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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball rotation roulette

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Baseball vs Fullerton Sunday
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Baseball vs Fullerton Sunday

While Arizona baseball pitchers Vincent Littleman and Kyle Simon will take the mound against Saint Joseph’s for a two-game series, each pitcher’s start holds a different meaning.

When Littleman, a 5-foot-10 freshman left-hander, steps on the bump for Arizona (6-4) Tuesday against the Hawks, he will be starting his first collegiate game in hopes of pitching his way into a rotation that is not set in stone.

But for Simon, the Wednesday afternoon start signifies an uphill climb back into the rotation after being dethroned as the team’s No. 2-starter. Simon was summoned to long relief after allowing five runs on seven hits in only 3 1/3 innings in a 6-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton last Saturday.

“”We want to get Kyle back on track, so we’ll give him a shot,”” said head coach Andy Lopez. “”One of my assistant coaches, Shaun Cole, saw something in the video (Saturday) night with his delivery so we’re going to tinker with him just a little bit, and hopefully that will help him out.””

Simon has yielded 10 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits and six walks during his last two outings and needs a bounce-back performance against the 1-6 Hawks of Saint Joseph’s.

“”The start against Long Beach, he was a little all over the place, but this last one he didn’t really get hit hard. It was just ground ball through the hole, ground ball through the hole,”” said junior starter Daniel Workman, who is 1-0 with a 5.25 ERA through three starts.

“”It’s really frustrating as a pitcher because, a foot the other way — great play and everybody’s high-fiving.””

But as he is clearly one of the most talented and experienced pitchers on the young Arizona staff. His fellow hurlers expect him to rebound on the mound. 

“”Right now Simon’s really got to get back on his plan where he says ‘this sequence works for me,'”” Workman said. “”He’ll get there. He’s a super competitive guy.””

While Simon is pitching to prove he still has it, Littleman is out there to make an impression and prove his worth to the club.

The Page, Ariz., native has been almost flawless in two appearances this season. In 5 1/3 innings, Littleman has allowed only one unearned run on four hits and two walks, while striking out five.

“”Great stuff to him. Smooth, easy left-hander,”” Workman said of Littleman. “”The ball just kind of jumps out of his hand because he’s so smooth. He’s going to go out there and compete for us.””

The Wildcats are coming off of a big series-victory against No. 18 Cal State Fullerton, and should make easy work of a lesser Saint Joseph’s team. But the main focus for the Wildcats lies on the pitching mound, as one rotation spot remains unclaimed.

The bullpen is still far from solidified.

“”Right now we’re just really trying to find those mid-week things,”” Workman said. “”Guys that are going to fill those roles of long relief and solidify our rotation before we hit Pac-10.””

A third starter and a closer are atop the Wildcats’ laundry list of things to do, but 10 games through the season, Lopez is pleased with his team’s progression.

“”We’ve lost a couple that we probably could have got in the right-hand column, but for the most part I’ve been pretty happy with them,”” he said. “”All in all, it’s been a good start for the first 10 games.””

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