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Arizona baseball

Wildcat baseball opens season Friday

Cats failed to make NCAAs last year

The Arizona baseball team opens its 2010 season Friday at Sancet Stadium against Utah Valley University as the Wildcats try to put behind them a disappointing 2009 season in which the Wildcats went 30-25, had problems off the field with academics and did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Andy Lopez, entering his ninth season at UA, said in a new release that last season was “very painful and humbling,’’ but that the Cats worked hard in the fall to get back on track.

“We established some things in the fall that needed to be established, particularly the intangibles,” Lopez said in a press release. “The intangibles we always work to establish in our program are that we compete every time we step onto a baseball field, that we do a very good job of executing and keep attention to detail, and that we represent ourselves in a respectable way off the field. Those were areas that we were not very good in last year, but I think we’ve got a group that did a tremendous job developing those characteristics this fall.”

The Cats lost ace Preston Guilmet and closer Jason Stoffel from the pitching staff. Kyle Simon (3-5, 6.03 ERA in 2009) and Daniel Workman (3-1, 3.86 ERA) will lead the rotation. Lopez hopes left-hander Bryce Bandilla (2-3, 6.20 ERA) can fill the closer role.

Lopez will look to infielder Bryce Ortega to fill one of the leadership roles. He hit .324 last season. The Wildcats lost their top three hitters in Dillon Baird, Hunter Pace and Dwight Childs.

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Utah Valley at Arizona

  • When: 6 p.m. Friday; 6 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday
  • Where: Sancet Stadium