Three takeaways from Wednesday's baseball press conference

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Arizona catcher Daniel Susac waits for a pitch in the Arizona baseball team's home opener against Grand Canyon University on Feb. 2 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats would only score 3 runs to GCU's 19. 

The Arizona baseball team is off to a hot start at 8-1 under new head coach Chip Hale as they prepare for this weekends’ home series against an 8-1 Texas State University. 

Hale, along with infielder Nik McClaughry spoke to the media on Wednesday, March 2, at Hi Corbett Field. 

1. Cutting down the Strikeouts

When asked about the teams’ strikeouts at the plate, Hale talked about his team improving their eye at the plate.

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 “The team will be doing a lot of two-strike work in the cage hitting off of some tough machines again, and a lot of times it’s just about not recognizing strikes. … It’d be one thing if we were swinging through balls in the zone but we’re swinging at a lot of pitches that aren’t, so our guys are learning. … They have to understand they’re just gonna strike out a couple of times,” Hale said. 

2. McClaughry’s Improvement 

Hale and McClaughry both spoke about McClaughry’s surprising success at the plate. At Sacramento City Junior College, McClaughry hit only .260 but his average improved to .316 in his first season with the Wildcats and he hasn’t seemed to slow down. Hale said that part of it was due to McClaughry’s hard work always being in the cages. McClaughry said he is always changing up his swing looking to improve. 

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3. Addressing the GCU Loss

McClaughry brought up their blowout loss to Grand Canyon University.

“I feel like we’re all playing well together as a team. I think that GCU game was a tough game, but I think we learned a lot from it. I think a lot of the younger guys realized that college baseball can be tough and you’re not always gonna have your best game, so I think yesterday was good too because we didn’t have our best game but we found a way to win," McClaughry said. 

When asked if it’s good to get punched in the face every once in a while, McClaughry said, “you gotta come back and punch em’ again.” This was in response to a comparison of the GCU blowout to last years’ Washington State University loss that was thought of as a turning point in the Wildcats season. 

Arizona will be working this week to reduce strikeouts at the plate with some two-out drills as they get ready for their series against Texas State and their strong pitching core. The team plays Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson. 


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