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After pitchers’ lost weekend, Lopez tells them not to panic

Citizen Staff Writer



The University of Arizona baseball pitchers pitchers gathered around coach Andy Lopez for almost 30 minutes after Sunday’s game, with the scoreboard behind them saying plenty: Georgia 10, Arizona 5.

The No. 12-ranked Bulldogs (8-0) did a number on the Wildcats (4-4), outscoring Arizona 33-15 during a three-game sweep at Sancet Stadium.

Last year’s team had veteran pitchers who helped UA come within one win of reaching the College World Series.

This year’s staff is going to take its lumps early, and Lopez knew that going into the season. So he told his pitchers to relax.

“I told them to sit back,” Lopez said. “There are 56 games left. It is not a sprint to the finish. It’s not like you go, ‘Oh boy, we had a tough weekend.’ I told them, ‘Don’t panic, please.’ ”

The starting pitching could have been better. The Bulldogs scored a combined 15 runs in the first three innings during the three games.

Georgia also hit some pretty good pitches, namely against Sunday starter Donn Roach.

“I don’t think (he) threw that poorly,” Lopez said. “I saw three hits off shoetops, two split-finger (pitches) for doubles.

“I don’t know if I have seen that in about 10 years. They were down in the (strike) zone.”

Georgia hit everything when it counted. Leadoff man Johnathan Turner went 6 for 13 at the plate, while Matt Cerione was 7 for 10.

“They just beat us,” UA catcher Daniel Butler said.

UA’s Preston Guilmet – one of the team’s few experienced pitchers – allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 1/2 innings during an 11-5 loss on Friday.

Matt Veltmann, struggling with a bulging disc in his back, allowed seven runs and 10 hits in three innings in a 12-5 defeat on Saturday. On Sunday, Roach gave up seven runs and seven hits in two innings.

There was some good news. UA’s Bryce Bandilla had a rocky outing Sunday by giving up a pair of runs in relief, but then went the next two innings without allowing a score.

“It’s a long season. We’ll stick with it,” Bandilla said. “This is just a bump in the road. We have a lot more chances to get better and show what we can do.”

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