Arizona Wildcats baseball is on the prowl
Arizona ace Konner Wade’s bread and butter pitch is his change up. While most dominating pitchers throw a curveball or some kind of breaking ball for their out pitch, Wade’s best out pitch is his change up. Even the best batters can’t help themselves and just end up swinging over the pitch instead of through.
Wade (4-4) started the 2013 season nowhere near where he ended the 2012 national championship season. In the College World Series, Wade dominated opposing batters with the changeup. Wade finished the season winning his last four starts, propelling the Wildcats to their fourth national title and Wade as a potential top draft pick in 2013.
But the starter opened this season in a new role as the ace and with less command of the deadly changeup. With a lack of command in his out pitch Wade saw a increase in walks and a higher percentage of fastballs thrown since he was consistently trying to make a comeback in counts.
The inconsistency carried into the Pac-12 season for Wade. But following the loss last week to Stanford and consensus Pac-12 pitcher of the year, Mark Appel, Wade was through.
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Baseball beat Alabama State Friday night 8-2.
“We worked during the week on gaining command of the change-up and I think it really worked,” Wade said prior to his start this Friday against Alabama State. “Me and [pitching coach Shaun Cole] worked on the approach of throwing it in on batters.”
The mid-week work appeared to pay off. Wade had his first complete game on Friday allowing just one earned run with no walks and five strikeouts.
What was even more impressive is how Wade was mentally and physically stronger as the game went along. Except for little lapse in the sixth and seventh innings when he hit two batters, Wade was strong throughout his start.
Head coach Andy Lopez and the rest of the team will need to rely on Wade as the team heads down the home stretch if they want to denfend their conference title or possibly even make the post-season.
Johnny hits the field
The chances that center fielder Johnny Field returns to the Wildcats in 2014 is unlikely. The junior entered this season with countless awards and nominations, including being named to the USA College Baseball team.
Field had a strong start to the season but was overshadowed by third baseman Brandon Dixon who has lifted his draft status immensely with a .390 batting average and six homeruns in 42 games.
Recently, though, Field has blasted off since moving to the lead off spot in the lineup. Field is hitting .470 over the past 16 games with 18 runs batted in, 20 runs scored and five triples. All of which lead the team.
“I’ve kept the same mental approach all year long, I just think I’m attacking pitches better,” Field said. “I feel really good at the plate right now, trying to do whatever I can to help the team win the game at hand..”
Field now has a team leading .391 average with a national leading seven triples.
Ramer adding depth to freshman class
Freshman infielder/outfielder Cody Ramer saw limited playing time to start the season due to an ankle injury he sustained. He has slowly worked his way back into the lineup and with some successful approaches has now become an everyday batter against right-handed pitches.
“I like [Cody Ramer], he’s got an excellent swing,” Lopez said. “He’s really worked hard and there’s a lot of fight in that kid.”
Ramer has only started in 10 games this season but has started in five of the Wildcats’ last six games and played in all of them.
With only three hits in the last six games, all against Alabama State, Ramer is still adjusting and becoming more comfortable at the plate.
Ramer could become a everyday starter next season at third or corner outfield positions.