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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Baseball avoids sweep at Cal

    If this weekend served as a preview to the Arizona baseball team’s rigorous remainder of its conference schedule, the future looks difficult yet doable.

    Arizona (31-15, 8-10 Pacific 10 Conference) lost two of three games to No. 16 California (29-15, 9-9) in Berkeley, Calif., over the weekend, furthermore continuing its trendy woes against the powerful Pac-10.

    Yet to win a conference road series this season, Arizona dropped the first two games, 11-5 and 6-5, respectively, which extended its conference-losing streak to four games.

    Yesterday’s much-needed 16-5 win, however, salvaged the Wildcats’ final conference road game of the season.

    Arizona exploded offensively with 18 hits, highlighted by second baseman Colt Sedbrook’s career-high five hit game – the first Wildcat to reach that benchmark this season.

    “”I wasn’t really thinking ‘I want to get a hit every single time,’ “” Sedbrook said. “”It was a very successful day and I’m very happy about that.””

    The Wildcats’ offense hit out of a recent slump that featured a combined eight runs in three games. UA head coach Andy Lopez held a 90-minute hitters’ meeting after the April 29 San Diego State game, which motivated Arizona to a 13-run performance the following afternoon.

    And with yesterday’s 16-run attack, Sedbrook’s prevalence in the middle of the lineup provided a balanced offensive attack throughout the entire batting order, as the team entered the weekend averaging 6.8 runs and 10.1 hits per game.

    Designated hitter Mike Weldon led the Wildcats with five RBI in just four plate appearances, hitting 2-for-3 with a double and walk.

    “”When you’re slumping and doing something like that, you don’t want to be passive,”” Sedbrook said. “”I was really concerned about just being really aggressive, being aggressive and smart with the pitches … that’s what I think we did as a team.””

    Arizona left-handed starter Eric Berger (5-3) continued his impressive pitching yesterday, picking up the win by allowing just one run on three hits over five innings. Berger struck out six in his third consecutive quality outing and he now holds an 2.87 ERA over the last 17 2/3 innings.

    Cal starter Alex Rollin (4-2) registered the loss with five runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings.

    “”(Avoiding the sweep) was a tremendous thing to do, just to get it done with,”” Sedbrook said. “”Just making sure we prepare to win right now, and try to carry the momentum into our non-conference schedule with Utah State, and carry that momentum there into Stanford and ASU.””

    The Golden Bears showed their power throughout the weekend as they hit four home runs Friday and six over the three-game series. Cal leads the Pac-10 in home runs this season after a David Cooper home run in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game boosted the team’s total to 64. But the most emphatic long ball of the series came via a seventh-inning Brett Jackson grand slam in the Golden Bears’ 11-5 victory Friday night in a rare instance of poor Arizona pitching.

    The usually consistent Wildcat pitching staff has only allowed 10 runs or greater four times this season. Entering the series, Arizona boasted a conference-leading 3.52 ERA, while Cal led the Pac-10 with 470 hits.

    UA ace Preston Guilmet (5-3) allowed an uncharacteristic seven runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings as the losing pitcher in Friday night’s contest.

    Unlike Guilmet’s outing, Saturday’s game brought a dramatic ending in favor of the Golden Bears, with the eventual game-winning eighth-inning home run by Cal’s Blake Smith which broke a 5-5 tie. The 6-5 loss gave Arizona its seventh one-run defeat in its last 15 losses.

    The Wildcats left 10 runners on base Saturday, and in their last six one-run losses, Arizona stranded 21 runners in scoring position.

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