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Time for veterans to step up as Cats head to UCLA

Citizen Staff Writer



The Arizona baseball team left for a trip to UCLA with the intent that every game and every inning has to mean something.

“We have to take everything we do serious,” catcher Dwight Childs said. “We have to make sure we are all together and don’t lose like this again.”

The Wildcats are feeling some frustration after being swept by Arizona State last week. Arizona (11-10) starts a three-game set at UCLA at 6 p.m. Friday.

Arizona has a young ballclub, but the veterans have to step up.

“That is a valid statement,” UA coach Andy Lopez said. “It seems like we are thinking we are inheriting a 40-win season and everything is going to be fine. We have to take things, not just inning by inning, but pitch by pitch.”

Wildcat career saves record holder Jason Stoffel has been at his best with the game on the line, but has been vulnerable in other situations.

Stoffel, with 23 career saves, has a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings of work during his five saves. He has allowed one run, five hits and struck out 20 with three walks.

In the junior’s other 14 innings he has given up 10 runs, allowed 15 hits, walked five and struck out 13.

Fellow veteran and senior third baseman Brad Glenn is hitting only .240 after going 1 for 11 against Arizona State.

“We are young, but we can’t ask freshmen to be your guys,” Lopez said. “We have to have the guys who have been there before be the guys that are productive, on and off the field.”

Getting hot

Arizona first baseman Dillon Baird has come off a three-game suspension for his part in a bench-clearing brawl with Massachusetts by hitting lights out at the plate.

The junior has 11 hits in 19 at-bats, with six doubles, one triple, a homer, eight runs scored and a 1.158 slugging percentage.

“I would rather play bad and win,” Baird said of his hitting streak and a three-game losing streak to ASU.

Baird leads the team this season with a .423 average.

On the mark

Senior pitcher Preston Guilmet (2-2, 3.58 ERA), after a rough start, has performed better of late. The Wildcat is No. 3 in school history with 357 strikeouts.

Guilmet is 65 away from Carl Thomas’ school record.

Catching on

Arizona’s backstop combination of Childs and Daniel Butler are teaming up for a .322 batting average, with 17 runs scored, 19 RBIs, four homers and four doubles this year.

The two, credited more for their defensive ability, have added extra punch. Butler is hitting .333, while Childs is at .308.

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