Struggling Arizona baseball faces rival ASU
Arizona baseball team brings a six-game losing streak into Tempe, Ariz., as it takes on ASU for the first of the five Territorial Cup Series games on Wednesday.
The first pitch of the game is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Packard Stadium and will be on the Pac-12 Networks.
Arizona (11-15, 1-5 Pac-12 Conference) began its Pac-12 play on March 14 against Washington State and lost the series. Grand Canyon visited Tucson on March 18 and beat the Wildcats.
Washington then swept the UA in a three-game series in Seattle.
Sophomore third baseman Cody Ramer said the Wildcats put aside the losses and regained their confidence.
Arizona sophomore infielder Cody Ramer (13) said he thinks the Wildcats can end their six-game losing skid if they play as they did against Mississippi State.
“We need to come together as a whole like we did when we played Mississippi State,” Ramer said. “That’s how we know we can compete with anyone in the nation.”
Arizona beat then-No. 10 Mississippi 12-3 on March 7 after getting swept a three-game series against Seton Hall and a two-game series against Long Beach State.
Ramer said the Wildcats can get back on track by executing like they did against MSU.
The UA currently has six players with a batting average above .300. The difficulties begin when there are runners on scoring positions.
“When we have runners on second, we have to stop striking out,” freshman first baseman Bobby Dalbec said. “As a team, we’re too selective at the plate.”
The team uses its batting practices to work on ways to be able to score when runners are in scoring positions. Ramer said they have been practicing two-out situations with runners on second and third.
“Ever since the loss against Washington State, we’ve been trying to pull something together,” Ramer said. “We know we have to get real hot real soon, because even if it’s early, we’re still in the Pac play.”
Working on the offense and trying to get his players to execute is not the only thing head coach Andy Lopez does. On a daily basis, Lopez reminds his team about the importance of these games.
“[Lopez] tells us it’s the Pac and every team is good, and we can’t afford to be losing series or even getting swept,” Ramer said. “[Lopez] says we need to come out and compete and win these games.”
ASU will be back in action after winning its series against Oregon State during the past weekend.
The Sun Devils lost the first game of the series but were able to bounce back in the second game going into an extra inning and closing the series with a 7-3 win.
The Wildcats’ matchup with the Sun Devils will be a nonconference game. Arizona’s Pac-12 series against ASU will be at home in April.
Like Arizona, ASU (12-10, 3-3) lost a series against Washington. Due to the rivalry between the two Pac-12 Arizona teams, the Wildcats plan to enhance the intensity that they’ve been missing from now on.
“We get fired up before every game, but from what I hear, it’s always different when we face Arizona State,” Dalbec said. “We go into every game knowing we can win, and sometimes we get down and stay down. We need to work on our intensity and pick it up for when we face Arizona State.”
—Follow Rpse Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal