Wildcats Continue Play at Frisco Classic Saturday
TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Wildcats (6-2) take to the road for the first time in 2021 to compete in the Frisco College Baseball Classic. The Cats will compete against Oklahoma (4-3), Dallas Baptist (5-2), and Missouri (3-5) this Thursday through Sunday at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.
Arizona enters the tournament on a five-game win streak after winning their opening weekend finale and sweeping Southeastern Louisiana last weekend. A large part of the Wildcats 5-0 week, Branden Boissiere, was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Tuesday after hitting .650 over the last five games.
The Frisco Classic will serve as an early test for a talented Arizona team, as two of the Wildcats opponents this week have earned rankings from major national polls — Dallas Baptist is No. 30 with Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA while Oklahoma is No. 25 in the Baseball America poll.
A complete tournament preview is below.
|Date / Opponent
|Time (MST) / Result
|March 4 / Oklahoma
|March 5 / Oklahoma
|March 6 / Dallas Baptist
|March 7 / Missouri
- Arizona hits the road for the first time in 2021 to participate in the Frisco College Baseball Classic in Frisco, Texas. The Wildcats will face Oklahoma twice, Dallas Baptist once, and Missouri once this Thursday thru Sunday.
- The Wildcats are 13-3 all-time against Oklahoma, 4-0 against Missouri, and will face Dallas Baptist for the first time. Arizona last played Oklahoma in 1979 and Missouri in 2012.
- This is Arizona's first trip to the Frisco Classic since winning the first edition of the tournament in 2017. The Wildcats went 2-1 in the 2017 edition, beating Arkansas 3-0 and Oklahoma State 10-9 before dropping the finale to Nebraska 1-0.
- OF/1B Branden Boissiere was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Tuesday afternoon. In five games last week he hit .650 (13x20) with 10 runs, one double, one triple, two home runs, and eight RBI as the Wildcats went 5-0. It is the first Pac-12 weekly honor of his career.
- Arizona has scored at least one run in 117 straight games. They have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. Their 117-game scoring streak is the longest active scoring streak in the Pac-12.
- Arizona's 169 wins since 2016 are the third-most in the Pac-12 Conference, behind only Oregon State (194) and Stanford (172). Head coach Jay Johnson's .627 winning percentage at Arizona is the second-best mark by a Wildcats head coach in the modern era (1950-current).
SOME SERIES THEMES: Arizona rides a five-game win streak into the Frisco College Baseball Classic this Thursday thru Sunday in Frisco, Texas...The Wildcats will play Oklahoma twice, Dallas Baptist once, and Missouri once in the four-day, four-game tournament...This is Arizona's first trip to the Frisco Classic since sinning the first edition of the tournament in 2017...The Wildcats went 2-1 in the 2017 edition, beating Arkansas 3-0 and Oklahoma State 10-9 before dropping the finale to Nebraska 1-0...Two members of the 2017 Wildcat team that won the Frisco Classic are still members of the program...Current senior right-handed pitcher Preston Price was a freshman on Arizona's 2017 squad and current undergraduate manager Cameron Ming was a junior southpaw for the 2017 Wildcats...Arizona is 13-3 all-time against Oklahoma, 4-0 all-time against Missouri, and is facing Dallas Baptist for the first time in program history...The Wildcats last matched up against Oklahoma in 1979 and recently squared off against Missouri in 2012...Arizona remains ranked in multiple national polls, checking in at No. 17 by Perfect Game, No. 22 by the NCBWA, and No. 24 by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, and the USA Today Coaches Poll...Over the first two weeks of the season, the Wildcats have had eight players make their collegiate debuts and five more make their Arizona debuts...3B/1B Jacob Berry, C Daniel Susac, UTIL Jacob Shaver, OF Chase Davis, RHP TJ Nichols, RHP Trevor Long, RHP German Fajardo, and LHP Riley Cooper have all made their college debuts over the Wildcats first eight games...C Cameron LaLiberte, INF Nik McClaughry, OF Tanner O'Tremba, RHP Chase Silseth, and RHP Austin Smith all saw their first action in an Arizona uniform over the last two weeks...Oklahoma posted a 14-4 record in 2020 and are off to a 4-3 start this year under fifth-year head coach Skip Johnson...Dallas Baptist went 12-4 a year ago and started the 2021 campaign 5-2 under 14th-year head coach Dan Heefner...Missouri, led by fifth-year head coach Steve Bieser, went 11-5 in 2020 and enters this weekend's tournament at 3-5.
