It is hard to find where Arizona has struggled on paper alone. Like last season, the Wildcats have the best offense in the Pac-12. Their pitching is comparable to last season as well. Last year pitchers ended with a 3.7 ERA and held batters to an average of .257, and this year they have a 4.52 ERA and have held batters to an average of .267.
The difference comes in the fact the Pac-12 is better this year and the Wildcats are not (I wouldn’t be surprised if four Pac-12 teams make the College World Series this year, as opposed to two last year). Arizona’s offense might be the best in the conference, but whereas this year it is a close call, last season it was not–last season there was Arizona and then there was everybody else. This year, Arizona’s decline on offense–albeit still being the best in the conference–has been just enough to make the small decline in pitching matter. This year Arizona has scored 67 more runs than they have given up. Last year, however, the Wildcats dwarfed this, scoring 187 more runs than what they allowed in return. Arizona certainly misses the bats of Refsnyder, Mejias, Mejias-Brean, and Rickard, as well as the arm of Friday night ace Kurty Heyer.
Nevertheless, Arizona has found a way to keep clawing away with a crucial 2-1 series win against Arizona State in Tempe last weekend. A series loss to the Devils up north would have rendered this weekend’s series meaningless.
Come down to Hi-Corbett this weekend and cheer Arizona on as they fight to play a little more baseball:
Friday at 6pm: Konner Wade (5-6, ERA 4.44) vs. Bob Wheatley (3-4, 2.64)
Saturday at 6pm: James Farris (4-5, 4.20) vs. Wyatt Strahan (4-3, 2.49)
Sunday at noon: Tyler Crawford (6-2, 4.18) vs. ????
USC players to watch:
Greg Zebrack (.339)
James Roberts (.320)
Kevin Swick (.314)