Arizona Wildcats: Bottom third of UA order in early chaos

Lopez searching for a few good bats in his 7-9 spots
2013-03-22T00:00:00Z Arizona Wildcats: Bottom third of UA order in early chaosDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Andy Lopez has been a college coach for 30 years. He has won more than 1,100 games and has two national championships to his credit.

And he'll tell you his success in coaching can be broken down in three steps:

• Have a plan.

• Get your players ready.

• Play the right guys.

The third is proving to be a challenge for Lopez this year - especially at the bottom of his lineup.

It's been a revolving door in the No. 7 through No. 9 spots in the batting order.

Lopez has tried seven different players in the seven and nine spots and a whopping 10 different players in the eight hole.

After a conference-opening sweep by Oregon State last weekend at Hi Corbett Field, the Wildcats travel to Oregon this weekend for a three-game set, which starts tonight at 6.

In the OSU series, the bottom three hitters combined to go 5 for 29.

The search for consistency at the bottom of the order will continue in Eugene.

"We're going to be quicker on the trigger now," Lopez said. "It's not because of the past weekend, although that adds to it, but if you look at the numbers, we have to get something going."

Here's a closer breakdown of the bottom three spots:

No. 7 hitter

Primary players: 1B Ryan Koziol, (eight starts); 1B Sam Parris, (seven starts).

By the numbers: Koziol: .208 batting average, 48 at-bats, three extra-base hits, .292 slugging percentage. Parris: .192 batting average, 26 at-bats, two runs scored, five RBIs.

The lowdown: Koziol, a lefty, usually gets the start at first base against righties, and Parris, a righty, goes against lefties. Both have struggled in their first year of Division I baseball. Koziol is a freshman; Parris a junior-college transfer.

Lopez, on what he's seen from Koziol and Parris: "Not a lot, and that's too bad. I feel badly for them. I wish I could say they're going great, but they're a little tentative right now."

No. 8 hitter

Primary players: OF Joe Maggi, (six starts); DH Tyler Parmenter, (five starts); Koziol, (four starts).

By the numbers: Maggi: .193 batting average, 57 at-bats, one extra-base hit, eight RBIs. Parmenter: .222 batting average, 27 at-bats, one extra-base hit, five RBIs.

The lowdown: Maggi, the only player in the mix with a wealth of experience from last season, is off to a slow start. Lopez has tried him in the eighth and ninth spots in the lineup. Parmenter was a seldom-used reserve last season, who is trying to work his way into the rotation.

Lopez on Maggi: "I think in Joe Maggi, you have a guy that played a lot last year that has obviously struggled out of the gate. Hopefully he'll get himself going."

No. 9 hitter

Primary players: Maggi, (eight starts); SS Kevin Newman, (four starts); OF/DH Cody Ramer, (three starts); Parmenter, (three starts).

By the numbers: Newman: .379 batting average, 87 at-bats, 18 RBIs, five extra-base hits. Ramer: .286 batting average, 21 at-bats, one extra-base hit, five RBIs.

The lowdown: Newman's numbers include his move up to the No. 6 spot in the last couple weeks. Ramer has emerged as an option for Lopez after a strong Saturday against Oregon State in which he went 2 for 4 with an RBI triple. But he is nursing a sore ankle.

Ramer on the lineup's production: "Any lineup that has its one through nine hitters producing is going to be unstoppable. That's what we try to do is make sure everyone is rolling and going good."

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

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