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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

‘Cats swept in shortened series

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Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The weekend did not go as planned for the Arizona Wildcats baseball team.

Long Beach State University (3-3) came into Sancet Stadium and took both games from Arizona (3-2) in a rain-shortened series, winning 8-7 on Friday and 10-3 on Saturday.

“”Those are tough ones to lose. We were too sloppy,”” said head coach Andy Lopez. “”We looked a little bit young at times.””

The series was drawn up to be a litmus test for Arizona, as the Dirtbags would bring a heightened level of competition after the Wildcats made easy work of Utah Valley University.

Arizona had Friday’s game in its hands, carrying a 7-5 lead into the eighth inning when Lopez handed the ball to his closer, sophomore Bryce Bandilla.

Bandilla allowed a leadoff walk to the first batter he faced in the eighth inning, a mistake that eventually ended in a score that cut the Arizona lead to one.

With a chance to secure his first save of the season, Bandilla could not quiet the Dirtbags’ bats. LBSU put together a two-run ninth inning to complete its comeback and steal Game 1 of the series.

“”I didn’t locate balls. It’s my fault we lost,”” Bandilla said. “”I just didn’t pitch good tonight.””

Although freshman pitcher Kurt Heyer was not as dominant on Friday as he was in his debut last weekend, he gave the Wildcats a chance to win in his 5 2/3 innings of work.

The Dirtbags squared up on Heyer for 11 hits, but he left the game and a three-run lead to a Wildcat bullpen that had been dominant prior to the LBSU series.

Arizona’s offense amounted seven runs and 11 hits off of Dirtbags’ ace Jake Thompson. Lopez said output like that from a Friday night starter should be enough to win the game.

“”I would like to think that if we’re up by two in the eighth inning we should win,”” Lopez said. “”If you told me we’re going to get seven runs on a Friday night every Friday this year, I’d take that. We’ve got to do a better job at the end on a (bullpen) standpoint.””

Sophomore Kyle Simon took the ball in Saturday’s game, but could not find a rhythm on the mound, struggling to find his control.

Simon issued five walks to Dirtbag hitters and struck out just one. After going eight innings in his start last Saturday, Simon could not get through five against LBSU and suffered his first loss of the season.

Arizona’s youth showed itself more than Lopez wanted to see this weekend.

Freshman pitcher Nick Cunningham’s two balks on Friday led to a run for LBSU, and the Wildcats made three errors in Saturday’s loss, all on dropped balls by first basemen.

Lopez has made Arizona’s youth no secret and, with a long schedule of baseball ahead, he expects plenty of growth to come with it.

 

Extra bases

Major League Baseball players Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki were at Sancet Stadium on Friday and Saturday night to catch the games. Giambi and Tulowitzki are both alumni of Long Beach State and are currently in Tucson for spring training with the Colorado Rockies.

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