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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Bandilla back in business

Koby Gray Upchurch
Koby Gray Upchurch/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Take Back The Night

It’s no secret that Arizona reliever Bryce Bandilla has faced his share of demons on the mound in 2011.

The junior has thrown a team-high 31 innings in relief but has struggled with command, allowing 21 walks — also a team high.

Bandilla’s struggles aren’t due to a lack of effort — the 6-foot-4 lefty has gone through a number of tweaks this season, ranging from changes in his timing to taking a few mph off of his fastball. But after more than two months, Bandilla finally found an adjustment that he thinks has remedied his struggles — completely revamping his primary pitch.

“”I changed my grip to a four-seam fastball now,”” Bandilla said. “”I feel like I have a lot more control. I just need to go out with confidence. If I did it one time, why can’t I do it a second time?””

Two-seam fastballs are generally 3 to 4 mph slower than four-seamers, and usually have more sink and, for a left-hander, more movement toward the left-handed batter’s box.

That’s not the case with Bandilla. His four-seam fastball actually acts like a normal two-seamer would be expected to, something that surprised Bandilla after never throwing the pitch in his career until a few days ago.

“”Even though I just started with it a week, a week and a half ago, I’m a lot more comfortable with it,”” Bandilla said. “”I just need to keep finding the release point. It’s a big change, I’ve just got to locate better with it now.””

Bandilla threw three perfect innings in Tuesday’s loss, racking up three strikeouts and using the diving action on his fastball to pick up four more outs on the ground.

Something new

After going with a weekend rotation of Kurt Heyer on Friday nights, Kyle Simon on Saturdays and Tyler Hale on Sundays for all of 2011, head coach Andy Lopez is making a major overhaul to the rotation this weekend against Southern California.

Hale has been removed from the rotation, and Heyer will be pushed back to Sunday after throwing more than 100 pitches in Tuesday’s loss. Freshman Konner Wade is the most likely candidate to replace Hale, who lasted only 1.2 innings in his start Saturday at Oregon.

“”We’ve had a propensity to play pretty well on Friday and then disappear on Saturday and Sunday in Pac-10 play,”” Lopez said. “”I’m not sure that Friday really matters anymore. It does, but I might be able to throw on Friday and win. To win on Friday and not come out with a series win, that’s inexcusable.””

Arizona has won four of five series openers in Pacific 10 Conference play but has only been able to come out with one series win.

Wade has started two games this season, getting two no-decisions with an ERA of 0.87.

Selsky getting closer

Arizona right fielder Steve Selsky has had an injury-riddled 2011. He missed the first month of the season after breaking a bone in his right hand during a preseason intersquad scrimmage and has had only one at-bat since pulling a hamstring in a scrimmage in the week before Arizona traveled UCLA.

Selsky is moving better every day and will be available to pinch-hit this weekend but is still about a week away from returning to full action, according to Lopez.

“”We had him ready to pinch-hit (against ASU), but he didn’t get that opportunity,”” Lopez said. “”Hopefully he’ll be back in a week or so.””

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