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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Baseball goes 3-1 in Hawaii

    Rain almost ruined the start of the trip, and canceled a game at the end of it, but it couldn’t stop the Arizona baseball team from going 3-1 in Hawaii over spring break.

    The Wildcats (16-6) took two of three from Hawaii on March 9-11 before cruising past Hawaii-Hilo 19-3 on Tuesday. Arizona’s Wednesday game against Hilo (5-19) was halted in the third inning because of bad weather and eventually canceled with no makeup date set.

    He gives you a chance every Friday night to have a good weekend. That’s the difference. To me, that’s the table-setter.

    Andy Lopez, UA head coach, on ace Preston Guilmet

    The three-game set against the Warriors (19-8) saw the Wildcat bats continue to struggle, as they rapped out only 11 total hits while pushing across five runs. Arizona also left 18 men on base.

    “”We got away from ourselves offensively in terms of just a general approach in what we’re trying to do,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez.

    “”I really believe that the talent is within this club to have a good offensive team, but we just kind of got away.””

    In the trip-opening game March 9, ace Preston Guilmet (4-0) didn’t need much offense in a 2-1 win as he continued to be his dominant self, limiting Hawaii to only five hits over eight innings while striking out a career-high 12 batters. The righty, who lowered his ERA to 2.05, also walked four.

    Rain forced the game to be finished the following day, and the Warriors almost ruined Guilmet’s start, loading the bases and pushing a run across against closer Daniel Schlereth before the southpaw got Warrior second baseman Jonathan Hee to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the game and pick up his fifth save of the season.

    “”In my history of being here for five years and from being at this level for a few years, (Southeastern Conference) baseball and all the rest, he’s pitching as well as anybody I’ve had in a long time,”” Lopez said of Guilmet, who leads the Pacific 10 Conference in strikeouts with 41 and was named the conference’s Pitcher of the Week for his efforts.

    “”He gives you a chance every Friday night to have a good weekend. That’s the difference. To me, that’s the table-setter.””

    Lopez got another solid outing out of his starter later in the day when lefty Brad Mills gave up just one run over six innings, striking out seven. But Arizona’s offense – and its three hits – did little to help, as Mills (4-2) shouldered the 4-0 loss.

    The Wildcats took the final game 3-1 behind an eighth-inning rally before exploding for 19 runs on 16 hits against Hilo on Tuesday, something Lopez credited to a strong two-hour workout the day before.

    “”At Hilo, we swung it as well as we swung it in about five or six weeks, quite honestly,””

    Lopez said. “”It was a very, very impressive offensive performance that I hope, but I also think, is going to carry over.””

    Designated hitter C.J. Ziegler led the way with his seventh home run of the season during a 4-for-5 day, and third baseman Colt Sedbrook chipped in with four RBIs.

    Lopez moved the junior Sedbrook over from second base earlier in the week to stop Arizona’s defensive problems at the hot corner, where freshmen Erik Castro and Kevin Rodland have committed a combined eight errors.

    Against the Vulcans, Arizona got two players, pitcher Ryan Perry and infielder Mike Weldon, back from arm injuries.

    Perry, sidelined since January with a broken left elbow suffered in a motorcycle accident, got the start Tuesday and went two innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out three. He didn’t walk a batter.

    “”It was optimistic,”” Lopez said of the start. “”He was going in the right direction.””

    Perry will get the nod again this Tuesday against Morehead State, but will be limited to 40-50 pitches.

    Weldon, meanwhile, had missed every game to this point because of ligament damage to his throwing arm. Originally thought to have needed Tommy John surgery, Weldon was a defensive replacement in the eighth inning of the March 10 loss to Hawaii and started Tuesday against Hilo.

    Lopez said he was looking for a solid

    presence in the field from Weldon before than anything at the plate.

    “”If we get that, I’m not really concerned about the offense,”” Lopez said. “”I really, really believe we have enough offense to get it going.

    “”I’m not foolish, we have struggled here over the last few weeks to score some runs when we needed to against maybe not the greatest pitching, but like I said, that Tuesday night in Hilo really gives me a strong, strong ray of hope in terms of what I think these guys are going to start doing offensively.””

    Extra bases

    Schlereth picked up his sixth save in the 3-1 win over Hawaii on March 11. … Guilmet started the Wednesday game that was canceled and threw 34 pitches. … Lopez said Mills strained his shoulder on the flight to the islands, but he expects the senior to be fine.

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