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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘Cats finding groove at right time

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

The young Arizona baseball team has rattled off 11 straight wins, including a 10-6 win yesterday to complete a sweep of Sacramento State (6-11).

Head coach Andy Lopez preached patience after Arizona (16-4) experienced some early season jitters in the form of inconsistent pitching, which resulted in losses in games that should have been won.

But as Lopez promised, after some of those tough losses, the Wildcats have shown growth with each passing game.

The pitching staff lowered its ERA to 3.85, while the offense has evolved into one of the most potent in the Pacific 10 Conference by winning games in dominant fashion.

During the wining streak, Arizona outscored its opponents 128-35, riding the bat of sophomore Jett Bandy, who entered Sunday hitting a team-leading .481, good enough for second in the Pac-10.

Veterans like Steve Selsky and Rafael Valenzuela continue to do damage at the top of the order, while Bryce Ortega has shaken off his slow start the last few games by contributing in the nine spot in the lineup.

Though the returners have done their part, several freshmen on the roster are becoming more comfortable with the college game and have propelled the Wildcats into winning form.

Robert Refsnyder is second on the team in batting average and third in the Pac-10, while Joey Rickard has swung his way into the leadoff spot after earning Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for the week of March 8-14.

On the mound, freshman Kurt Heyer has solidified himself as the anchor of the pitching staff, remaining unbeaten at 3-0 on the season with an ERA of 2.10, while Tyler Hale and Nick Cunningham continue to work in late innings of close games.

Sophomore Kyle Simon has pitched better as of late after losing his spot as the Saturday starter. Simon’s ERA currently sits at 3.43 after his solid start yesterday, when he pitched six innings while holding Sacramento State to just three earned runs.

Arizona has caught fire at just the right time.  With one more non-conference series against the University of New Mexico beginning on Tuesday, the pieces are falling into place.

After the midweek series against the Lobos, the Wildcats will kick off conference play against the Oregon Ducks.


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