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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

What we learned

After the Arizona baseball team rallied to take two of three from Long Beach State, the Wildcats are sitting at 5-1 heading into today’s much-anticipated showdown with Rice University. Here are three things we learned from Arizona’s first roadtrip of the season:

1. Arizona’s rotation is deep

Kurt Heyer gets the recognition as the workhorse in Arizona’s rotation, but Kyle Simon and Tyler Hale are turning into two of the better Saturday and Sunday starters in the country. Heyer, Simon and Hale have combined to pitch 42.2 innings in two starts each, with a WHIP of only 0.76. The starters have been so effective that the bullpen has seen only 10.1 innings of work so far, with Matt Chaffee seeing 5.1 of those.

2. Jett Bandy is human

The preseason All-America selection at catcher by Louisville Slugger/TPX has struggled out of the gate in 2011. He’s hitting .174 through six games, including a key failed sacrifice bunt attempt in the season’s only loss. After hitting .354 a year ago, struggling — at least until now — is foreign to Bandy. Credit Bandy for not letting his struggles at the plate affect him in the field — he’s been in charge of the Arizona pitching staff that has racked up a microscopic ERA of 0.68.

3. Johnny Field won the battle in left

It’s not that Bobby Brown or Bobby Rinard struggled in the competition with the freshman to start in left field while Steve Selsky is nursing a broken bone in his hand, it’s that Field is playing so well that head coach Andy Lopez can’t take him out of the lineup. Field is hitting .421 through six games, the third highest average on the team, and is also in second with 15 total bases. The freshman credits his high school’s competitive schedule for helping him make the transition to college baseball almost seamlessly.

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