Arizona baseball preparing for tough challenge against No. 4 Oregon State this weekend
Oregon State comes to Tucson this weekend to face Arizona baseball, as the Wildcats prepare for the biggest series of their season. Arizona’s season hasn’t exactly panned out the way it hoped. But that can all change this week, as the No. 4 ranked team in the country pays a visit to the desert.
For Arizona to win, it’ll have to get it done on both sides of the plate. Oregon State has one of the best pitching rotations in the entire country. The Beavers return 10 pitchers from their team last season. Luke Heimlich is the Beaver’s ace and reigning Pac-12 pitcher of the year, and had a 0.76 ERA last year.
Out of the bullpen, lefty Jake Mulholland is one of the best relievers in the country. He was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Watch List during the preseason.
Despite being the No. 1 team in the country just a couple weeks ago, the Beavers have lost three out of their last six games and are now fourth in the country.
When Arizona baseball head coach Jay Johnson was asked about OSU, he emphasized Oregon State’s lineup and pitching rotation.
“They’re really complete with players that know how to compete and players who know how to win… it’s a very complete team and they’ve just played well over a long period of time,” Johnson said.
Last year, Arizona traveled to Corvallis, Oregon and got swept by the Beavers. Both teams were ranked in the top 10 at the time and the first two games of the series were classics. Arizona had chances to win both those games but mental errors proved to be costly in the end and the ‘cats ended up getting swept.
Sophomore Cameron Cannon was on that team last year, and when asked about whether the team thinks about last year’s series he had a simple reply:
So far this year, Arizona is 14-1 at home and has really been starting to heat up. In the last four games the Wildcat's bats have been coming alive, and they’ve put up at least nine runs in those games. Cannon also talked about what might be contributing to the success at home,
“I think we’re all used to the field and how big it plays and we try to stick to our own offensive rules,” he said.
For Arizona to win any of the games they’re going to have to have a complete team effort. The Beavers don’t give up a lot of runs and they are very capable of scoring when on offense. The ‘Cats will have to minimize any mental mistakes and they won’t win a game giving up error after error. Johnson had one more thing to say for the baseball fans in Tucson.
“We’ve played very well at home over the last three years and we have a team playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Johnson said. “If you love college baseball, if you love competition this is the place to be this weekend.”
The Beavers and Wildcats will play a three game series starting Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m. with a post-game fireworks show. Game two will be Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. and game three will be a matinee game on Sunday, April 8 at noon.
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