Baseball gets their 'brains beat out' again
The ship is slowly starting to sink for Arizona baseball.
Struggles at the plate on Tuesday night carried over to Wednesday for the Wildcats as they fell 11-4 and were swept in two games by Long Beach State in front of a home crowd.
The Dirtbags (6-6) extended the Wildcats’ (6-7) losing streak to five games. This is their longest losing skid since dropping six straight from March 15-24 in 2013.
Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said things will get better, but added that he realizes the urgency.
“I see some things missing that really alarm me right now,” Lopez said. “Halfway through the game, I turned to my assistants and said, ‘This game is starting to get in the way of our practice.’”
Arizona Baseball's 11-4 loss against Long Beach State at Hi Corbett field on Wednesday marked the slumping Wildcat's fifth loss in a row.
On Wednesday, Long Beach State set the tone in its first at-bats, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on UA starting pitcher Tyler Crawford (1-2). Crawford was pulled after just 3.1 innings of work, allowing a trio of runs to cross on six hits.
Arizona failed to get on the board until the fifth inning, and by then, LBSU already had a 6-0 lead.
One of the main reasons for that was the middle of the batting order.
The third through seventh hitters in the Wildcat lineup combined for zero hits in 19 at-bats with four strikeouts, and stranded eight of the nine total Arizona runners left on base.
Sophomore Zach Gibbons made his first start of the season in center field and went 3-3 at the dish with three runs batted in. He reached base an additional two times walking.
However, Gibbons did cost the team with a late base running error, and he said it hung on his mind after the game amidst his perfection in the bat.
“We’re doing the easy things we’re supposed to do really bad right now, like the last inning when I ran into an out,” Gibbons said. “That can’t happen. We can be a lot more competitive than we have been; it shows in our at-bats and pitching.”
Lopez indicated that because the team has not been competitive, the practice today will be tougher for the Wildcats as they prepare for this weekend’s Hi Corbett Classic.
“Not looking forward to it, but that’s what has to happen,” said third baseman Cody Ramer. “Baseball’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. It can turn around at any point. We just have to get hot.”
Friday, Arizona will kick off its Hi Corbett Classic play with a game against No. 12 Mississippi State (10-4) at 7 p.m. Last season, the Bulldogs finished second in the nation after losing to UCLA in the finals of the College World Series.
“I look forward to every challenge; I got 56 rivals,” Lopez said. “I’m not a guy who’s used to getting his brains beat out; I’m very lucky in my coaching career. I wish we had a few more days to prepare, but we’ll squeeze out every minute of practice that we can.”
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo