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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball team looks to keep momentum going following successful road trip

Danielle Main

Arizona’s freshman infielder Garen Caulfield up to bat during the game against Texas State University on Friday, March 4 at Hi Corbett Field. The final score was 7-2 for the Wildcats.

While the road trip might not have ended the way they had hoped, the Arizona baseball team is still coming off a successful road trip where the Wildcats went 4-1 with a win against Grand Canyon University and a sweep of the University of Washington. 

Arizona is coming off a tough loss to ASU  where they committed three errors that led to seven of the 10 runs allowed being unearned. The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 with 39 errors on the field this season, an area of the game that will need to see a drastic improvement in the rest of the season. 

“Not good,” head coach Chip Hale said on the team’s overall defensive performance this season. “They know it and that is something we’re working on. We have to be the most steady shortstop in the league with Nik [McClaughry] and that doesn’t change. He has been really steady for us all year.”

Junior pitcher Quinn Flanagan knows the Arizona-ASU rivalry all too well being from Chandler, AZ. Despite Tuesday’s loss, he still doesn’t believe that should take away from the overall road trip. 

“Obviously you really want to win those games,” Flanagan said. “Being here for the last five years, the rivalry means a lot, especially when you’re from Tempe and you definitely want to win up there, but to go 4-1 on a five-game road trip is something that shouldn’t be looked over. That is what you want to do and win on the road. We get three more shots at those guys down here, so looking forward to that as well.”

RELATED: Three key stats from Arizona baseball’s loss to ASU

The Wildcats getting Tony Bullard back fully healthy at third base will be huge for the infield defense. 

“Jack [Grant] and Garen [Caulfield] have done as well as we could have expected at third [base],” Hale said. “Once Tony’s arm is 100 percent, I think he’ll be that great third baseman that he is.”

Hale mentioned that Bullard is still at about 80 percent on his road to a full recovery. He looked fully healthy at the plate against the Sun Devils, launching his first two home runs of the season. 

“[Bullard] has really been tied up with his mechanics,” Hale said. “Sometimes we all fall prey to this that we get so worried about where we’re striding and where our hands are going instead of just competing. [Bullard] did a lot of work on Monday on his own, looked at the video and just decided he was going to compete out there and it worked out for him.”

Arizona now returns home this weekend where they will host a struggling Washington State University team that has lost 11 of their last 12 games. The Cougars’ pitching staff has walked the most batters in the Pac-12 this season, making patience at the plate a very important factor for the Wildcats in this series.

“For the most part, we have been real happy with our guys’ ability to see pitches,” Hale said. “The number of pitches from the fall on, I think we have done a good job of that so we’ll just have to make sure in our scouting meetings we talk to them [Thursday and Friday] before the series starts. That patience is the main thing here and to get into good hitters counts.”

Hale also clarified that while patience will be important, he also wants the hitters to take advantage of the mistakes over the plate and not take the good pitches.

The Wildcats and Cougars open up a three-game weekend series on Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MST.

Follow Ari Koslow on Twitter 

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