Kindall sending seniors to mound to start season

By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 24, 1996

When all else fails, look to your seniors.

The Arizona baseball team is full of young pitching talent but three seniors have risen to the top to earn the starting jobs for this weekend's season-opening series with New Mexico at UA's Sancet Field.

Solid pitching should not be a problem for this year's team. The question is the ability of the other eight guys on the field to avoid committing errors.

"Last year we did not give our pitchers good defense," Kindall said. "This year with our improved defense, we're not asking our pitchers to strike everyone out, we just want them to stay ahead in the count and make the hitter swing the bat."

Right-hander Matt Hendren will make his second consecutive opening day start after transferring to the UA last season from Cypress (Calif.) Junior College. Hendren was 1-5 with a 7.05 ERA in 1995.

Right-hander Clay Crossan will make the start on Saturday. Crossan, a junior, was 3-2 with a 5.88 ERA last year.

Sunday's starter is senior left-hander Jason Ford. He was 2-1 with a 5.64 ERA and one save in 1995. This is his second year at Arizona since transferring from North Idaho Junior College.

"Hendren particularly showed us good control," head coach Jerry Kindall said. "Crossan has a much-improved attitude on the mound and Ford has one of our best arms."

Kindall said the starters will be limited to 75-80 pitches and would then give way to a corps of relievers.

"We have enough depth that we don't have to put a lot of pressure on our starters," Kindall said.

Arizona also benefits from the return of pitching coach Jim Wing, who was the UA's pitching coach for 20 years before retiring after the 1992 season.