Considering the Arizona Wildcats have played 13 total games in the first 16 days of the season, coming out of the Wildcat Invitational with a 3-1 record is certainly something to be proud of. The Cats dropped the first game of the weekend to Northwestern State by a score of 6-4, but the team responded by winning the final three games, taking down Cal State Bakersfield 4-1, beating Saint Mary's 11-5, then coming back with another 4-1 win, getting revenge on Northwestern State.
Here's who and what stood out, and the guys that could certainly use a week of practice before taking the field again on Friday:
1. Nathan Bannister
This has to include Sunday night's game as well as Wednesday's performance against Cal State Fullerton. In those two games, Bannister threw 13 1/3 innings (160 pitches), allowing just five hits, no walks, and no runs. That of course, gave him a 2-0 record on the week, and should be Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week for his efforts. Those numbers are incredible, and if Arizona is able to get that from their Sunday starter in conference play, that could bode well, especially in those rubber-match third games.
2. JC Cloney
The other 4-1 win was anchored by the junior college transfer, who went eight innings. Cloney allowed just one earned run and seven hits, and with the exception of the Tulane game last Friday, he has been exactly what this team needs at the front-end of the rotation. He is a tone-setter on the mound for the rest of the team.
3. Plate patience
As a team, Arizona drew at least five walks in each of the games, totaling 29 free passes in the four games. That's a lot of extra baserunners, and a lot of opportunities for this team to be aggressive, which certainly paid off in the two Sunday games. You're not gonna lose a lot of games when you're drawing that many walks. Justin Behnke had six by himself on Sunday. With his speed, as Cody Ramer put it, that's essentially giving Arizona a double without having to work for it.
1. Alfonso Rivas
A week removed from being named Pac-12 Player of the Week, the star freshman had an off week at the dish, going 2-for-13 total. One of those two hits did drive in a couple runs against Saint Mary's, so it wasn't all bad. But it's certainly been better.
2. Cody Moffett
The lefty made a rare start (for him), and it did not go well. Moffett was only able to record two outs while giving up three hits and giving a free pass via a walk. He was hit hard too, as one of those three bounced off the batter'e eye in center field. I don't imagine him being put in that position again anytime soon, as he's always been a fairly effective relief pitcher for this team. Before Sunday, he had thrown 2 1/3 innings of one-hit baseball in three relief appearances.
3. Jared Oliva
Arizona's center fielder hasn't gotten off to the best of starts, and his 2-for-11 weekend at the plate didn't exactly help his cause any. He's now hitting just .179 on the season, and his ten strikeouts are the second-most on the team. His defense has been stellar, as has the entire outfield really, but his lack of production at the plate is a bit concerning right now.
The Wildcats now have a much-needed week of strictly practice before welcoming Sacramento State to town for a three-game series starting Friday night at 6 PM.