With the Arizona Spring Game in our rearview mirrors, the focus shifts north to Phoenix where the Arizona Wildcats take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in Phoenix Municipal Stadium for a three-game set.
Arizona's pitching rotation will look different after Saturday, but remains the same to start the series. Cody Hamlin (4-1, 4.26) gets the ball against ASU right-hander Seth Martinez (1-0, 2.52).
Time: 7:30 PM PT
TV: ESPNU (Roxy Bernstein and Mike Rooney)
Radio: 1290 AM in Tucson
Hamlin has been just okay in Pac-12 play, posting a 4.74 ERA in four starts after his complete game against Portland. He'll bring in a 2-1 record in conference play, with his lone loss coming last week to USC.
ASU starter Seth Martinez has made seven starts this season, but has only pitched 39 1/3 innings. His only win of the year came against Long Beach State, where he went five innings. His longest outing of the season was eight innings against Oregon State on March 13th.
Arizona will need to get to Martinez early and often, as the Sun Devils' strength is their bullpen. Eight of their nine best individual ERAs this season are from relievers. The Wildcats' nation-leading .327 team batting average will need to convert when scoring opportunities present themselves, something that's been a little bit of a struggle for them all year.
With a right-hander on the mound, expect to see Michael Hoard as the DH. Hoard has a .548 on-base percentage this year, which is the highest on the team. Also, after last Sunday's success, don't be surprised to see Cody Ramer out in left field.
Arizona was just one of a handful of teams to have multiple players named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List this week. That of course would be the middle infield combo of Scott Kingery and Kevin Newman. Kingery leads the Pac-12 with his .477 batting average. Newman is third in the conference at .403. Them combined with Bobby Dalbec will need to get the offensive damage done at the top of the lineup.
As long as Arizona gets a decent start from Cody Hamlin, and continues to hit the ball like they have been, there's no reason the Wildcats can't pull out the first game of this series.