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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Guilmet in need of support

    Arizona senior Preston Guilmet fires a pitch toward home plate during a 7-6 UA win against USC on April 2 at Sancet Stadium. Despite the baseball teams recent struggles, Guilmet has been performing at a high level.
    Arizona senior Preston Guilmet fires a pitch toward home plate during a 7-6 UA win against USC on April 2 at Sancet Stadium. Despite the baseball team’s recent struggles, Guilmet has been performing at a high level.

    We all remember those group projects in school when you work feverishly to make your part of the presentation “”A”” quality. But then when it comes time to present, you find you are the only one who is prepared – pretty much screwing over your chance at that top score.

    Welcome to the season for Arizona baseball pitcher Preston Guilmet. In the majority of his Friday night efforts, the Wildcats’ ace has thrown more than well enough to snag the win. But time and time again his performance goes to waste as poor defense, lack of offense, or blown saves have all hindered the senior’s try at collecting wins.

    Consider the game against Oregon State back on April 9, for example. Guilmet goes seven innings allowing just two earned runs – four overall due to errors – and leaves with a 5-4 lead in the eighth.

    But closer Jason Stoffel couldn’t hang on. The junior preseason All-American got ripped for four runs on five hits while also extending the inning with a throwing error of his own.

    The Wildcats went on to lose that contest 9-5.

    Guilmet was forced to watch another strong effort be impacted by errors in the following week’s series against Washington State. Guilmet went 7 1/3 innings while collecting eight strikeouts but watched Arizona fall by a single run. The 2007 All-American picked up his fourth loss of the year on the day.

    After that loss head coach Andy Lopez said he saw frustration from his right-hander for the first time.

    “”He’s done a good job of keeping his chin up,”” Lopez said of Guilmet. “”But the first time I saw anything was (against WSU) where he was like, ‘Give me a break.’ He’d never say it. I know he wouldn’t because he’s such a good guy. But he should be upset. He really should.””

    But despite all the things Guilmet probably should do regarding the situation, his strong character will not allow it. Instead he has continued to swallow his pride and take each loss solely as his own.

    His hard work in the wake of his misfortune proved effective as last week Guilmet took control of his Friday start against Stanford and held the Cardinal to just one run on five hits through seven innings earning himself his first win since March 13. The win also launched the Wildcats to their first conference series win of the year.

    Despite some of the issues he’s faced this season Guilmet still holds the second lowest ERA on the team – 3.63 – while also recording the most innings pitched with 62.

    He has the most strikeouts of any Arizona pitcher by far with 59 and surprisingly – or unfortunately – is tied for the most wins on the Wildcats’ staff with three.

    But for an arm that won 12 games just two seasons ago and is showing signs of potential similar success currently, his 3-4 record does not do justice.

    What needs to happen is for the rest of the Arizona team to pick up the workhorse mentality of their senior leader.

    In so many of his starts, a single misplayed ball or poor relief effort have doomed his record. With so many underclassmen – especially freshmen – on the staff and in the field, experience is a challenge the Wildcats have dealt with throughout the year. But when time is running out – like it currently is for Arizona – the difference can be made up for in work ethic – both on and off the field. This is something Guilmet knows plenty about.

    Unfortunately for the senior and the Wildcats as a whole, this message has not been received by many of the young players.

    “”It’s the Guilmet types that are really successful at the college level,”” Lopez said. “”They succeed because of who they are off the field. He’s made an attempt to help some young guys out and show them how to be successful, but the sad thing is I don’t think they’ve realized what they have in Guilmet.””

    The right-hander opted to forgo signing a professional contract after being selected in the 22nd round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Oakland

    Athletics to return for his senior season.

    Guilmet likely did not envision his senior season marred by the efforts of his teammates without a similar work ethic.

    But as is consistent with his character, the right-hander will surely continue to put in his share of the load before each Friday night performance.

    Hopefully at the end of the day the MLB scouts don’t grade like college professors.

    Bobby Stover is a materials science and engineering junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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