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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Baseball tries to stay hot in Super Regional against St. John’s

Arizona summers are kind to no one, let alone people that are forced to withstand the trademark dry heat at midday. This weekend, in the first ever NCAA Super Regional hosted by Arizona baseball, the Wildcats and opponent St. John’s will attempt to conquer the heat just long enough to earn a trip to Omaha for the College World Series in a best-of-three series.

The temperature, which is expected to be over 100 degrees throughout the weekend, is not the only factor that may affect gameplay for both sides.

Last weekend’s regional games, which attracted an average of 4,192 fans per game were appealing to fans not only because of the on-field product, but the weather and 8 p.m. start time as well. Fans were not subjected to calling off from work, or sitting in the 100-degree midday weather.

“I feel badly for the guy that’s been bringing his sons out, or the people coming out at six o’clock on a Friday that have been part of the UA chant and stuff like that,” Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “They have to work on Friday at noon. Maybe they can get a lunch break and watch us on TV the first two innings or something.”

As for the change in start times, last weekend’s late evening games allowed ace pitcher and admitted movie buff Kurt Heyer to visit friends in Scottsdale and catch a movie the night before their first game against Missouri.

With a noon start time, junior Alex Mejia said that type of casual routine changes.

“It could be a good thing because right when you wake up, you have so much down time like last weekend,” Mejia said. “It’s going to be nice waking up, I don’t have to worry about resting. You rest the night before, get up, eat breakfast, and get out here to the ball park.”

The early start will mean the temperatures will be at peak levels, a feature unique to a Tucson-hosted super regional. Temperatures in New York City where St. John’s campus is located will be hovering around the 80-degree mark with thunderstorms in effect. According to St. John’s junior Jeremy Baltz, the Tucson heat will not be disadvantageous for the Red Storm.

“We were in Florida a couple of weeks ago and honestly I think as soon as you walk out in the Florida heat, it punches you in the face,” Baltz said. “You can feel that it’s not as humid, it’s dry. I think we’re ready for it. Obviously it’s hot, but we’re staying hydrated and staying cool.”

Despite Mejia and fellow junior Robert Refsnyder’s opinion that the heat will provide them a “good advantage,” Lopez sides with Baltz on the debate, citing the importance of what’s at stake.

“I really do believe that when guys are 18-22 years of age with a chance to go to the World Series, I don’t think heat becomes much of a factor,” Lopez said. “You just run right through that with adrenaline.”

The Wildcats will take their first swings at a potential berth in their first College World Series appearance since 2004 when they take on the Red Storm at noon on Friday at Hi Corbett Field. In the regional round, Arizona put on an offensive showcase, with 47 runs in three games, and Lopez expects his offense to stay potent.

“I don’t care if it’s on the moon at two o’clock in the morning,” Lopez said. “Let’s see if we stay hot and play good baseball.”

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