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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball can thank road prowess for high ranking

The No. 4 Arizona baseball team is taking advantage of its opportunities where it needs to — on the road in Pac-12 Conference play.

Winning at home should be a given. There’s no reason that a team shouldn’t be able to be successful in its own stadium and in front of its own fans.

When a team is on the road however, especially in a conference as dominant as the Pac-12, it can be chewed up and spit out pretty easily. But that hasn’t been the case for the Wildcats, as they’ve won both of their conference road series so far this season.

“I think the Pac-12 is a very, very good conference, it’s obviously being recognized that way with all of the teams that are nationally ranked,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “You have to play well every inning (on the road).”

The one advantage that the Wildcats have over every other team in the conference is playing their home games at a pitchers’ park.

Most of the deep fly balls that are hit at Hi Corbett Field would be home runs anywhere else in the conference, and with the Wildcats getting accustomed to playing fundamental baseball at home, that philosophy can continue to thrive on the road.

“As far as our game plan, we still play small ball no matter what park we’re in,” Arizona left fielder Johnny Field said. “We just have to keep executing.”

Freshman catcher Riley Moore said he likes the possibility of added power that comes with some of the road contests.

“As much as I love Hi Corbett defensively, from a hitting standpoint, it’s nice to go on the road,” Moore said. “Instead of being a double at home, it’s a home run on the road.”

After taking two out of three from Utah over the weekend, the Wildcats are tied with Oregon at the top of the conference standings.

Lopez said the Wildcats’ success stems from the maturity that his team displays on a daily basis.

“It’s a credit to these guys that are playing and representing this program,” Lopez said. “The freshman are doing a good job, but you know the juniors have worked hard to be where they’re at, hopefully they’ll continue down that path.”

If the Wildcats can continue on this pace throughout the rest of the conference schedule, they should be primed to solidify their postseason standing and make a run at Omaha and the College World Series.

The one thing that Lopez continually talks about is the quality and character that each player on his team shows.

“It’s a great group to be around,” Lopez said. “You get some good baseball on top of it, (and) I’m really happy for them.”

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