Baseball Moves on to NCAAs
May 27, 2008
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Arizona baseball team has earned a second consecutive NCAA regional appearance as an at-large team. The Wildcats, who finished the regular season 38-17 overall and 12-12 in the Pac-10 Conference, are the site's top seed and will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face No. 4 seed Eastern Michigan in the opening round of the postseason. Regional site host Michigan is the No. 2 seed and No. 3 Kentucky rounds out the four-team sub-field.
'After not getting selected as one of the 16 regional host sites it was nice to be recognized a No. 1 seed,' Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. 'We're looking forward to getting out to Ann Arbor, but we definitely have a stiff test in front of us with the three other schools in the regional.'
Arizona is one of five Pac-10 teams selected, along with ASU, Stanford, UCLA and California.
The Wildcats have Monday off and there will be no media availability. Arizona returns to the practice field on Tuesday at 11 a.m.
A Quick Look at Arizona
The Wildcats wrapped up the 2008 regular season with a 38-17 overall record and a 12-12 Pac-10 mark ... UA has an experienced ball club that regularly starts two seniors (1B C.J. Ziegler and 2B Colt Sedbrook), three juniors (3B Brad Glenn, CF T.J. Steele, RF Jon Gaston), two sophomores (C Dwight Childs and LF Diallo Fon) and one true freshman (SS Bryce Ortega) in the field. The starting pitching has mainly consisted of a senior (LHP David Coulon), a redshirt junior (LHP Eric Berger) and a true junior (RHP Preston Guilmet), while the primary arms out of the bullpen are four juniors (RHP Ryan Perry, LHP Daniel Schlereth, RHP Mike Colla and RHP Cory Burns) and one sophomore (RHP Jason Stoffel).
Arizona's Regional History
The 2008 regional invitation marks Arizona's second straight postseason appearance ... The Wildcats were sent to Wichita State last year and went 2-2 after playing in the regional title game ... In seven seasons under head coach Andy Lopez the Wildcats have participated in five regionals (2003-05, 2007-08) ... The 2008 postseason marks the 34th time UA has advanced to play past the regular season ... The 34 postseason invitations are the second-most in the Pac-10 Conference, trailing only 12-time national champion USC's 40 ... The Wildcats are 55-39 (.585) in regional play since 1950 and have taken home 15 regional championships in school history, with the most recent coming in 2004 at the South Bend (Ind.) Regional.
The Arizona baseball program has a long and storied history in the NCAA postseason. Including this year, the Wildcats have made 34 postseason appearances, won 15 regional titles, one super regional title, made 15 appearances in the College World Series, won three national titles (1976, 1980, 1986) and finished runner-up at the CWS three other times.
The Wildcats' roster is dotted with 10 position players and eight pitchers that have appeared in the postseason prior to this year. Senior left-hander David Coulon in the most experienced member of the team, having appeared in three regionals (2005, 2007-08) during his career.
Lopez in the Postseason
Including this season, Arizona head coach Andy Lopez has guided 13 teams to the NCAA postseason tournament in 20 years on the Division I level, including five at Arizona, and four teams to Omaha and the College World Series. He also led Cal State Dominguez Hills to two Division II playoff berths, including a trip to the D-II World Series in 1987.
Lopez is one of just nine active coaches on the Division I level with a national title to his credit (Pepperdine, 1992) and one only three coaches in the history of college baseball to lead three different schools (Arizona, Florida, Pepperdine) to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. He has a 35-27 postseason record on the Division I level and a 40-32 career mark on both the D-I and D-II levels.
Regional Road Warriors
2008 will mark the 21st time Arizona has left Tucson for the regional round of the NCAA postseason. Of the 20 previous road trips, the Wildcats have returned with the regional title seven times ... Two of Arizona's three national championship runs in baseball have started on the road, with the 1976 team (at Edinburg, Texas) and the 1986 club (at Austin, Texas) both leaving the Old Pueblo en route to the CWS title. Only UA's 1980 national championship team started its postseason trip to Omaha in Tucson.
The Wildcats are batting .306 as a team and averaging 7.1 runs, 10.6 hits and 6.5 RBI per game this season ... Arizona's 72 home runs this season are the most for any UA club since 2000 (78) and are just two shy of tying for fifth all-time in a single season at Arizona (74 HRs in 1986) ... Led by true frosh Bryce Ortega's team-best .345 batting average, seven different Arizona regulars are hitting over .300 for the year ... Senior C.J. Ziegler has hit a team-high 19 home runs this season, fifth-best for a single season in school history ... Juniors Brad Glenn (14), Jon Gaston (11) and T.J. Steele (10) have all hit 10 or more homers this season as well to give UA the first foursome with double-digit jacks in the same season since 1998 ... Arizona is 78 for 102 in stolen base tries this season.
The Arizona pitching staff is 38-17 with 12 saves ... The Wildcats have a Pac-10-best 3.91 team ERA in 490 innings pitched ... Opponents are batting just .257 against the Wildcats this season ... The opposition is averaging only 4.7 runs, 8.8 hits and 4.2 RBI per game this season ... With 514 strikeouts against 179 walks, UA has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.9-to-1 ... The Wildcats' 514 Ks this year are fifth all-time for a single season in school history.