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Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Last updated: 1:47am

Baseball: Gilbert's cleaning up a mess



Despite a bumpy season for Arizona Baseball junior second baseman Trent Gilbert continues to stay optimistic.

Being a junior on a young team has its ups and downs according to Gilbert.

Head coach Andy Lopez said he depends on his juniors and seniors to help guide a young team like this Arizona one through the trails and tribulations that a long season can bring.

Gilbert, the starting second baseman on the Wildcats’ 2012 NCAA World Series Championship team, has taken over the reins as that guy who can lead this team through the turbulence.

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By Carlos Herrera / The Daily Wildcat
Infielder Trent Gilbert, the third-year starting second basemen, has stepped in as the Wildcats' offensive leader and has embraced his clean-up role with the team's highest batting average.

“[Gilbert] is an older guy and he’s showing very good leadership skills,” Lopez said. “He’s been a good example for the rest of the guys. He’s always doing something well for the young guys to see.”

Going into his junior season he wanted to improve on his offensive command from last season.

“I made a lot of changes to my game,” Gilbert said. “Especially with my hitting,”

Leading Arizona in almost every offensive category such as the batting averages, runs batted in, doubles and triples among others is an accomplishment especially on this Wildcats’ team that is impressive and one Gilbert is proud of.

“I know we have a good offensive team so I consider it an accomplishment because I know we have a lot of guys who can hit and are great offensively,” Gilbert said.

Earlier this season Arizona was struggling hard on offense and looking for a guy to step up to be the clean up hitter in batting order.

So while having a conversation with assistant coach Matt Siegel, Gilbert said the topic of Gilbert being “that guy” was brought up.

“I just thought I could be that guy,” Gilbert said.

On Mar. 7 Gilbert became “that guy” as Arizona faced Mississippi State and defeated MSU to snap a five-game losing streak.

That night Gilbert went five for five at the plate. The following night Gilbert hit his first career home run and today he is ranked in the top five for batting averages in the Pac-12 with a batting average of .392.

“The biggest thing I’ve seen from him is he has done a really good job accepting the role of the number four spot,” Lopez said.

Gilbert stays humble but it’s not difficult for people in the stands to notice Gilbert’s talent.

“[Gilbert] is definitely a good player,” former Arizona baseball player Colt Sedbrook said while visiting the team on Friday. “You can tell right away he knows what he’s doing.”

Success on the field is important for Gilbert but he said there’s something else. His education.

Being a student at the Eller College of Management and playing baseball takes up almost all of Gilbert’s time. He said the only way he’s been able to succeed with both is by setting his priorities straight.

“I have to cut back on other things like being with my friends and a little less relaxing,” Gilbert said.
With all the success comes a strong support system for Gilbert. Although his family is in Torrance Calif., Gilbert said they make sure he knows they are supporting him.

“My family has always been very supportive with baseball,” Gilbert said. “I can even count on my roommate [Tyler] Parmenter for support.”

While Arizona has not won a conference series yet Gilbert believes an entire baseball season is a bumpy ride and the Wildcats still have time to go from down to up.

“We just have to keep pushing and stay positive,” Gilbert said. “One game at a time.”

—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal


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