Wildcats baseball pitching for big win

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Kyle Mittan and Kyle Mittan | The Daily Wildcat Kyle Mittan / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona baseball won 4-3 on Saturday night against Alabama State. After falling 3-1 in the top of the eighth inning, the Wildcats scored two runs in the bottom and one more in a single extra inning.

Baseball is a much more defensive sport now than it was just a decade ago. Instead of relying on home run hitters to support mediocre pitching, current major league teams have come to depend on a strong ace, a consistent rotation and the offensive ability to provide the pitcher with run support.

In 2003, New York’s Alex Rodriguez won the AL MVP award with 47 homeruns; in contrast, Detroit’s Justin Verlander was awarded AL MVP honors in 2011, after winning the American League pitching triple crown, leading the league in wins (24), strikeouts (250) and ERA (2.40).

Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez has always preached that the key to winning is being the team that pitches the best.

Of the six Wildcats drafted in the 2013 First Year Players Draft, four were pitchers. Arizona lost Konner Wade and two parts of the bullpen in Augey Bill and Nick Cunningham, but the Wildcats’ rotation still possesses the depth necessary to be dominant this year.

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Arizona’s pitching depth includes returning starters James Farris and Tyler Crawford and relievers Mathew Troupe, Cody Moffett, Tyger Talley and Nathan Bannister.

Farris, the rotation’s ace, turned down the Houston Astros’ money to come back to Arizona for his senior year. The Astros picked Farris in the 15th round and 437th overall.

Troupe, a junior closer, said that he’s impressed with what he has seen so far and is expecting a strong year.

“I really like what we have, [but] it’s really hard to tell this early,” Troupe said. “We have a good group of older guys coming back, and from what I see in the bullpens, I think we’ve got a lot of good young guys that will really surprise some people and jump right up there in the rotation.”

Junior outfielder Joseph Maggi is expected to be a key offensive and defensive contributor this season and said he anticipates great things from this year’s rotation.

“I’m expecting them to really attack the zone to get first pitch strikes,” Maggi said. “I know last year, some of the guys didn’t exactly have the type of year of production they wanted to, so I’m [happy to] see a lot of guys who are hungry. We also welcome a lot of freshman arms who are over there trying to earn their spots. I just want to see them working hard to put a name to this program.”

— Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17


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Updated December 8, 2021