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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona baseball hosts Utah Valley for one game

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Amy Webb
Amy Webb / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Baseball vs. NDSU in the opening weekend of the season and on Hi-Corbet Field.

The No. 20 Arizona baseball team didn’t have a perfect opening weekend, but with a 5 p.m. game tonight at Hi Corbett Field against Utah Valley University, the Wildcats can’t dwell on the missed opportunities.

“We are in season now, and we have got to get this thing rolling,” junior Robert Refsnyder said.

It was a disappointing weekend for the team, and the players can’t be satisfied with the results, he added.

Arizona won two out of three against North Dakota State last weekend, but its offense managed only five combined runs in the first two games — plus the bullpen collapsed on Saturday, leading to an 8-2 loss.

Head coach Andy Lopez said the team has been sweeping its swings too much and also hasn’t adjusted to the pitcher-friendly ballpark, hitting too many balls into the air.

It wasn’t a great weekend, but the team will keep working to perform better tonight as well as in the series coming up this weekend, Lopez said.

Other than Refsnyder and junior Johnny Field, the offense has yet to show its pre-season potential. The two juniors combined for 13 of the 22 total hits for the Wildcats.

“Refsnyder is a big guy for us in terms of a key offensive player,” Lopez said. “We have to have him hit well to be successful.”

Lopez said that Refsynder was one of the few players that has adjusted to the changes this year, but that was something he expected. A greater concern for Arizona has been its bullpen.

Saturday’s game was tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, and an out had already been recorded by starter Konner Wade when Lopez went to the bullpen. But it took four pitchers get the final two outs, and they gave up six runs in the process. Junior Vincent Littleman was given the loss, but the mistake was a combined effort from the bullpen.

Lopez wanted to try out some of the freshmen in the bullpen on Sunday to see how they would handle the environment, but starter James Farris ended up pitching all nine innings on his way to a complete-game shutout.

“This is that trial and error period,” Lopez said. “We are trying to figure out who is our closer … Based off the weekend I feel pretty good about our starters. I think (reliever) Stephen Manthei did a good job. But other than that, we have a lot of candidates for some spots.”

Junior pitcher Tyler Hale will start tonight’s game on the mound —his first action of the season.

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