View Full Version : UA knows how good next foe Weaver is

06-11-2004, 06:09 PM
The Anaheim Angels' pick shut out Arizona March 18, but Cats think they have him figured out.

Tucson Citizen

The University of Arizona baseball team has seen firsthand how big an obstacle it faces in Long Beach State's Jered Weaver.
The Wildcats were shut out 4-0 March 18 by Weaver, the 12th overall pick by the Anaheim Angels in the amateur draft Monday.

They get another chance tonight at 7 (ESPN2) at Blair Field in Long Beach in the first game of a best-of-three super-regional series. UA is trying to reach the College World Series for the first time since 1986.

"The most important thing against Weaver is to keep a short stroke," UA shortstop Jason Donald said. "He has good velocity and a good slider. We have to make sure we make hard contact. The later we get into the game with him, and if he is rolling, it is going to get tougher for us. What we need to do is get a jump on him early."

The San Diego Padres were expected to pounce on Weaver as the first pick in the draft, but he reportedly dropped to Anaheim because he wants a lot of money.

Weaver, the younger brother of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver, is 15-1 with a 1.65 ERA this season. He is 37-9 in his three-year career at Long Beach State, with a 2.46 ERA and 419 strikeouts in 362 innings.

"He is the real deal," UA coach Andy Lopez said. "He is as good as anybody I have seen in the last 10 years."

When Weaver, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound right-hander, faced the Wildcats earlier this season, he had one of his least imposing outings. He struck out only three but still shut down the Wildcats for seven innings.

Opponents are hitting only .161 against him. Weaver has 201 strikeouts with only 19 walks in 136.1 innings pitched.

"I don't know if he had an off game then. He was averaging, what, 15 strikeouts a game. We had three," UA second baseman John Hardy said. "We hit some balls, but they died in their park.

"We need to go in there with a short stroke and try to get base hits."

If the Wildcats (33-24-1) learned anything about Weaver back then, it was to be aggressive and don't let him get ahead in the count. His 19 walks are an indication he is not far from the plate.

"He is going to be very aggressive, so we have to be aggressive," UA catcher Nick Hundley said. "We have a lot of confidence in our ability, though. He is a guy you can't sit back on, because he throws strikes."

UA's offense, slumping when the two teams last met, has improved. The Wildcats hit well in NCAA subregional wins over California-Irvine, Kent State and Notre Dame.

The pressure might be on Weaver, UA players said.

"The expectations are for him to shut us out," catcher Richard Mercado said. "He is expected to throw a nine-inning shutout every game. All we need to do is get a couple of runs."

It will be up to UA starter Koley Kolberg to limit the 49ers (38-19) so the Wildcats can be within reach late in the game. Kolberg is 9-6, including a loss to Long Beach State and Weaver.

"I think going against him will make me play at a higher level," said Kolberg, a seventh-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks. "I have a lot of faith in our offense."

Even if Weaver gets the better of Arizona today, two games would remain to decide who earns a trip to Omaha and the College World Series.


Arizona (33-24-1) at Long Beach St. (39-19)

Today: 7 p.m. (TV: ESPN2)

Tomorrow: 4 p.m. (TV: ESPN2)

Sunday (if necessary):3 or 6 p.m.

Radio: KNST-AM (790)