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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Schlereth ignores attention visitors watch UA co-closer Daniel Schlereth pitch everywhere – at home, on the road and off the diamond – with his father Mark’s online production of “”Meet the Schlereth’s.””

    Despite redshirt junior Schlereth’s shy and humble personality, the national attention certainly hasn’t affected the left-handed pitcher on the field.

    In his only save, Schlereth dismantled No. 20 Cal State-Fullerton on March 15 by striking out seven of the 10 batters he faced.

    Even without the save opportunities, Schlereth anchors Arizona’s bullpen as the season’s most consistent reliever with a 2.63 ERA.

    “”I think I did OK,”” said a modest Schlereth after the 50-pitch save, adding that his freshman year marked the last time he felt this healthy.

    Through 30 1/3 innings, Schlereth has 44 strikeouts, only 10 behind UA ace Preston Guilmet’s team-high 54. Yesterday against New Mexico, Schlereth pitched one inning, struck out one batter and didn’t allow a hit.

    Schlereth’s emergence as one of the Pacific 10 Conference’s best relievers comes after suffering from a torn rib cartilage last season. He missed the majority of conference play in 2007 and was still selected in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland Athletics, but opted to return for his junior season.

    Childs, reserves provide clutch offense

    Batting with the bases loaded Tuesday, catcher Dwight Childs recalled the last time he belted a home run – a grand slam in high school. Ironically enough, Childs’ first homer in an Arizona uniform also came as a four-RBI bomb.

    While the majority of his praise came on the defensive end, Childs became another unexpected hero on Arizona’s offense. Despite hitting .164 until that at-bat, the sophomore’s grand slam lifted the Wildcats to their sixth straight victory Tuesday with a 10-6 win over New Mexico.

    “”My first career home run in high school was a grand slam also, so that’s pretty cool,”” Childs said.

    Throughout the year, three reserves have provided clutch boosts to the Wildcats’ offense – Mike Weldon, Bobby Coyle and Rafael Valenzuela all capitalized on spot starts, hitting for a combined .579 batting average and 13 RBI when entering the game as pinch hitters.

    “”With the bottom half of the lineup producing and the top half producing, we’re gonna be hard to stop,”” Childs said.

    Bat stats still hot

    Weathered through a mid-season slump, Arizona’s offense continues to impress the stat sheet.

    Seven different players still have batting averages over .300 and eight players have scored 15 or more runs.

    Hinging on the bat of first baseman C.J. Ziegler, Arizona’s offense steadily thrives from the Pima Community College transfer currently on pace to hit 20 home runs this season. With base hits in 11 of his past 12 games, Ziegler recorded a .405 batting average and .690 slugging percentage during such time.

    Such contagious hitting explosion caught onto third baseman Brad Glenn, who belted four home runs in eight games before the New Mexico series.

    Ziegler, right fielder Jon Gaston and designated hitter Dillon Baird all have over 10 multi-hit games on the season, while short stop Bryce Ortega boasted an 11-game hitting streak in late March.

    The Wildcats, however, displayed their offensive fireworks in bunches before and after its season-high six game losing streak. Lopez held a team meeting before the April 8 San Diego series in an effort to revitalize the offensive drought during its tough stretch.

    “”Like coach has said, if we don’t have a short stroke we can’t be successful and we’ve shown that in the past,”” Gaston said. “”Our success right now has come from having a short stroke and a solid plan and right now we’re executing that.””

    – Bobby Stover contributed reporting

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