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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Baseball needs offensive boost

    Following a 16-game winning streak and an offensive slump over the next seven games, a visit from Liberty was just what the doctor ordered, waking the Arizona baseball team’s slumbering bats.

    If the No. 14 Wildcats (35-11, 10-5 Pacific 10 Conference) want to go deep into the postseason, they’ll need those bats to remain wide awake over the final three weeks of the conference season.

    “”It’s a give and take,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”There’s going to be some days where the offense has to (pick up the pitching), and there’s going to be days where the pitching has to be real special.””

    This season, the pitching staff – led by three-time National Pitcher of the Week Preston Guilmet (9-1) and his Pac-10-best 1.68 ERA and 110 strikeouts – has held up its end of the bargain. After a weekend against Liberty that saw Arizona explode for 39 runs on 52 hits, the bats have started to, as well.

    “”We’re playing as a team again,”” said center fielder T.J. Steele, a major reason for that offensive outburst with an 11-for-14 weekend against the Flames in which he hit his fifth, sixth and seventh home runs of the year. “”The pitching’s doing good, the hitting’s doing good, we’re playing as a team again.””

    Home dates against USC (23-22, 6-9) and Washington (23-21, 8-7) – who just took two of three games from then-No. 8 Oregon State – remain on the schedule, followed by a trip to Tempe to visit No. 10 ASU (34-12, 11-4).

    “”Every Pac-10 opponent’s a good one, I mean, shoot, there are no easy ones,”” Lopez said. “”You see that Oregon State got beat twice by Washington. There are no easy ones.””

    The Wildcats last visited Omaha, Neb., the site of the College World Series, in 2004. They went to a regional in 2005, but lost to defending national champion Cal State-Fullerton.

    Last season, Arizona narrowly missed out on postseason play despite a 12-12 conference record. All season the Wildcats have had a chip on their shoulder because of that.

    Should they want to return, the bats are going to be the reason why.

    Every Pac-10 opponent’s a good one, I mean, shoot, there are no easy ones.

    – Andy Lopez, UA head coach

    “”It’s good that we’re hitting the ball; it’s good to see that,”” said third baseman Brad Glenn, “”and hopefully we’ll keep this rolling all the way into the playoffs.””

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