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- Wildcat Starting Pitchers Average 8.48
- Innings Per Start In 10 Playoff Games
- Article printed in July 13 edition of
OMAHA, Neb. — University of
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez turned back the clock when it came to his
pitching staff in 2012.
Over 50 years ago, starters
in pro and college baseball were expected to finish games or come close.
But that philosophy changed
over the years. To prevent dead arms late in the season, virtually every
program has a starter go six or seven innings followed by a setup man and
then a closer.
Then more pitchers are ready
for the stretch run, and starters still have gas in the tank to perform at
Lopez, named Collegiate
Baseball’s National Coach of The Year, had a big problem early in the
year when his relief pitchers were inconsistent.
It caused him to ask his
three main starters of RHP Kurt Heyer, RHP Konner Wade and RHP James Farris
to go as far as they could in games and hopefully finish them.
Heyer threw 153 innings,
Wade 136 1/3 and Farris 106 2/3.
Of the 94 total innings
Arizona’s pitchers threw in 10 NCAA tournament games, the trio of starters
accounted for 85 innings. In 48 innings during the College World Series over
five games, the trio accounted for 40 2/3 innings.
Each of these pitchers has
their own unique story on how they accomplished the unthinkable during the
2012 season and excelled late in the season without dead arms.
Undoubtedly the most amazing
performance by an Arizona starter took place during the Super Regional
opener against St. John’s.
Heyer, the ace of the staff
and a second team All-American, threw 129 pitches over 9 1/3 innings and
gave up 17 hits but only six runs as Arizona came back from a 5-run deficit
and won 7-6 in 10 innings.
Talk about your bulldog
Heyer gave up five runs in
the fourth inning and nothing else until the top of the 10th when
he allowed a run as St. John’s took a 6-5 lead. But Arizona rallied in the
bottom of the 10th for two runs as the Wildcats won, 7-6. Arizona
was out hit 18-11 in the game but still found a way to win.
Heyer, who worked 7 2/3
innings and gave up one earned run on six hits against Florida St in the
Wildcats’ opener during the College World Series, pitched into the eighth
inning for the 12th straight game.
In Wildcats’ third game of
the CWS, Heyer picked up his 13th win of the year during a 10-3
win over Florida St. Heyer led the nation with 153 innings pitched and gave
up 151 hits. But he had a superb 2.24 ERA and struck out 113 batters with
only 28 walks.
"He’ll give up his share of
hits because he’s always around the plate so much," said Arizona Head Coach
"He’s a strike thrower. So
if you throw the barrel of the bat into the zone, you have a chance of
making contact and getting a hit. But he really understands the plan we’re
trying to apply. And more than understanding it, he’s able to apply it.
"Kurt is extremely tough to
score on when batters get on base. A long time ago I read an article that
said Greg Maddux threw about 70 percent of his pitches in a bullpen from the
stretch position. So we incorporate that approach with our pitchers."
The complete story of how
Arizona’s starting pitchers went so far during games late in the year is in
the July 13, 2012 edition of Collegiate Baseball.
- By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
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