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Lopez sets up rotation for Arizona staff

Citizen Staff Writer



The tryout period for the University of Arizona pitching staff is over, and judging by an 8-5 loss to No. 12 Oklahoma State on Wednesday, the Wildcats could use more time.

“The tryout period is always a challenge,” UA coach Andy Lopez said after the club’s seventh home loss of the season. “We will be going to the next step.”

Arizona knows veteran Preston Guilmet and newcomers Matt Veltmann and Bryce Bandilla will be in the starting rotation when the Wildcats (8-7) open a three-game set against Michigan on Friday.

The pitchers were told after being swept by Oklahoma State (11-2) what their roles would be from now on.

They get a week to become accustomed to their positions before traveling to No. 5 Arizona State on March 20 to begin Pacific-10 Conference play.

“Give everybody a handshake and pat on the back. We’re going to get settled in and go,” Lopez said.

Bandilla looked like a bona fide starter through four innings, limiting Oklahoma State to three hits. But he’s had problems in the middle innings, including Wednesday. The Cowboys took advantage of a hit batter, a single, walk and a double to overcome a 3-0 deficit.

UA’s relievers didn’t help Bandilla. Daniel Workman gave up a three-run double to Tom Belza for a 4-3 Cowboys lead.

Matt Chaffee was taken out after facing only three batters in the sixth. Cody Lewis gave up a three-run double to Kevin David. Joe Allison allowed one walk and one hit in two-thirds of an inning.

Bandilla said Lopez is up-front with his staff about what they have to do.

“It’s either you pitch well and you get your chances, or you don’t pitch well and you won’t get your chances,” Bandilla said.

The Wildcats are solid in the late innings with their relief staff.

Cory Burns has been the most consistent player on the team, appearing in 12 of the 15 games. School record closer Jason Stoffel takes care of the final frames.

Lopez declared Ryan Doyle and Kyle Simon as the primary long relievers.

Donn Roach, a four-time starter this season, is not with the team for undisclosed reasons.

• Box score, Page 5C


Michigan (10-2) at UA (8-7)

Friday: 7 p.m.

Saturday: 4 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m.

• The games, at Sancet Stadium, are a rematch of the 2008 NCAA Ann Arbor Regional, won by UA.

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