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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball notebook

OMAHA, Neb. – When the postseason began for Arizona baseball, head coach Andy Lopez bestowed upon his team two sayings that have helped his players get within one win of the championship series: “play good baseball,” and “one in a row,” referring to the “one day at a time” mindset his team has adopted.

But when you’re one of just five teams left in the World Series, and you have a three-day break between Sunday’s win over UCLA and Thursday’s rematch with Florida State to get to the championship series, it’s hard not to look ahead for some of Arizona’s players.

“That’s our plan, don’t look too far ahead, but we all do,” junior center fielder Joey Rickard said. “We watch the games. We know what’s going on, but we concentrate on one game at a time.”

The Wildcats have used their three-day “break” from game action to relax and spend time with their family, as well as get some work in before Thursday afternoon’s contest.

“I don’t want our guys sitting around the hotel all day,” Lopez said. “We’ll take normal workouts. We won’t deviate from anything. It’s too late in the season and too old of a team to make any adjustments right now.”

Arizona may not want or need to make adjustments, except “minor ones with some guys and their technique,” according to Lopez, but a three-day span without games is nothing new to the Wildcats.

College baseball is a sport that plays a majority of their regular season series on weekends, so lapses between games are usually four or five days. That structure has UA players used to the mid-week lull between contests.

“Between those weekends, there’s four or five days between where you rest for the next game,” shortstop Alex Mejia said. “We’ve been through it before.”

Continued Mejia: “Since day one, we’ve kind of focused on what coach says. ‘One in a row, one in a row,’ but at this point we’re so far in the season, we just bought into it. Brainwashed, you can say.”

Practices keeping Wildcats loose

On Monday, the team had just a 60-minute practice, in which Arizona pitchers took batting practice, a gift from Lopez every time the team shuts out an opponent, which Konner Wade provided for them with his complete game, five-hit performance against UCLA Sunday night.

The results of batting practice, however, show how few shutouts the Wildcats have tossed.

“They think they’re good, that’s the sad thing,” Lopez said. “They’re horrible.”

Tuesday, Arizona practice was still shorter than the usual, with players heading to a local children’s hospital for some more down time. After the hospital visit, players were free to explore Omaha.

“These are things they’ll remember the rest of their lives,” Lopez said. “Go home, go out with your family, go to the zoo, go somewhere. Do something. You’ll sit back when you’re my age and say ‘Man, that was a pretty good time in Omaha.’”

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