matching up against conference opponents is always one of the hardest parts of his job.

“”There really is no weak team, some might say Washington, but wait untill you play them,”” Lopez said. “”There’s no mystery (with us) right now. We’re just not playing good baseball. We’re not throwing strikes consistently out of the pen. We’re not playing catch consistently. We have some dropped balls, little things that we do that let runs in.””

But for Chaffee, he’s confident that the Wildcats will have what it takes down the stretch.

“”We’ll be fine,”” he said. “”We’ve got seven weeks (left), when it comes down to it, we’ll be good when it counts.””

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