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Aggies pose toughest test yet for Wildcats

By Dan Rosen
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 12, 1999
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Leigh-Anne Brown
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Junior catcher Dennis Anderson (26) gets ready to hit a pitch by the UNLV pitcher on Tuesday at Frank Sancet Field. The Wildcats will face the No. 9 Aggies in a three game series this weekend.

When the Arizona baseball team (11-0) looked at their schedule this fall, the name Texas A&M stood out like a sore thumb amongst their other non-conference opponents.

The Aggies (3-0), who are currently ranked No. 9 in the Baseball America poll, will be in Tucson this weekend for a three game series with the Wildcats beginning today at 3 p.m. at Frank Sancet Field.

After sweeping the likes of St. Mary's of Moraga, Calif., Hawaii-Hilo, New Mexico and most recently the exciting two game series sweep of UNLV, the Wildcats will face their toughest challenge yet this season as they take the field against the Aggies.

Arizona (11-0) vs. No. 9 Texas A&M (3-0)

First Pitch: This afternoon at 3 at Frank Sancet Field
News and Notes: Arizona is riding an 11 game winning streak to start the season with its sixth best start in program history...The Aggies lead the all-time series against the Wildcat 15-13-1 and Arizona is 1-2 under head coach Jerry Stitt...Keoni DeRenne and Texas A&M's Casey Fossum were teammates this summer on the USA Baseball National Team...UA relief pitchers have allowed just nine earned runs and only 34 hits in 47 innings this season.

Probable Starting Lineups


CF Troy Gingrich SS Keoni DeRenne 3B Eric Torres RF Shelley Duncan 1B Ernie Durazo C Dennis Anderson LF Kenny Huff DH Ben Diggins 2B Andy Juday

Texas A&M

SS Steve Scarborugh CF Steven Truitt DH Shawn Schumacher RF Daylon Holt 1B John Scheschuk LF Tommy Clark 3B Cordell Lindsey 2B Sean Heany C Joe O'Jibway

Probable Starting Pitchers

LHP Casey Fossum (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. LHP Tony Milo (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
RHP Chance Caple (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. RHP Josh Pearce (2-0, 3.94 ERA)
LHP Matt Ward (0-0, 7.71 ERA) vs. RHP Ben Diggins (1-0, 6.75 ERA)
"They are one of the best teams in the country and have a legitimate shot at winning the national championship," UA head coach Jerry Stitt said.

Arizona will put junior starting pitcher Tony Milo on the mound to face an Aggie offense that produced 48 runs in a three game sweep of Texas Pan-American last weekend.

The Aggies' offense is led by sophomore outfielder Daylon Holt, a preseason third team All-American who tied a school record with three home runs in a single game last Saturday and finished the day with four in the double-header.

Holt, who hit .429 with four home runs and 14 RBI in the series, was named the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week.

The Aggies also boast junior pitcher Casey Fossum, a first team pre-season All-American by Baseball America and the number one pitcher on Team USA this summer. He will take the mound today against Milo.

"He's a four-pitch pitcher with a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup," UA associate head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "He is a great competitor with a good arm and a great feel for the game."

To match Holt's offense and Fossum's pitching, the Wildcats hope that freshman right fielder Shelley Duncan, who is just four home runs shy of tying the Arizona freshman record of 10, continues on his tear as the hottest hitter on the team. The Wildcats are hoping sophomore shortstop Keoni DeRenne can get out of his two game slump where he only had one hit.

"He (DeRenne) hasn't been 100 percent healthy, but we keep playing him because he is our best player. Even at 80 percent he is one of the top players in the country," Stitt said. "Today he is feeling better and he will be ready for tomorrow."

As for Milo, he is off to one of his best starts, holding opposing hitters to just a .086 batting average and he has gotten the leadoff hitter out in all 10 innings he has pitched this season.

"He has put in a lot of work and right now he is throwing real good strikes," Kinneberg said. "He has good location with his fastball, curveball and changeup, with his most improved pitch being his curveball."

The Wildcats are coming off a thrilling 12-11 win in the bottom of the ninth against UNLV Wednesday, but they understand they have to put that behind them and focus on the Aggies, who play at the level of some of the top teams in the Pacific 10 Conference.

"We are mentally prepared as far as we know because we know their caliber," DeRenne said. "We know for us to beat them three out of three games we can't let them intimidate us and have us back down."

The Wildcats and Aggies will continue the three game series tomorrow and Sunday at 1 p.m.