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Cats’ first baseman, hitting .447, among the bright spots

Citizen Staff Writer



Dillon Baird admits he left the box too many times last season knowing he could have had a better at-bat.

The University of Arizona first baseman swore he wouldn’t feel that way too often in 2009.

He hasn’t.

“I am pretty confident out there,” Baird said. “I am telling myself that this pitcher is not going to beat me.”

Few pitchers have bested the junior this season. He has been on top of his game.

Arizona needs more players to step up to the plate like Baird to make something positive out of the season, starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday when the Wildcats host New Mexico for a two-game nonconference series at Sancet Stadium.

“He is (one of) our best players overall,” UA coach Andy Lopez said. “It is kind of funny when juniors have the lights turn on. He has done a good job.”

Baird had one hit in Arizona’s 8-3 loss to Oregon State on Saturday.

That output is a disappointment for a player who is hitting .447 on the season.

That’s not bad, considering he hit .225 in Pac-10 games in 2008 while batting .318 overall.

“I said at the beginning of the year I was going to take a better stance at the plate . . . and keep the approach and hope that works out,” Baird said. “So far it has been all right.”

Baird has been a huge positive for the struggling Wildcats. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound left-handed batter has four homers, eight doubles and 31 RBIs.

Baird is hitting more than .500 over the past 14 games, since being suspended for three games following a bench-clearing brawl against Massachusetts.

He has been taking his hacks ever since.

“Last year he came in and started to think too much and was overthinking everything,” Lopez said. ” . . . It clouded his thoughts and you have to keep the game very simple.”

Baird is making it look easy.

UA BASEBALL: New Mexico (28-8) at Arizona (14-16), 7 p.m. Tuesday at Sancet Stadium

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