After a disappointing 2013 season, the Arizona Wildcats returned to Hi Corbett on Friday to kickstart the 2014 campaign with an intrasquad scrimmage.
"We all had a nice Christmas break," said pitcher Mathew Troupe. "To be out here and get these competitive juices flowing, and being able to have (Andy) Lopez back out here is huge for the entire team and the whole morale."
In the end, the red team (led by the projected starting outfield) and the blue team (the projected starting infield) finished in a 4-4 tie.
James Farris and Tyler Crawford started for their respective teams, and each threw two innings. Crawford won the battle on Friday as Farris gave up a couple of hard shots and two runs, while Crawford didn't give up any runs to the blue team.
Tyler Parmenter, Nathan Bannister, Cody Moffett, and Xavier Borde also saw time on the mound, with Tyger Talley closing out the game by pitching the ninth inning for both teams.
Bannister and Parmenter were probably the two pitchers that stood out outside of Talley. Bannister had a great summer last year as well, so maybe good things are on the horizon for him. Borde picked off two baserunners in one inning, which I don't know if that says more about Borde or where the fundamentals on the basepaths are right now.
Troupe did not take the mound, as Friday was his day off from throwing. But he is hoping he gets his chance at being the third weekend starter for Arizona.
"I think it's going to be me, Troupe and Crawford who are going to be starters," said Farris.
"I've had the mindset to start, and the way we look at it is if I'm able to start then that's great," Troupe added. "Then if not I go right back to relieving and possibly closing."
"I guess I'm more comfortable with closing since I've done it for the last three years. Mentally though I've been preparing myself to start."
"I can't really blow my load in one inning. It's not twelve pitches anymore, take my time, and take a little off my fastball here and there to go six, seven innings."
The scrimmage was also the first time to see standout freshmen Bobby Dalbec and Michael Hoard take the field in Arizona shirts, and they were both impressive at the plate. Dalbec also made a couple of nice plays in the field at third base, but the coaches did get on him late in the game about a bad throw in between innings.
"I'm just looking forward to getting out there," said Hoard.
Hoard went to Salpointe, and committed before the 2012 National Championship, so he's been around the program for a while now.
"I already felt like I was part of the team and part of the championship."
Andy Lopez was not at the beginning of practice due to a delayed doctor's appointment, but did stroll in about halfway through the scrimmage.
One other interesting note from the scrimmage was that Riley Moore did not catch. Moore underwent knee surgery in the offseason, so there is definitely the possibility of Moore DHing with David Real doing a lot of the catching in 2014.
"(Riley)'s caught me and it seemed fine," said James Farris. "It seemed normal and seemed totally healthy to me."
Three weeks until we find out for real when Arizona opens the season at home against Kent State.