Arizona baseball aims for recovery weekend against California

s42415baseballtannerclinchrgb
Tanner Clinch | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona baseball pitcher Tyger Talley (19) pitches during Arizona's 10-9 loss to USC at Hi Corbett Field on April 4. Talley and the Wildcats will face California in a crucial three-game home series this weekend.

After a rough pitching outing that resulted in a 6-5 loss to No. 12 ASU Wednesday night, Arizona baseball turns around to host No. 16 California this weekend.

Arizona (24-14, 9-9 Pac-12 Conference) struggled on the mound against the Sun Devils, dropping an early 4-0 lead in a six-pitcher night. Arizona coach Andy Lopez said only three of those six — starter Nathan Bannister, first reliever Robby Medel and closer Tyger Talley — played up to standard.

“It’s bad coaching,” Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez said. “It hasn’t been clean and it’s my fault.”

Lopez made a big defensive switch two weeks ago, changing utility player Bobby Dalbec to his Sunday starter and making Talley the closer. It’s proven effective for Arizona’s weekend starting rotation, but the UA’s offense has slowed down, and the Wildcats are just 2-5 in their last seven games.

MORE FROM THE DAILY WILDCAT

Talley tried to make up for a two-run deficit Wednesday, throwing a hitless 2.2 innings and striking out five, but it just wasn’t enough to propel Arizona.

“We have to be better at holding [the other team] off and letting our offense get into a rhythm,” Talley said. “I think those middle innings are our Kryptonite right now, and once we clean those up, we can start to put more wins in our win column.”

Cal (23-14, 10-8), on the other hand, boasts some of the best pitching in the Pac-12. They’re young, too. Two of the Golden Bears’ starters are sophomore Daulton Jeffries and freshman Matt Ladrech, who combine for a 2.01 ERA this season. 

Jeffries (4-2) has 42 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings pitched and threw a shutout en route to an upset at then-No. 3 UCLA on April 16.

Cal’s team ERA is 2.94, second in the conference, while Arizona lingers in ninth place at 4.07.

On the opposite side of the plate, Arizona has dropped in its overall batting performance, but still holds on to the top spot in the category in the Pac-12. 

Scott Kingery, who led the nation in batting before last week, went one-for-five at the plate Wednesday. He was 1-for-12 in last weekend’s series at Oregon State.

“This [hitting slump] is just part of the game,” said designated hitter Tyler Krause, who went two-for-three and scored two of Arizona’s four runs against ASU, after Wednesday’s loss. “We just need to keep being aggressive at the plate.”

Kevin Newman continues to be one of Arizona’s more aggressive batters. Newman went two-for-four Wednesday to record his 19th multi-hit game of the season. He also stole a base on the Sun Devils, making him 15-18 in steal attempts on the year.

The Wildcats will start Cody Hamlin on the mound Friday night. Bannister, who had a limited pitch count in his start Wednesday, will make his third career start on Saturday, and Dalbec will round out the series on Sunday.

First pitch at Hi Corbett Field is set at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday.

_______________

Follow Nicole Cousins on Twitter.


Share this article