Baseball: Lopez looking to freshman help
Another mid-week series is on the Arizona baseball (6-5) team’s schedule as the Wildcats host Long Beach State (4-6) in a two-game series tonight and on Wednesday.
Last season, Arizona split the series with Long Beach State. UA lost the first game 5-4 and won the second game 3-1 in Long Beach, Calif.
With so much change in the Wildcats’ lineup this past weekend, head coach Andy Lopez said, following Sunday’s loss to Seton Hall, there isn’t a lineup or a starting pitcher set for tonight’s game.
The only two guaranteed spots are for junior Tyler Parmenter and redshirt sophomore Xavier Borde as first options out of the bullpen in relief.
“I like the way Tyler and Borde are progressing,” Lopez said. “They are without a doubt [the first options] out of the pen.”
Young players have been getting their opportunity to get on the field, and Lopez said that’s the way they will find out who belongs in what position.
“There’s a chance we will give Michael Hoard another opportunity. He deserves it,” Lopez said.
Hoard, a freshman infielder, played first base on Sunday. Junior second baseman Trent Gilbert started at his position but was moved to the bench to give some more freshmen the opportunity.
Lopez said Gilbert will probably be the designated hitter for Tuesday and more freshmen will get a chance.
Arizona’s offense had a rough weekend, which Lopez believes needs to be addressed.
“Hopefully, the next few games, they start swinging the bats,” Lopez said. “It’s what we need to find out who exactly can do it in a game setting versus a practice or intrasquad.”
Sophomore outfielder Scott Kingery was the leadoff batter during Sunday’s game, and Lopez said Kingery did the right job at that spot and will probably stay there for Tuesday’s game.
Kingery said he had no problem adjusting to his new role in the lineup.
“I just knew that I needed to get on base and try to get myself in a scoring position to try to get this offense going, because we’ve been struggling a little bit,” Kingery said. “I just knew if I can get a little spark going, we might be able to get some runs up on the board.”
Last year, Kingery was a factor for Arizona during the final game of the series against Long Beach State when he drew a leadoff walk and later scored to give Arizona the lead.
Long Beach State is coming off of a 7-0 win against Wichita State before facing Arizona. The Dirtbags’ biggest game so far was on Feb. 21 when they swept ASU 11-0 at Long Beach, Calif. The Dirtbags’ road game record is 1-3.
The first pitch for Tuesdays game is scheduled for 6 p.m.
—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal