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Wildcat Starting Pitchers Average 8.48
Innings Per Start In 10 Playoff Games
Article printed in July 13 edition of Collegiate Baseball
 
By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
 
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 playoff time.
 
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 mentality.
 
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 Andy Lopez.
 
"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.

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