Coach Andy Lopez and the Arizona Wildcats baseball team just completed their first sweep of a Pac-12 road series in three years and yet they’re in the same spot in the standings as when the weekend started. The Cats have to be wondering, What’s a team gotta do to gain some ground around here?
Sweeps were par for the course in the Pac-12 this week. We highlighted four contenders and not one of them lost a single game. Yes, Oregon still has one more game to play against USC but unless Matt Barkley suits up for the Trojans I wouldn’t expect them to score enough against the Ducks today.
For Arizona, even though everybody’s doing it, winning three league games is very impressive. Remember the guy who said the Cats needed a big offensive weekend to get the job done? What he meant to say was Kurt Heyer, Konner Wade and Tyler Crawford would dominate the Bears.
The last time the UA got back-to-back complete games was, well, the last road series. But unlike against Washington, Arizona got the bullpen help it needed to complete the sweep.
Crawford probably won’t be available for Wednesday’s ASU game and that’s a good thing. He’s become too valuable as a weekend reliever to waste in a non-conference game. In fact, with two consecutive appearances throwing at least four shutout innings, the freshman lefty may have become the go-to guy in the UA bullpen. Stephen Manthei and Mathew Troupe didn’t see any action in Berkeley.
At the plate the UA didn’t show a ton of offense but the Cats did hit three home runs in the series, taking advantage of the left field fence at Evans Diamond being 46 feet closer to home plate than at Hi Corbett Field. When the Wildcat batters go on the road they must feel like they’re playing on a Little League field.
Arizona’s final non-conference game starts at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Tempe. The race for the Pac-12 championship will begin again Friday against USC in Los Angeles.
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