Tucson Padres: The boys are back in town: Trio of ex-Cats visiting for first-place Oklahoma City

2013-08-13T00:00:00Z Tucson Padres: The boys are back in town: Trio of ex-Cats visiting for first-place Oklahoma CityZack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Tucson is where Eric Berger says he grew up, where he became a man.

He's not a Tucson native, but he did go to the UA and play for Andy Lopez.

Since Berger, a pitcher for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Redhawks, last played at the UA in 2007, he's added a handlebar mustache and nearly six years of minor league baseball.

But, recently, something keeps happening that his him feeling nostalgic, specifically about his freshman season with the Wildcats: outfielder Trevor Crowe, another former Wildcat and a teammate with the Redhawks.

Crowe is on a tear recently - he's batting .462 in his last 10 games. Similar to the way most of his junior season played out when he was the named the 2005 Pac-10 co-Player of the Year and an All-American for the Wildcats. Berger was a UA freshman back then.

"It brings back memories," Berger said before Monday's game against the Tucson Padres at Kino Stadium. "I remember my freshman year, we pretty much scored in the first inning every time because he got on base, walked, stole a couple bags and we had the lead in the first inning. I know what he's capable of, and he's just putting it together."

Added relief pitcher Jason Stoffel, another former Wildcat: "It's amazing. He's not missing the ball, if it's in the zone, he's smacking it pretty good. He's an exciting player to watch."

The trio of former Wildcats are all having solid seasons for the Redhawks, who currently sit in first place in the Pacific Coast League American Southern division.

"It's comforting to have other Wildcats around," Crowe said, "because we get to tell Andy Lopez stories and talk about the crazy things we went through playing college baseball and just have that perspective of where we came from and where we are now."

So, on that note, here's a look at where Crowe, Berger and Stoffel came from, and where they are now.

Trevor Crowe

Position: Outfielder

Age: 29

Then, at the UA: (2003-05) .361 average, 16 home runs, 122 RBIs, 170 runs and 66 stolen bases in 171 games.

Now, in 2013: For the Houston Astros: .200 average, 1 home run, 5 RBIs in 34 games. For the Redhawks: .331 average, 2 home runs, 17 RBIs, 32 runs, 14 steals in 43 games.

He said it: "I'm just coming back from an injury now, but I feel healthy and I've been swinging the bat really well. I feel comfortable. In this game, you can't take any days off, you gotta keep working every single day, and I'm starting to show some better results." - Crowe

Eric Berger

Position: Pitcher

Age: 27

Then, at the UA: (2005-08) 17-10 record, 4.17 ERA, 49 games, 23 games started, 178 strikeouts in 175 innings pitched.

Now, in 2013: 4-3 record, 3.88 ERA, 37 games, 2 games started, 1 save and 41 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings.

He said it: "It's gone well this year. I've struggled in Triple-A in the past, so this is a new league but I've been more consistent. I've tried to eliminate the 'big inning' which hurts a reliever's ERA and all that, so I'm just trying to get better." - Berger

Jason Stoffel

Position: Pitcher

Age: 24

Then, at the UA: (2007-09) 11-3 record, 3.29 ERA, 99 games, 1 game started, 29 saves and 189 strikeouts in 145 innings.

Now, in 2013: 6-1 record, 3.14 ERA, 36 games, 41 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings.

He said it: "It's been going all right. Had a rough outing last week - gave up five runs - but other than that it's been going pretty smoothly. I gotta keep working and hopefully get a chance at the majors." - Stoffel

Today

• Who: Oklahoma City at Tucson

• When: 7:05 p.m.

• Radio: 1290-AM

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