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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball looks to revert to winning ways at Washington

Amy Webb
Amy Webb / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Baseball vs. NDSU in the opening weekend of the season and on Hi-Corbet Field.

With the tumultuous season that the No. 13 Arizona baseball team’s bullpen has had, head coach Andy Lopez has been able to count on Wildcat relievers Mathew Troupe and Stephen Manthei to anchor the end of the game.

At least until Tuesday, against ASU.

Manthei only lasted one and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs. Troupe came on to relieve and things got even more disastrous, as he gave up four runs without recording an out.

That gave way to the Wildcats blowing an 8-5 lead in a game they ended up losing 12-8.

“They had a rough night, they’ll be fine, they’re young guys,” Lopez said, “They’ll bounce back.”

The entire team expects Manthei and Troupe to be back and ready to go this weekend. After all, it is just a game.

“There’s cancer, there’s people foreclosing on their homes,” Lopez said. “There are a lot of things going on in this world. Come on, let’s just go play baseball.”

Lopez hopes that they’ll be back to their former selves this weekend as the Wildcats (24-10, 10-5 Pac-12) head to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies.

“We’ll make sure they don’t feel sorry for themselves,” Lopez said. “Get after them a little bit, they’ll have another shot this weekend.”

After three straight losses, the Wildcats are looking to grab a victory, especially after the rough rivalry outcome on Tuesday. Lopez said he was confident about his plan before the game “I woke up on Tuesday and said, ‘OK, If I can get to the sixth or the seventh with the lead, I’ll go with those guys and we come home,’” Lopez said.

Lopez referenced Scottish poet Robert Burns to sum up his decision: “The best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go astray,” Lopez said.

The mid-week games have been a struggle for the Wildcats this season, but they aren’t as vital to the big picture. Still, Lopez said he always wants his guys to succeed.

“Mid-weeks are always a challenge because you’re trying to figure out who to throw,” Lopez said.

“But if you would have told me that we were going to be up 7-2 in the fifth, even 8-5 in the seventh, I would have said, ‘Manthei and Troupe are available? Yeah OK, I like my chances on that one, I’ll bet you a lunch on that one,’” he continued. “Well, I would be taking you across the street to Claim Jumper today.”

For success against Washington this weekend, Lopez and the team know it’s simple. They just have to pitch well and back that up with good defense.

Arizona has committed 60 errors on the season, second worst in the Pac-12. The Wildcats’ .958 fielding percentage is also second worst in the conference.

“That’s just the momentum and kind of the rhythm of the game,” Arizona right fielder Robert Refsnyder said. “Sometimes when the pitching’s off, we just get into a little bit of a lull. We’re kind of flat footed, but we certainly can’t blame the pitchers.”

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