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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pac-10 season starts with Duel in the Desert

The second half, and most important part of the season, has arrived for the No. 15 Arizona baseball team as it heads to Tempe to take on the No. 4 ASU Sun Devils in its first Pacific 10 Conference series of the season.

“”We start with a great team in ASU,”” said pre-season All American Steve Selsky. “”It’s the rivalry at their place on the road. We’ve just got to come out ready to play every day and I think we’ll be fine.””

At the start of the season, seven of the Pac-10 teams were ranked by several publications, and the talent of the conference isn’t lost on anyone, especially head coach Andy Lopez.

“”There’s somebody throwing in the Pac-10 on Friday nights that’s going to be in the big leagues in a year,”” he said “”You can go through the Tim Lincecums, the Brandon Morrows, the arms are pretty special on the West Coast.””

And matching up with some of the nation’s best pitching is something that the Arizona hitters are ready for.

The Wildcat offense has put up strong numbers this season — seven players of the Arizona starting line-up hitting more than .300.

The biggest surprise for the Wildcats has come in the form of the freshman Johnny Field, who replaced the injured Selsky throughout the first month of the season.

Field leads the team with a .612 slugging percentage to complement his .358 batting average.

He also leads the team with nine doubles.

With Selsky back in action and firmly planted in the outfield, Lopez said that he wants to use Field as much as possible.

“”As a head coach you want as many players like (Field) as you can get,”” he said.

But regardless of Arizona’s success thus far, it hasn’t faced a team as talented as ASU.

The Sun Devils are heading into the weekend’s contest hitting .331 as a team, and will be sure to test the Arizona starters, Kurt Heyer, Kyle Simon and Tyler Hale.

Despite the challenge, Selsky stressed how eager his club is to begin the conference part of the season.

“”I can’t even explain how much more ready we are this year than last year for this,”” he said. “”We worked hard over the fall, everyone’s in shape.””

After ASU, 26 conference games will still remain on the docket for the Wildcats, but Lopez is confident in the maturity of his squad.

The experience the Wildcats’ gained last year will be vital to the team’s success.

“”They’ve (already) done it for a year,”” Lopez said. “”They understand the process, they understand what it feels like to go on the road for a couple weekends in a row in the Pac-10 they understand how important the games are.””

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