Arizona baseball is trying not to sleep on Utah
After losing nine of its last 10 games, Arizona baseball will travel to Salt Lake City to face a Pac-12 team that has yet to earn a conference win in nine tries.
On Friday, the Wildcats (12-18, 2-7 Pac-12) will begin a three-contest series versus Utah (9-17, 0-9). The first pitch of all three games will be thrown at 11 a.m. at Smith’s Ballpark.
The Utes find themselves at the very bottom of the Pac-12 standings. All three conference opponents so far for Utah, No. 7 Oregon State (22-6, 6-3), No. 9 Oregon (20-8, 6-3) and California (14-12, 3-3), broke out the brooms against it.
Still, UA head coach Andy Lopez said he won’t be thinking about that.
Arizona will try to get back on track behind its ace, senior James Farris, Friday at Utah.
“I don’t really know anything about Utah,” Lopez said after Sunday’s 11-0 loss to Oregon State. “If you told me Utah was 44-0, you’d give me information.”
Friday’s pitching matchup will feature a couple of right-handers.
James Farris (4-2) will toe the rubber for Arizona, looking to get back on track after a couple of shaky starts. Utah will hand the ball to its ace, Mitch Watrous (1-4), who is the only hurler on the team to have started every game he’s appeared in (seven).
Last season the Wildcats swept the Utes at Hi Corbett Field right at the end of March and outscored it 21-8. That weekend, two of the games were decided by one run, but in the Friday affair Arizona won convincingly in a 15-4 blowout.
Even though in two of the games last weekend the UA was held to two runs or less, it still has a high team batting average of .303.
Junior second baseman Trent Gilbert has started all of Arizona’s 30 games and leads the team in average (.392), hits (47), doubles (12), triples (seven), total bases (79) and slugging percentage (.658). With 28 runs batted in, Gilbert is tied for first on the squad with his double play partner, Kevin Newman.
Newman said he isn’t looking over the Utes either.
“All the teams in the Pac-12 are pretty good,” Newman said. “Hopefully we’ll be ready for Utah and win that series, but we’re not sleeping on anyone right now.”
—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo