The weekend started off poorly for the Arizona Wildcats, dropping the Friday game in embarrassing fashion by getting shutout and a horrible pitching performance. But Saturday, things started to turn around with a 3-2 win, and Sunday topped it all off with the walk-off 6-5 series-clinching victory.
Unfortunately, that Sunday game saw both teams lose their starting centerfielders, and UCLA also lost All-American closer David Berg. Tough breaks on both sides no doubt, but gotta fight through it and stay hot.
Here are the best and worst from the first series win over UCLA since 2005.
1. Zach Gibbons
Gibbons started hitting leadoff on Saturday, and will hit leadoff on Three Up this week. He topped off a great weekend by scoring the game-winning run on Sunday, but his entire weekend was ridiculous.
6-for-11 overall, including a season-high four hits on Sunday. The sophomore also drove in three runs, scored twice, and walked once. Oh, and he threw out a UCLA baserunner at home in the first inning of Sunday's game. With Scott Kingery possibly out this weekend at USC, Gibbons inherits centerfield, and will be the key to this offense. It's no accident that Arizona won both games that Gibbons was at the top of the order.
2. Cody Hamlin
If Gibbons was responsible for Sunday, Hamlin was responsible for Saturday. A complete game, five-hitter for the JuCo transfer, allowing just one earned run (two total), walked two, and struck out four. Hamlin's the best pitcher on the staff right now, and has made it into at least the eighth inning in each of his last six starts. Only once on a weekend has Hamlin not thrown at least seven innings, and that was when he threw four innings against Seton Hall in a game that was suspended until the next day due to rain.
He won't be the first starter this weekend thanks to a short week, but look for him to start the Friday night game against ASU in two weeks.
3. Cody Moffett
If you're an Arizona pitcher, and your first name is Cody, chances are you're doing a good job this year. Moffett came in on Sunday in the fifth, and UCLA didn't score a run after that. 3.2 IP for the sophomore lefty, with just two hits given up during his stint, and three Ks. Also, just 41 pitches in that outing. Efficient and effective. Everything you want from a pitcher. His season ERA is down to 3.13 in 23 IP this year.
1. James Farris
Farris just isn't that Friday night guy right now. Plain and simple. Ten hits allowed in six innings of work on Friday, resulting in five of the eight UCLA runs. He still doesn't walk guys, but he's getting hit around pretty hard.
2. Trent Gilbert
Gilbert isn't struggling per-say, but his 3-for-12 showing this weekend with three Ks is enough to put him down here. Hitting in the two-hole, you've got to be on base more often than that.
3. Bobby Dalbec
Dalbec finds himself here based on his 4 Ks at the plate against UCLA, including three on Sunday. He also went 3-for-12, with no runs scored and no runs driven in. An off-week at the plate, but he still managed to get the final two outs and the win on the mound Sunday, including a huge K to end the Bruins threat in the top of the ninth and keep the game tied. So sorry Bobby, but it's all about the strikeouts at the plate for you being here.
Winning five of the last six, and two-straight conference series is big. It's happening maybe a little too late to make any noise, but it's encouraging. This team never came back to win games when tied or trailing after six. They were 1-19, but in the last four, their record is 3-1. Fight is all you want, and making three down a very competitive group is also encouraging. Short week with the USC series starting on Thursday.