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Cats finish sweep of Michigan

Citizen Staff Writer



Arizona’s tandem of Dillon Baird and Matt Presley pounded the Michigan pitching staff for a 14-0 victory and a series sweep Sunday.

Last week, the pair was involved in a bench-clearing brawl against Massachusetts.

They served their three-game NCAA mandatory suspensions for fighting, then came out swinging against the Wolverines (10-5).

“When those guys are not in the lineup, we are even younger,” said UA coach Andy Lopez. “It leaves us fewer options. They have a presence about them. Those two guys have to show up for us.”

The Wildcats (11-7) will need them the next time out with the start of the Pac-10 season coming at Arizona State on Friday.

The duo got things done against Michigan, going 4 for 5 with a double, triple and four runs scored in Sunday’s finale.

Presley, a left fielder, went 3 for 4 with a RBI, and threw out a Michigan runner at the plate in the second inning.

They both returned in Saturday’s 9-7 victory over Michigan, along with Diallo Fon, who was also involved in the brawl with UMass after Baird, UA’s first baseman, got tangled up with the UMass first baseman on a pickoff throw.

The benches cleared after some pushing and shoving.

“We had to do what we had to do,” Presley said. “It is something we didn’t want, but it happened. Something like that can bring a locker room together. It gets us pumped up about stuff. You see teammates backing each other up.”

Without the pair in the lineup, the Wildcats were swept in a two-game series with Oklahoma State, and the UA offense struggled despite a 2-0 victory over Michigan on Friday.

Baird has improved his average to .405, while Presley is at .364.

“They are a big part of what we need to do,” Lopez said.

Bryce Bandilla (2-1) earned the win Sunday, tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings and allowing five hits.

Lopez said team camaraderie has improved since last week’s altercation.

“As crazy as it sounds, and I am embarrassed to say it, but this is a testosterone sport,” Lopez said. “This is a young team. You would rather they get their bonding in with a picnic.

“That would be my preference. I certainly don’t condone fighting, but there is a goofy bonding thing that does take place.”

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