Arizona baseball tries to halt skid at Hi Corbett Classic
The Arizona baseball team returns to play this weekend, and will try to end its five-game losing streak.
The Wildcats will host the Hi Corbett Classic, which begins Friday and ends on Sunday. Arizona (6-7) will face Mississippi State (11-4) in its first game at 7 p.m. Friday The matchup will be the second game of the classic, after Mississippi faces UC Santa Barbara (7-1) at 2 p.m.
Mississippi State will arrive at Arizona with a seven-game winning streak, two of those games being shutouts against Eastern Illinois and South Alabama. The probable starting pitcher for Mississippi State will be junior right-hander Brandon Woodruff (1-1).
The Wildcats were swept by Long Beach State on Wednesday, and head coach Andy Lopez said he would start fixing problems during the one day of practice the team had before facing Mississippi State.
Senior pitcher James Farris (36) was a relief pitcher during Arizona's 3-2 fall to Long Beach State at Hi Corbett Field on Tuesday. The Wildcats will turn to their ace to try and end their losing streak.
“Our competitiveness needs to get to a higher level [and] obviously our efficiency at the plate,” Lopez said.
He said the team is not only struggling offensively when it comes to leaving men on scoring positions, but also defensively.
“We’ll start getting some things addressed, worked out [and] reestablish some standards … reestablish some things that I have always felt are important in any program of coaching,” Lopez said.
Arizona’s bullpen had a difficult time finding the strike zone on Wednesday.
“We’ve had some defensive lapses,” Lopez said.
Friday’s starting pitcher will be senior James Farris (2-1). Farris pitched three innings during Tuesday’s matchup against the Dirtbags, allowing zero runs and zero hits with two strikeouts.
Arizona will play four games in three days. The Wildcats will also face UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos have a six-game winning streak, and have won seven out of its eight games. UCSB’s away record is 3-1.
Lopez said he wished his team had more time to prepare for the weekend, but that every single minute of practice on Thursday would be used. Blaming himself for the losses, he said he will get better and the team will get better.
“We will get better; I’ll fix it,” Lopez said. “I look forward to every challenge. I’m not a guy [who’s] been used to getting his brains beat out. I’ve been very lucky in my coaching life.”
On Saturday, the Wildcats play the Gauchos at 7 p.m. and then again on Sunday at noon, followed by a game with the Bulldogs at 5 p.m.
—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal