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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bandy’s back

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Wildcats took on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pacific 10 Conference baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at Frank Sancet Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona State won 10-5.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats took on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pacific 10 Conference baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at Frank Sancet Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona State won 10-5.

For Arizona catcher Jett Bandy, the start of the 2011 season wasn’t quite what he was expecting.

After finishing last year hitting a .354 clip, second highest on the team, the junior preseason All-American and All-Pac-10 team selection was hoping to jump out and lead the charge for the No. 23 Arizona baseball team.

Unfortunately for him, that didn’t happen.

“”He had a tough start,”” said head coach Andy Lopez. “”As we all know in baseball, sometimes when you have a tough start, it’s hard to get it back on track.””

But now, thanks to a relaxed mentality, Bandy is resurfacing as a key player on both the offensive and defensive side for the Wildcats in the middle of conference play, and it couldn’t be coming at a better time.

“”I think he’s now who he has been the last couple of years,”” Lopez said. “”He gets big hits. You go look at his resume the past couple of years, man, he gets big hits.””

Perhaps Bandy’s biggest hit of the season came on April 8, when the Wildcats had come back from a 4-2 deficit to tie the game at 4 in the bottom of the ninth against the California Golden Bears, Bandy hit a walk-off single that scored Bobby Rinard from second base.

“”You just love being in those at bats,”” Bandy said. “”(I tell myself) you’re just the lucky one to be in the spot at that time and don’t let it go to waste.””

Although Bandy’s .287 batting average trails what he finished with last season, the improvement he’s shown is enough for Lopez to keep the faith.

When a catcher is up at bat, Lopez said that he only wants two things.

“”Doubles and homeruns,”” Lopez joked. “”If they get a base hit they just slow us up.

“”I tell them, ‘We ain’t gonna steal with you, we ain’t gonna hit and run.’ It doesn’t do them any good to get a base hit.””

While the power numbers haven’t been there for Bandy this year, he still maintains the same mindset at the plate.

“”Early in the count I’m really looking to drive something, definitely put one off the wall, hit one out of here, or go double off the wall or something like that,”” Bandy said. “”That’s definitely my mentality. I’m a three hitter. That’s what I have to do.

Up next

The Arizona baseball team will start its weekend series a day early due to Easter Sunday this weekend. The Wildcats will fly north to take on Oregon for a three-game series.

After dropping last weekend’s series to UCLA, Arizona hopes it can get back on track against the struggling Ducks (19-16, 2-7 Pacific 10 Conference).

“”A sense of urgency is definitely coming up a little bit,”” said outfielder Robert Refsnyder. “”We know we have to pick it up. We need to compete a little bit better than we have been. Two out of three is the goal, and a sweep is really the ultimate goal.””

Sophomore Kurt Heyer (6-1, 1.74 ERA) will take on Oregon’s Tyler Anderson (5-1, 1.149 ERA).

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