After a 17-6 win over rival ASU earlier in the week, Arizona baseball hits the road for a three-game series in Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State.
The Cougars (24-19, 7-11 Pac-12 Conference) are coming off a shutout win over Washington and are two conference wins behind Arizona (25-17, 9-12 Pac-12).
The Cougars are in last place in the Pac-12 offensively, hitting .241 as a team. Although Arizona was in a bit of a slump, the Wildcats continue to lead the conference as a team, hitting .311.
“It doesn’t take a genius to notice we disappeared for three weeks offensively, and it’s good to come back,” Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez said.
Surpassing last year’s total wins by three games already, Arizona has three conference series and two two-game series left on the season.
“It’d be nice to play one month of really good baseball like we did earlier in the year,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the coaches told the players they looked tentative and to get the ball out of the air last weekend.
With that being said, the Wildcats go into this series having outhit the Sun Devils 20-13 on Tuesday night.
“They look good,” Lopez said. “The guys look really good at the plate, so hopefully we are out of the three week little bit of a slump we were in, and we’re ready to get back on track.”
Scott Kingery, Kevin Newman and Bobby Dalbec continue to lead Arizona’s offense.
Kingery will go into the series as the only Arizona player hitting above .400, with a batting average of .440.
As for Newman and Dalbec, they’re still sitting pretty with .379 and .343 batting averages, respectively.
Some key offensive players Arizona needs to look out for while facing WSU are Ian Sagdal, who is batting .321 with 27 RBIs and five homers on the season, and Cameron Frost, who has recorded 24 RBIs.
Arizona opened its conference play last season against the Cougars and dropped the series 2-1. The Wildcats dominated the first game 12-1 and kept the last two games close but lost 6-5 and 3-2.
Friday starter Cody Hamlin is familiar with the Cougars after pitching the second game of the series last year. Hamlin allowed 10 hits with three earned runs during 7.1 innings of action.
Even Sunday starter Dalbec got some action on the mound during that game as a reliever. Dalbec pitched one inning and took the loss after allowing two hits and two runs.
While Arizona’s pitching suffered the last time the two schools met, Lopez said it is now where it should be and that he thinks they will be fine. The pitching rotation for Arizona will remain the same with Hamlin on Friday, Nathan Bannister on Saturday and Dalbec on Sunday.
The first pitch of the series is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, and none of the games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
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