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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pitching notes

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Baseball VS Fullerton Friday
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Baseball VS Fullerton Friday

Simon headed to the pen

Heading into the 2010 season, sophomore right-handed pitcher Kyle Simon was expected to be the ace of the staff. But in his last two starts, Simon has scuffled, to the tune of 10 runs (eight earned) off of 13 hits and six walks.

Because of that inconsistency, head coach Andy Lopez and his staff have opted to send Simon to the bullpen.

“”Simon will go to the bullpen to work out of long relief,”” Lopez said. “”Kyle will help us out of the pen, but right now we need something more secure.””

Simon will be starting Wednesday’s game against Saint Josephs, but will undoubtedly have to pitch his way back into the weekend rotation.

Sophomore left-hander Bryce Bandilla is expected to take over Simon’s spot in the rotation for the time being. Bandilla relieved Simon on Saturday against Califorina State University, Fullerton, yielding only one run off of six hits in five innings of work.

“”I don’t know that he’s better suited (as a starter), I just don’t really have another option,”” Lopez said of starting Bandilla. “”I don’t want to expose too many young guys. We’ve already kind of done that with Kurt Heyer.””

Heyer continues to make hitters swing the bat

Simply put, freshman starting pitcher Kurt Heyer does not give away bases. Through 17 innings, three starts, Heyer has only walked one batter. He currently boasts a remarkable 26:1, strikeout-to-walk ratio.

“”I feel like if I walk a guy, than there’s a real good chance that guy is going to score,”” Heyer said. “”I try to stay ahead of hitters and not fall behind. It ruins the tempo of the game.””

In only three collegiate starts, Heyer has emerged as the unquestioned ace of the staff, and his absurdly low walk rate is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons why.

Hale closer to closing?

It’s ten games into the season and the Wildcats have been searching for that guy to nail down saves in the ninth inning.

“”We’re having a hard time protecting leads in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings,”” Lopez said. “”We just don’t have a seasoned closer just yet.””

But if there is a leading candidate, it is 5-foot-9, 155-pound freshman reliever Tyler Hale.

“”We’ll find (a closer),”” said Lopez. “”I really think Tyler Hale is going to be the guy. He just needs to locate his fastball.””

Hale has pitched some big innings for Arizona already, and he’s been one of the most productive relievers for the Wildcats. In five appearances, he pitched 11 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits.

But a lot of those runs came from the two homeruns that he’s yielded, and the fact that he’s held opponents to a .214 average against him says a lot about his effectiveness.

— Mike Schmitz

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