Baseball notes: It's been a tough season for the Wildcats
Arizona baseball this season hasn’t lived up to the program’s standards and expectations. The team hasn’t had much to cheer for, as it ranks 10th in the conference with a 12-18 overall record and a 2-7 Pac-12 record.
“[This year] has been up and down, and we’re just trying to do our best and stay positive,” junior second baseman Trent Gilbert said. “We try out best during the game to stay there, but it’s been frustrating at times.”
Despite this year’s lack of production and hopes of a postseason rapidly dwindling, head coach Andy Lopez is on a mission to instill positive encouragement throughout the program.
“I’ve been doing this for 37 years,” Lopez said. “I don’t think I’ve gone on a run like this, but you know, it happens in life, something always sneaks up on you.”
Junior pitcher Tyler Parmenter (24) and Junior catcher Riley Smith (6) walk to the mount toward the end of Arizona's 11-0 loss to Oregon State on Sunday at Hi Corbett Field.
Lopez said that he’s doing his best to keep the team on track and jump-start momentum. Following Arizona’s 11-0 loss to Oregon State on Sunday — the UA’s ninth loss in 10 games — Lopez met with his team in the clubhouse in an attempt to set a positive tone as the squad prepares for next weekend’s road series at Utah. The Utes comprise the only team in the Pac-12 with a worse record than the Wildcats.
“I just read something to them about mental toughness,” Lopez said. “[I told them] how important it is to be mentally tough and how there are 3,000 fears out there, and, yet, you’re only born with two innate ones. Everything else develops and grows. It takes toughness to say, ‘No, it’s not going to develop on me, and I’m going to get through this.’”
He said that he also told his team to put the season in perspective of real life, count their blessings and step up to the challenge.
“I don’t see cancer in there or heart attacks or death or losing jobs,” Lopez said. “If [losing nine of the last 10 games] is the worst thing that happens to you in your life, then sign that contract really quick. Hurry, up; sign it in blood.”
On Sunday, sophomore pitcher Cody Moffett and freshman infielder/pitcher Bobby Dalbec were removed due to potential injuries. Moffet was removed in the fifth while Dalbec was taken out in the ninth inning.
Moffett threw 4.1 innings on Sunday before being taken out after complaining about pain in his elbow.
“It just wore down on me, and I started to experience some fatigue,” Moffett said. “I felt fine up to that point, but I just ran out of gas and hit a wall. I haven’t gone that long in a while.”
Dalbec has been a key offensive component for Arizona and is one of five UA starters with a batting average above .300. He has accounted for half of the Wildcats home runs (2) and possesses a team-leading 1.29 ERA over 11 appearances in relief.
“We have a couple of things that we are a little concerned about,” Lopez said. “Dalbec said he felt something in his shoulder, and Moffett said he felt something in his elbow. Hopefully it’s nothing, but we’ll see what happens. We’ll get them checked out here either today or tomorrow.”
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17