Arizona Wildcats: Tyler Crawford settling into Sunday Starter role

Tyler Crawford has a been a big part of Arizona's recent success - Matt Ryerson-US PRESSWIRE

Tyler Crawford has stepped up for Andy Lopez and the Wildcats this year

In a season where the biggest question entering the year was "Who would be the Sunday starter?", Tyler Crawford has answered that with a resounding "ME".

So far this year, the sophomore left-hander has started eight games, registering a 4-1 record with a 3.70 ERA, the best ERA of any of the starters. He's also responsible for the only complete game of the year from the entire pitching staff.

That complete game came in the snow at Washington State. "It was an adjustment, that's for sure. It's fun to say you played in, it wasn't fun at the time."

Crawford continued about that game: "I felt pretty good though, I was just locating my fastball."

He is a three-pitch pitcher, throwing fastballs, change ups and curve balls. The first two innings were a struggle for the lefty though. The Cougars were taking advantage of his off-speed stuff.

"I went away from (the curve ball and change up), I probably threw 80% fastball from the third through the ninth which was not normal for me."

Last year, Tyler Crawford was a situational guy coming out of the bullpen, including a couple appearances in the postseason on the way to a national title. He wasn't even really on the radar as far as who would be the Sunday starter when PAC-12 play rolled around. Stephen Manthei, Nick Cunningham and Cody Moffett seemed to be the front-runners for the job.

But Crawford was ready to step up.

"I knew I was probably going to have to pick up some more innings than I had last year because we lost Kurt (Heyer) and I knew that was going to be big. I didn't necessarily know what the plan was for me but I was ready to do whatever the team needed."

Was there anything he needed to change to take over that weekend starter role though?

"I don't know if anything's changed really" said Crawford. "Still just trying to execute my pitches, very similar game plan as far as getting ahead of the hitters with located fastball, off-speed pitches. Nothing's really changed."

"Just trying to work ahead of hitters, pitch to contact and get deep into the game."

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