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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA’s defense saves the day for baseball

    UAs defense saves the day for baseball

    If ESPN televised Tuesday night’s 9-3 Arizona win against New Mexico, Sportscenter’s Top 10 would have made UA shortstop Bryce Ortega a very, very famous man.

    The Wildcats’ defense was making highlight reel plays all night – a diving catch by Brad Glenn in left field, two nice plays by third baseman Jett Bandy and the first game that Arizona (15-16, 3-9 Pacific 10 Conference) didn’t commit an error in the last four games.

    “”(The defense) was pretty special,”” UA head coach Andy Lopez said after the win against the Lobos.

    Of all the gems from last night, Ortega’s performance was particularly spectacular. He made tough plays in the hole and had a diving catch in the fifth inning that led Lopez to compare him to fielding-wizard and MLB Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Smith.

    “”Just trying to be consistent out there,”” Ortega said. “”I was hoping for (a chance to make tough plays). I love games like that, where you get a lot of balls and can show off your abilities.””

    The defense stole the show on a windy night and helped Arizona sophomore Joe Allison earn the victory in his first career start.

    Not that he necessarily needed it, though.

    “”I wasn’t going to beat myself,”” said Allison, who struck out two Lobos and didn’t walk a batter in six innings of work. “”I was going to go out there, throw as many strikes as I possibly could, and it worked out pretty well.””

    His performance was good enough for Lopez to consider inserting Allison as the team’s Sunday starter, something he has been searching for all season long.

    “”He looked good, and he’s got a leg up (for the Sunday-starter spot),”” Lopez said. “”He did a good job against a good hitting club.””

    Freshman Shaun Cooper provided the fireworks on offense, going 3-for-3 with his second home run of the season.

    In addition to playing well in the field, Glenn also did the little things right at the plate as he drove in two runs without recording a hit.

    Junior closer Jason Stoffel added to his Pac-10 lead in saves, recording his seventh on the season.

    “”We have to do this on a more consistent basis, but every step right now is a step in the right direction,”” Lopez said.

    ‘Cats hungry for series sweep

    It is only a two-game series, but back-to-back wins for the first time since a series sweep against Michigan in early March would be an enormous confidence boost for the Wildcats.

    “”It’s always big,”” Ortega said of achieving a series sweep. “”You want to get your confidence up and when you pitch like that and play ‘D,’ you’re always confident.””

    Sophomore Daniel Workman (0-0, 2.19 ERA) is scheduled to start the game for Arizona, his first start of the season.

    The first pitch for tomorrow’s contest at Sancet Stadium has been moved from its original start time of 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. due to travel issues.

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