Arizona Looking For Spark Off The Bench

May 1, 2007

By John Ryan Casey Arizona Daily Wildcat

May 1, 2007

Tucson, AZ (CSTV U-WIRE) -- Trying to find some kind of spark in the midst of a three-game skid, Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez slipped sophomore Hunter Pace into the lineup in left field Saturday at then-No. 25 UCLA.

'(Pace) brings some energy, he plays hard and he has some life to him,' Lopez said of Pace, who was used primarily as a pinch-runner before the weekend.

'I think some of our guys offensively look very complacent,' he added. 'We have a poor two-strike approach right now, and guys look like they're just living off a 16-game winning streak offensively.'

Pace, who replaced a struggling Diallo Fon, wasn't the only change in the lineup over the weekend, as freshman Robert Abel was displaced at shortstop for the first time in 41 games. Junior Colt Sedbrook started in place of Abel on Saturday, then again on Sunday.

More adjustments may soon be on the horizon.

'Offensively, Hunter Pace is playing, and we may make a couple of other changes, too, because some people look real complacent, and like I said, look like they're living off that 16-game winning streak,' Lopez said. 'We need to get that thing ironed out quickly.'

The Wildcats (32-11, 10-5 Pacific 10 Conference) dropped that Saturday game to the Bruins - increasing their losing streak to four games - before snapping the streak with a 5-3 win Sunday.

Fon had started 21 straight games, but had just one hit in his past 16 at bats and four in his past 29. In that span, his average has dropped from .349 to .293.

Abel, meanwhile, is now 2-for-his-last-26.

Arizona went from No. 14 to No. 15 in Baseball America's poll; No. 12 to No. 18 in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper edition; No. 13 to No. 15 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll; and from No. 18 to No. 20 in Rivals.com's poll.

UCLA, meanwhile, hardly moved in the polls because of a mid-week loss to UC-Riverside. The Bruins came in highest at No. 11 in Collegiate Baseball and were ranked in the 20s in every other poll.

(C) 2007 Arizona Daily Wildcat via CSTV U-WIRE

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