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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bullpen spoils Guilmet’s gem

    For the first time in a while, Sancet Stadium’s scoreboard didn’t have a football score on it.

    Last night, the Arizona baseball team played a close, competitive game with a ranked opponent – a rarity thus far this season.

    But, that only lasted seven innings.

    After UA starter Preston Guilmet turned in one of the grittiest performances of the season, Arizona’s bullpen imploded when it mattered most, handing the Wildcats (13-15, 2-8 Pacific 10 Conference) a 9-4 loss.

    Guilmet grinded through seven innings to give the Wildcats a 5-4 lead.

    Despite retiring Oregon State (29-6, 6-1 Pac 10) batters in order in both the sixth and seventh innings, UA head coach Andy Lopez decided to pull Guilmet in favor of the All American closer Jason Stoffel.

    Rather than record the two-inning save like the 767 people in attendance thought he would, Stoffel imploded, giving up four runs on five hits in the eighth.

    “”Definitely,”” Stoffel responded when asked if he was frustrated with his performance. “”This is obviously not something (you ever want) to do.””

    After seeing their normally dependable closer turn a one run lead into an 9-5 deficit, the Wildcat offense looked shell-shocked and failed to mount any sort of a rally, leaving the final score 9-5.

    A blown save is devastating regardless of circumstance, but spoiling Guilmet’s gem particularly stung.

    After Lopez’s pregame sentiments about how critical each remaining game is, Guilmet went seven innings, striking out four and allowing two earned runs.

    “”(Guilmet) pitched well enough to win tonight, so that’s a shame,”” Lopez said. “”This was was a tough one.””

    Guilmet’s attitude on the mound carried over to the batters box, as the Arizona offense scratched and clawed their way to five runs in the first six innings.

    With just two extra base hits all game, the Wildcats utilized textbook small ball, highlighted by a sixth inning that plated two runners without ever hitting the ball out of the infield.

    Junior Dillon Baird continued his hot streak, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and sophomore Bryce Ortega set the pace from the start, recording three hits from the leadoff spot.

    “”This was a close one down to the wire. I thought we could pull it out,”” Ortega said.

    If one positive can be taken out of Arizona’s recent 2-8 slide, it’s that the offense is in a groove.

    “”We’re hitting the ball well, but they played us well tonight,”” said catcher Dwight Childs.

    Until the pitching and defense can come around, though, Childs insists that the solution is simple.

    “”We need to play better baseball.””

    There’s always the next day

    The beauty of baseball is that if you suffer a heartbreaker like the Wildcats did on Thursday night, you can always come back the next day and make up for it.

    Arizona will have even less time to dwell on the loss than expected, as the starting time for Friday’s contest has been moved up to 2 p.m. to accommodate for the evening rain expected in Tucson.

    Freshman Kyle Simon (2-3, 6.68 ERA) will get the start for Arizona.

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