Arizona suffers rough weekend in San Diego
The Arizona baseball team (14-4) is happy to be back in Tucson following their trip to San Diego in which they lost three of four games in the San Diego Baseball Classic.
The Wildcats started the weekend tournament in southern California by getting blown out by Loyola Marymount, 15-3. They were shutout for the first eight innings and junior Mike Crawford picked up his first loss of the season by giving up six runs in five and two thirds innings.
"We didn't play well the first day," UA head coach Jerry Stitt said. "It was a debacle. That is the only word I could describe it with. We didn't do anything well."
After the loss to the Lions, they rebounded with a win against the San Diego 10-4, sparked by sophomore Keoni DeRenne's first grand slam of his career.
The Wildcats then failed to build on the win as they dropped the last two games of the weekend to San Diego State 12-9 and Oklahoma State 7-4.
Against San Diego State they held an 8-5 lead going into the top of the ninth, but the UA bullpen couldn't hold the lead as they gave up three runs in the top of the ninth which sent the game to extra innings and then four more in the top of the tenth en route to the 12-9 loss.
Freshman relief pitcher Shelley Duncan picked up his first loss of the season as he gave up four runs on four hits in one and a third innings of work.
"What's past is past. We can't do anything but learn from it," Stitt said of the weekend. "We definitely got worse on Thursday. We took at least took two or three steps backwards. We took a step forward on Friday, two steps forward and one step backward Saturday and one forward on Sunday. So, I guess we are about even with where we started from."
Freshman pitcher and designated hitter Ben Diggins has been in a slump for most of the season, but if Friday's game was any indication, he might be finding his way out of his funk.
Diggins picked up his second win of the season as he limited the San Diego Toreros to one hit and no runs in three and two thirds innings of relief before the game was called due to darkness.
"He threw some great innings of dominating baseball. He pounded the ball in there with a good curveball," Stitt said. "I think he got over his hump pitching wise. He just came in and went right after them and challenged them. He basically said here is my best and if you can hit it, then good for you."
Arizona's starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter, junior Troy Gingrich, was sliding into second base like he has done so often this season. Unlike the rest of his slides, this time he stood up with his left hand in pain. After further review and x-rays, it was determined that he broke a bone in the hand and should be sidelined for five to six weeks.
"It is tough because he is our spark plug," Stitt said.
Junior outfielder Rafell Jones will now take on the centerfield duties until Gingrich can return, which will most likely be the series against Stanford March 26-28 or Washington April 1-3.