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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    An upward slide for UA

    Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Wildcats top the Cal Golden Bears 14-3 Friday night at Sancet Stadium.
    Mike Christy
    Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Wildcats top the Cal Golden Bears 14-3 Friday night at Sancet Stadium.

    Maybe, just maybe, the season isn’t over yet for the Arizona baseball team.

    Two weeks ago the UA program was at one of its lowest points in years. Five straight Pacific 10 Conference series losses and a sweep at the hands of Washington State left the team’s morale as low as it could get, and any postseason chances appeared grim.

    But then the Wildcats took two out of three against Stanford last weekend and sealed a sweep of California with a 12-8 victory on Sunday. Suddenly, there is hope in Tucson.

    “”Big-time weekend for us,”” said UA catcher Dwight Childs. “”Sweeps are always good, especially in the Pac-10.””

    Arizona (22-21, 8-13 Pac-10) exploded for five runs in the first inning of Friday’s game and never looked back as it scored a total of 33 runs over the weekend.

    “”We as a team really like the lineup that (the coaches) have put there right now,”” Childs said. “”Guys are getting on base and guys are hitting them in. The middle of the order and the bottom of the order are doing a lot of work.””

    The lineup change looked a little peculiar at first. Freshman Jett Bandy has fully taken over at third base and is hitting third in the lineup, forcing struggling Brad Glenn to move to right field. Freshman Steve Selsky is now an everyday left fielder and hitting fifth, while first baseman Dillon Baird – the team’s best hitter – is now hitting second.

    Regardless of how strange the changes looked at first, credit Arizona head coach Andy Lopez for striking gold with his out-of-the-box moves.

    “”We’re in a position right now where we have to win,”” Lopez said. “”So I’m putting them in a position where they can get the most at-bats.””

    Baird, Bandy and Selsky did not disappoint, combining for seven hits on Sunday, including two home runs from Selsky.

    The runs were more than enough for sophomore Daniel Workman (2-1), who has solidified himself as the team’s No. 3 starter.

    “”It felt great,”” Workman said of his six innings of work during Sunday’s win. “”I just came out trying to throw strikes and give our team a chance here. We need to keep rolling and we need to be hot from here on out, so it was big to win three games this weekend.””

    Workman displayed complete control of his fastball, consistently throwing it for strikes and allowing himself some room to work with his changeup and curveball.

    “”I’m real proud of Workman,”” Lopez said. “”He did a great job and we needed it. This is a big win for us, we’re trying like crazy to … get back into this.””

    The desperation to win has turned into more of a real possibility to win. With six conference games left against the two last-place teams in the Pac-10, Arizona is suddenly very much in postseason contention.

    “”Hopefully we start rolling,”” Childs said. “”We’re definitely going to make a run at this thing. We’re not giving up, we never have. We stubbed our toe earlier in the season, but now we’re starting to pick it up.””

    Guilmet moves to second in UA history in strikeouts

    Senior ace Preston Guilmet continues to add to his Wildcat legacy. The reigning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week struck out 10 batters in eight innings to earn his fourth victory of the season on Friday. His 10th strikeout on the night was the 395th of his career, moving him to second all-time in UA history.

    “”I’ll care when I leave (school), but right now I’m just trying to get out there every Friday night, give a good performance, get it to the bullpen and give these guys a chance to win,”” Guilmet said.

    You don’t have to look any further than his coach to see how meaningful the achievement is for Guilmet and the program.

    “”Wow, he deserves it,”” Lopez gushed. “”There’s that thing they call the ‘will to win’ and everybody says they have it, but you find out who has the will to win by who has the will to work.

    “”Some guys just don’t have the will to work, but you will never say that about Preston Guilmet,”” Lopez added. “”He’s been an unbelievable joy (to coach). He’s a special young man and a great, great human being.””

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