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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Athlete of the week: C.J. Ziegler

    C.J. Ziegler is hitting .349 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs, the latter which ranks second on Arizona.
    C.J. Ziegler is hitting .349 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs, the latter which ranks second on Arizona.

    Editor’s note: Baseball designated hitter C.J. Ziegler has been on a tear all season, hitting .349, and is second on the team with 27 RBIs. Last week in a 19-3 win against Hawaii-Hilo, Ziegler went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, three runs scored and his team-leading seventh home run of the season. The Wildcat caught up with Ziegler after his team’s 5-4 win over Morehead State last night to get his thoughts on the trip to Hawaii, the pronunciation of his last name and the toughest pitcher he’s ever faced.

    Wildcat: Going 4-for-5, hitting the home run against Hilo – you guys kind of broke out of your offensive slump for a little bit.

    Ziegler: After the Hawaii series (March 9-11), we had practice the next day and came out having a plan. The coaches got on us about a couple things. We came out and hit pretty good. That day, they said that the guy that was throwing against us was pretty good, and we ended up coming out banging out … a lot off of him. It felt really good hitting the ball hard, I was seeing it real well. It helps that I got good guys around me. I love it.

    W: Best memory of the Hawaii trip off the field?

    Z: Off the field? Pearl Harbor and the North Shore, 25- to 50-foot waves.

    W: Did you guys go into the water at all?

    Z: No, I was with my parents. We were just driving around, and we went up to the North Shore and we went to Pearl Harbor all in the same day, had dinner up there. That was something to see, the sunset setting over there and you got the waves going – it was awesome.

    W: How’d you entertain yourself on that six-hour flight over?

    Z: (Laughs) I tried to sleep as much as I could, because we had to get up so early (the team left McKale Center for Sky Harbor International Airport at 4 in the morning), and I was up all night doing laundry. I was playing PSP and watching a movie, and then I ended up falling asleep, thank goodness for a couple hours, and then I got up in the middle of the flight and asked the flight attendant how much time we had left. She was like, “”Yeah, we’ve got 3 1/2 hours left.”” That was pretty crazy, but I loved it over there. It was a lot more humid over there, but at night, it was really windy, and then the rain – it was really weird, because it would just fall out of nowhere. I mean the hour before, it’d be perfectly clear and then the rain would all of a sudden just come.

    W: What’s the worst someone’s butchered your last name (pronounced ZIG-ler)

    Z: Probably in high school, I was at a tournament, and someone said “”Zeyegler.”” It was bad. I don’t understand how they could do that. And then in the papers here in Tucson, they’d spell it wrong, Z-i-g-l-e-r, and do different stuff like that. It’s all right, it took getting my name in the paper a couple more times for them to get it right.

    W: Toughest pitcher you’ve ever faced?

    Z: Wes Roemer (the Cal State Fullerton pitcher who held Ziegler to 0-for-3 batting in Arizona’s 2-1 win Feb. 16). He just had command of all his pitches. He knew what he wanted, and he knew what he was doing. I was trying to come back at him with everything that I had, and I hit him pretty good, but that Cal State Fullerton grass (laughs) is very thick to keep everything in. Then, when I was at Area Code games, I faced a guy that was throwing 99 mph. That was a fun thing to see. The thing is, he had control over it. But yeah, Roemer had really good stuff.

    W: What about on Arizona’s staff?

    Z: (Left-handed closer Daniel) Schlereth, when he’s got control of that changeup, because that changeup’s his best pitch. When you’re throwing 91, 92 and then you pull out a changeup, from a lefty especially, that’s just the hardest thing to see. And then (righty Cory) Burns, now he’s throwing (sidearm), that’s even worse.

    – Interview by Ryan Casey

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