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Arizona baseball: Three Up, Three Down: USC series

An unfortunate finish to the L.A. trip

Zach Gibbons continued his quest for a Pac-12 batting title this weekend at USC
Zach Gibbons continued his quest for a Pac-12 batting title this weekend at USC
Jason Bartel

After a ninth inning rally to win the series opener against the USC Trojans, things were looking good for the Arizona Wildcats' chances of pulling in another road series victory.

That wouldn't happen though, as USC was able to take the next two games by scores of 8-5 and 5-2. When Arizona's starting pitchers aren't stellar, the Wildcats are in trouble, and that showed up big time in those final two games.

Even with the losses, Arizona comes out of the weekend ranked 34th in the RPI, trailing only Washington (32nd) among Pac-12 teams. At 11-10, the Wildcats are still tied for the league lead in the wins column, but 1st through 10th are separated by just three games.

Some familiar faces definitely did not struggle this weekend. They'll need some help from the rest of the lineup as Arizona looks to put itself not only in the postseason, but a 2-seed or better in some NCAA Regional.

Three Up:

1. Zach Gibbons

I was expecting a pretty big year from Gibbons, but I definitely was not expecting THIS. The senior went 7-for-14, raising his season average to .391 (.418 in conference play). He also drove in three runs, and scored twice. His 31 RBI this year are second on the team to Ryan Aguilar. In a crazy year for the Pac-12, Gibbons may end up winning the batting title, and also move high up on Arizona's all-time hit list.

2. Bobby Dalbec

Dalbec is going to need to turn it on down the stretch if the Wildcats are to have any success. This may have been the start of that, as he went 5-for-14 at the plate, drove in a couple runs and scored a couple times. On the mound, the junior righty ended up throwing four scoreless innings of relief over two outings rather than getting the Sunday start. A solid weekend all around.

3. Cody Ramer

Just another senior at the top of the lineup that keeps getting the job done. He went 4-for-10 with five walks, bringing his conference on-base percentage up to .456. In the leadoff spot, he also drove in three runs, and wound up scoring four of the times he reached base. Again, these are the three guys you expect production from. Everyone else is going to have to pick them up.

Three Down:

1. Cameron Ming

Since Dalbec was used in relief in the opener, that moved Ming into the third starter role. With the series on the line, he gave up six hits and two walks while only recording five outs. Of his 56 pitches, only 30 were strikes. Not the way to go for the series win.

2. Matt Hartman

USC won the second game of the series thanks to the sixth inning, and in particular, one hit in the sixth inning. Hartman entered the game with two runners on base. Arizona was only down a run at the time. He hit the first guy he faced, and then gave up a grand slam to the second guy he faced. That's not gonna work.

3. Pac-12 Network scheduling

I was unable to watch the final two games of this series for different reasons. But Friday's reason was odd. The Pac-12 Networks put Arizona/Oregon softball on at 7, then jumping to Arizona/USC baseball at 9. But instead of going live to baseball, they just started it at the beginning on a two-hour delay. So when the game actually ended, according to my TV, Arizona was up 2-1. You can fix the scheduling conflict by just going live to the baseball game when softball is over. Not make us stay up til 12:30 to watch a game that we already know how it ends.

Arizona returns home this weekend to host the Oregon State Beavers. The three-game series will start on Friday night at 7 PM PT on Pac-12 Networks.