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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Trouble in the ‘pen

The No. 17 Arizona baseball team entered its series against the Rice University Owls with questions about its bullpen, but it left with resounding concerns.

Arizona (6-2) dropped the second game of a two-game set to Rice (6-4) 11-7 after the bullpen walked nine batters in six innings of work, including the Owls’ 8-run fifth.

“”The hard part about a midweek series is that you have to find some answers to questions,”” said head coach Andy Lopez. “”We got some answers, but not really the ones you want. It’s just who can go out there and throw a strike. I like to be optimistic. It was a battle of a lack of pitching depth.””

Geoff Perrott led off the Rice fifth with a solo homerun, and reigning National Player of the Year Anthony Rendon plated three Owls with a triple down the right field line that got just past right fielder Robert Refsnyder.

Catcher Jett Bandy called that the turning point of the game.

“”(Rendon) is a really good player. That’s one of the toughest plays to make as an outfielder,”” Bandy said. “”That was a great effort by Robert (Refsnyder), and I guarantee he makes that play nine times out of ten.””

Kyle Simon had his third start of the year, going three innings and allowing a run in the first — while working on a pitch count of about 45 — before giving way to Vincent Littleman and the Arizona bullpen.

Littleman walked two and gave up five earned runs in 1.2 innings of work, and freshman James Farris didn’t record an out while walking three and giving up three earned.

Bandy said that gaining experience is key for the young Arizona bullpen.

“”You just really need to calm them down and talk about locating (pitches),”” Bandy said. “”They need to relax. Sometimes adrenaline starts kicking in and the game gets too fast.””

Daniel Ponce de Leon showed improvement from a rough outing in Tuesday’s win, going an inning and two-thirds and giving up a run.

“”He’s a tough kid,”” Bandy said. “”Once he was calm he found that rhythm. When he pounds the zone, he’s going to be good.””

Even though Wednesday’s result didn’t favor Arizona, Lopez still found something to take from the loss.

“”The positive is that I love the way we competed,”” Lopez said. “”I’m extremely proud of that, but we need answers to questions in the middle part of the rotation. We’ll gather ourselves and move on.””


On deck


What: Arizona vs. Utah Valley

When: Friday, 6 p.m.

Where: Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium

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