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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Baseball seeks first road win

Rodney Haas Arizona Daily Wildcat
Rodney Haas
Rodney Haas Arizona Daily Wildcat


That was the word head coach Andy Lopez used to describe the Arizona baseball team’s series against California in Berkeley, Calif., last weekend.

Freshman ace Kurt Heyer (4-0, 2.08 ERA) has set the tone for every series this year and when he was struck in the head with a 110 mph ball last Thursday in the first game of the series, Arizona’s nerves were shaken and its weekend was thrown off-course.

“”I’m not afraid to say this about my team, I think they were genuinely concerned about it, and wanted to be sure he was OK,”” Lopez said.

Rain forced the Wildcats to play a doubleheader on Saturday, but they could not muster a win and were swept by the Golden Bears in their first trip away from Tucson this season.

“”(Cal) played exceptionally well and we did not play well at all. That was a tough road trip,”” Lopez said. “”It was just a weird weekend.””

Luckily for No. 22 Arizona (20-8, 2-4 Pacific 10 Conference) there is still plenty of time to rebound from its rough weekend in the Bay Area, beginning at 6 tonight against Washington in Seattle.

The Huskies (16-11, 2-1) won’t be an easy out, with the momentum from winning nine of their last 10 games.

Lopez expects to face a capable team in every series this season, given the tough landscape of the conference.

“”I keep telling our guys, I think every night you’ve got to be at your best in the Pac-10,”” Lopez said.

That said, this weekend’s matchup is tilted in Arizona’s favor.

Despite scoring just five runs all series against Cal, the Wildcats remain one of the top offenses in the Pac-10. They will have a chance to get their bats going again facing Washington’s pitching staff, which ranked last in the conference in ERA and opponent batting average entering the week.

But the games aren’t played on paper, and Heyer, who was cleared to pitch tonight after passing all concussion tests earlier this week, said the team will get back to basics to get back in the win column.

“”We’re fired up because getting swept by a team that we should have beat — that should put a little steam in your gut,”” Heyer said.

“”We’re going to get after it this weekend and put hits together, throw strikes, play good defense and we’re going to start another winning streak,”” he added.

An old baseball adage is that a team is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. When Heyer is on the mound, the Wildcats carry a presence that makes them tough to beat, and with their ace back tonight, Lopez is confident that getting back on the field will rid them of the bitter taste from last weekend.

“”They’ll be fine. It’s one weekend and you play eight or nine of them in conference play,”” Lopez said. “”I really think they’re looking forward to playing again.””


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