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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Baseball to bid for regional

    Look no further than Andy Lopez’s 2005 Arizona baseball team as evidence that not hosting a regional can sink any ship in the postseason.

    Whether it’s using that rationale or not, the UA athletic department is expected to put in a bid Thursday to become one of 16 regional hosts June 1-4 for the 64-team postseason tournament that concludes with the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

    “”Would I like to be home?”” said Lopez, letting out a laugh. “”Let me put it this way, I’ve never been home (during regionals) and not ended up in Omaha.

    “”I do know the advantage, and it’s a tremendous advantage.””

    Lopez, who came to Arizona in 2002, has coached three teams that have hosted regional play at Pepperdine and Florida. Arizona hasn’t done so since 1992.

    “”There’s a lot of us that haven’t even tasted a postseason game before,”” said UA second baseman Colt Sedbrook, “”and just to play at home, that would be a thing that you look at and you get butterflies about and just say ‘I want to do that.'””

    The minimum bid to host a regional is $50,000, though many winning bids are often much higher. The deadline for all bids is Friday at 2 p.m. Tucson time.

    The regional field – and host sites – will be announced May 28.

    Suzy Mason, UA associate athletic director of events management, didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.

    Regionals are played in a double-elimination format, meaning one team per four-team regional advances to one of eight super regionals that take place the next weekend.

    Eight of the 16 hosts are given national seeds, and those national seeds that win their regional are guaranteed to host a super regional – that is, if they submitted a bid to host a super regional. (Teams that wish to host a super regional must bid a minimum of $35,000.)

    A year after taking Arizona to its first trip to the College World Series since 1986, Lopez’s 2005 team went 39-21 with a 17-7 record in the Pacific 10 Conference.

    But because Arizona didn’t put in a bid to host a regional that year – it’s widely considered that it would have been awarded one – the Wildcats were sent to Fullerton, Calif., where they lost to defending national champion Cal State Fullerton.

    Lopez called that year a “”unique”” situation because the athletic department had recently cut nearly 20 jobs.

    “”I mean 19 people had to move on a find other jobs, and I’m trying to host a baseball regional?”” Lopez said. “”I understood where we were at, and as I told (UA athletic director) Jim Livengood and the administration, I said, ‘Hey Jim, I hope that I’m here long enough that we’ll have other opportunities to host down the road.'””

    And even though Arizona’s now bidding to give Lopez that chance, the 25th-year head coach wants to make sure his team takes care of business in the last two weeks of the regular season before looking ahead.

    “”My pride says whether we put in the greatest bid in the country or not, we need to do what we need to do on the field, and then you’re deserving of it,”” Lopez said.

    “”If the university found some donor that said, ‘We’re going to bid $5 million,’ and we don’t play well at the end (of the season) … I would say, ‘I don’t think we’re deserving of that, I think we need to go on the road. We haven’t played well enough to be at home.'””

    Mills’ Saturday start in question
    UA lefty Brad Mills said Wednesday that he’s still not sure if his strained back will allow him to make his scheduled start Saturday against Washington.

    “”We’re going to see how I feel (Thursday) and go from there,”” Mills said.

    The senior, who is 9-4 on the year with a 3.70 ERA, missed his start last weekend against USC.

    Mills saw a doctor on Monday who told him the problem might be a muscle between ribs on his right side.

    “”He said no matter if it’s that – he said there’s a chance it could be soft tissue or something – there’s not much they could do other than rest,”” Mills said.

    Mills missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and is also expected to take Thursday off.

    “”I’m frustrated,”” Mills said. “”Obviously, the whole reason I came back (for his senior season) was to pitch in the playoffs, and that’s why I decided to take last week and maybe this week off. But the closer it gets to playoffs, the more concerned I get.””

    Lopez said should Mills not be able to go, lefty David Coulon (3-3) would start in his place.

    Steele, Glenn good to go
    Lopez said before Wednesday’s practice that center fielder T.J. Steele and third baseman Brad Glenn should be fully recovered from their injuries.

    Steele missed Monday’s series finale with USC with an ankle injury he suffered while running the bases earlier in the series. Glenn, who hurt his shoulder while making a throw against the Trojans, was restricted to designated hitter duty Monday.

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