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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Young Cats adjust to schedule

    Eight games in 10 days have turned into three wins, a day off and five games in six days for the Arizona baseball team.

    “”If I had my way, we’d play every day, just because it does get you older,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez as his team prepared to begin a mid-week series at Sancet Stadium with Utah Valley State today at 4 p.m.

    Though his young squad features 26 freshmen and sophomores, it’s coming off an opening-weekend sweep of Gonzaga.

    “”With the youth that we have right now, every day that we play right now gets us a little bit older,”” Lopez said.

    With its mid-week series concluding tomorrow at 4 p.m., Arizona will have only Thursday off before returning to the diamond for a three-game set with New Mexico beginning Friday at 4 p.m.

    “”That’s the one thing, 56 games (in a season). I’m used to like 25 (games in high school),”” said second baseman Kevin Rodland, a freshman who went 4-for-11 over the weekend with five RBIs and four runs scored.

    “”That’s definitely a big thing,”” he said. “”You’ve got to be responsible and take care of yourself and make sure you’re healthy.””

    But the mid-week series against the Wolverines will be more than simple game experience. It’ll allow those on the outside of the pitching rotation looking in a chance to be on the inside, looking out.

    Though the No. 1 and 2 spots on the staff appear to be set for now – Friday-night starter Preston Guilmet went eight innings without allowing a hit; Brad Mills surrendered just one run on four hits Sunday – the No. 3 spot is still open for competition.

    Converted closer Daniel Schlereth struggled in a starter’s role Saturday, giving up two runs and walking four in just 2 1/3 innings of work, pressing righty Mike Colla into action.

    Colla, who was slated to start tonight, picked up the win, giving up two hits in 4 2/3 innings and earning – for now – a leg up on his competition.

    In his place tonight will be left-hander David Coulon, who is looking to prove himself worthy of a rotation spot.

    Schlereth hinted last week that he might prefer the closer’s role he occupied last season, when he led the team with seven saves. For now, it looks like he’ll regain the late-game responsibility.

    “”We’ve got an answer with Daniel Schlereth, he’s probably going to be back in the (bullpen), which is OK, that’s why we’re (experimenting with the rotation) early,”” Lopez said.

    Freshman Jason Stoffel, who had been named the closer, will remain in a relief role.

    The staff played in front of a stellar infield that committed just one error all weekend against Gonzaga.

    Featuring three true freshman in third baseman Erik Castro, shortstop Robert Abel and Rodland, there were questions entering the season as to their experience. But judging by their performance over the weekend, that may not be an issue.

    “”They don’t play like (freshmen),”” Mills said. “”I was very impressed with Abel at short and Rodland, Castro. … I mean you feel as comfortable – you don’t feel like you got a shaky infield behind you. I’m real confident in any one.””

    Extra bases

    There’s still no answer on infielder Colt Sedbrook’s status this season. The junior, who has unresolved personal issues, hadn’t been cleared as of yesterday afternoon, but that could change some time today. Should things remain the same, he’d be forced to watch from the dugout once again. … Guilmet was named the National Pitcher of the Week yesterday by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper after throwing eight no-hit innings in Arizona’s 14-0 win over Gonzaga Friday. Guilmet is the first UA player to take home these honors since John Meloan earned them after coming four outs from a no-hitter in the 2005 season opener.

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