Arizona Baseball: Cats hope sweep carries them to NCAAs

2013-05-27T00:00:00Z Arizona Baseball: Cats hope sweep carries them to NCAAsDaniel Berk Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk. Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

When Andy Lopez walked into the clubhouse to meet with his team after Sunday's 7-1 win over USC at Hi Corbett Field, he gave them a time and a location for practice Tuesday night.

Whether that practice actually happens directly depends on what transpires this morning.

The Wildcats, with their 34-21 record and 15-15 mark in the Pac-12, will wait to see if they've done enough to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament. The selection show is at 9 a.m., on ESPNU.

As he always does, Lopez will get his car washed rather than watch the show.

"I always am optimistic," Lopez said. "I've been on both ends of it. Right now, in the present tense, as I've told the club, it's not the best 64 teams. Some teams get in because of this; some get in because of that.

"We've had five out of six good moments the last two weekends, and we'll see if it's good enough."

Entering the final two weekends of the regular season, Lopez thought five out of six would do the trick and get his team into the postseason. The Wildcats took two of three at Arizona State last weekend and swept the Trojans this weekend at Hi Corbett.

Now that the defending College World Series champions have done what their coach asked, it doesn't seem that cut and dried. A few teams not expected to win their conference tournaments, namely San Diego State and East Tennessee State, have stolen at-large bids. Stanford's unexpected series win over UCLA could also have hurt the Wildcats' chances.

The bottom line: This morning will be filled with anxious moments for the UA.

"It's a weird time because there's a lot of uncertainty," third baseman Brandon Dixon said. "I think we showed that we're good enough to be in. If we get in, I think we'll get hot and make a run at it. If not, I'm sure they will turn it around next year and get in."

Dixon went 2 for 5 Sunday and locked up the Pac-12 batting title, finishing the season with a .369 average. It's the second straight year a UA player has won the crown. Johnny Field topped the league last year.

Dixon, a junior from Murrieta, Calif., batted just .245 in 155 at-bats last season.

"You really learn to appreciate the success you get," said Dixon, who had offseason Lasik surgery, which Lopez thinks is the main reason behind the bounce-back season.

"Last year was as difficult as any year as far as an individual aspect goes," Dixon said. "When you get a year like this and your hard work pays off, it's great to see things pan out personally."

Dixon got Arizona on the board in the first inning Sunday when he scored on an infield single by freshman Zach Gibbons. That tied the game at one after USC (20-36, 10-20) plated a run in the top half against Wildcats starter Tyler Crawford.

The UA added two runs in the second on a two-run, two-out single from Trent Gilbert, and Crawford went on to put up eight straight scoreless frames after the run in the first.

The sophomore from Glendale hurled his second complete game of the season, giving up eight hits, one run and two walks. He struck out three and improved to 7-2 on the season.

Arizona starters combined to throw 27 1/3 innings in the weekend sweep, and the bullpen threw just one pitch over the three games. Crawford and junior James Farris both tossed complete games and Konner Wade went 9 1/3 in a 10-inning win Friday night.

Pitching has been one of the Wildcats' main problems this season, with Wade and Farris combining for just a 10-11 record, but it was more than good enough this weekend against the Trojans.

"We threw a lot of strikes," Lopez said. "For the last two weekends, you've seen solid pitching, timely hitting and very clean defense. But the key is the first part - solid pitching."

But was it too little, too late? The Wildcats will find out this morning.

"Last year, the only thing we were wondering about was if we were going to host or not," Crawford said. "It's out of our control at this point. We've done all we can do. It's just a waiting game now."

Today

• What: NCAA Selection Show

• When: 9 a.m. • TV: ESPNU

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