STREAKONOMICS: Kobe Kato and Ryan Holgate have both hit safely in each of the Wildcats eight games this year...Holgate is hitting .452 (14x31) with six runs and 11 RBI over that stretch, while Kato is hitting .357 (10x28) with six runs and two RBI...Holgate finished the 2020 season on a three-game hit streak, putting his season-spanning hit streak at 11 games...Kato, Holgate, Jacob Blas, and Branden Boissiere have all reached base safely in each of Arizona's eight games this year...Dating back to last year, Holgate and Donta' Williams have posted impressive on-base streaks...Holgate has reached base safely in 23 consecutive games, while Williams has pushed his streak out to 22 straight games.
BOISSIERE NAMED PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: After a breakout week in which he helped the Arizona Wildcats compile a five-game win streak, first baseman Branden Boissiere has been named the Pac-12 Player of the Week, the conference announced on Tuesday afternoon. Through five games last week, Boissiere combined to go 13-for-20 (.650 AVG) at the plate with 10 runs scored, one double, one triple, two home runs, eight RBI, more walks (3) than strikeouts (2), a 1.100 slugging percentage, and a .696 on-base percentage. His white-hot week at the plate led the Wildcats as they went 5-0, securing a series split with Ball State on Monday and sweeping Southeastern Louisiana over the weekend. This is the first Pac-12 weekly honor of Boissiere's career, and the first for Arizona since Austin Wells was tabbed with the award in the first week of the shortened 2020 campaign. After last week's string of dominant performances, Boissiere now leads the Pac-12 Conference with a .483 (14x29) batting average and a .583 on-base percentage, while his .793 slugging percentage ranks fourth and his 10 RBI are tied for sixth.
RUNNING WILD: Arizona has scored at least one run in 117 straight games — they have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. The Wildcats 117-game scoring streak is the longest active streak in the Pac-12 and 26 more games than the next closest team, UCLA (91 games). Over the course of their 117-game scoring stretch, Arizona has been held to three runs or fewer just 18 times. On the flip side, during the streak they have scored five or more runs 55 times. UCLA and USC — the teams with the second- and third-longest scoring streaks, respectively — were both last shut out by pitching staffs coaches by current Arizona associate head coach Nate Yeskie.
POLL POSITION: Arizona remains ranked in five of the six major national polls after two weeks of play. The Wildcats enter the Frisco Classic ranked No. 17 by Perfect Game, No. 22 by the NCBWA, and No. 24 by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, and the USA Today Coaches Poll. Arizona opened the season ranked by every major poll, and earned a preseason ranking from Collegiate Baseball for the fifth year in a row. The only Pac-12 Conference programs currently ranked in the D1Baseball poll are UCLA at No. 8 and Oregon State at No. 20.
WE GOT 5 ON IT: In game two of last weekend's series against Southeastern Louisiana the Arizona lineup accomplished a feat untouched by a Wildcat offense in over a decade and hit five home runs in a single game. It was the first five home run performance by an Arizona team since the Wildcats a 10-2 victory over USC on the road on March 21, 2008. Additionally, it was the first time the feat had ever been accomplished by the Wildcats at Hi Corbett Field, the ballpark they have called home since 2012. Freshmen Daniel Susac and Jacob Berry swatted their first career collegiate home runs in the onslaught. Branden Boissiere added two in his first career multi-HR game and Blake Paugh checked in with one. Arizona has only hit one other home run outside of that game this year, a three-run dinger from Ryan Holgate in game two against Ball State on opening weekend.
THE OUTSIDERS: Under head coach Jay Johnson, the Wildcats have dominated non-conference opponents to the tune of a sparkling 108-40 (.730) record, giving them the second-best non-conference winning percentage in the Pac-12 behind only Oregon State (.769). Their mark is even better at home, with a non-conference mark of 66-15 (.815) at Hi Corbett Field. Arizona's last non-conference series loss came at Houston in February 2019 — the Wildcats went 1-2 against the Cougars in Houston. In the weeks leading up to Arizona's first Pac-12 Conference series each year under coach Johnson, the Wildcats have combined to go 61-26 (.701).
NEW GUYS GOT GAME: Arizona Baseball checked in at No. 4 in D1Baseball's Newcomer Rankings released in January, giving the Wildcats the best incoming class of student-athletes on the West Coast. The prep portion of the class is highlighted by outfielder Chase Davis (No. 34), catcher Daniel Susac (No. 41), and right-handed pitcher/infielder T.J. Nichols (No. 89), three outstanding high school products who ranked among the top 100 players in last spring's Prep Baseball Report Top 500. They are joined by a trio of outstanding transfers in outfielder Tanner O'Tremba (Texas Tech), right-handed pitcher Austin Smith (Southwestern), and right-handed pitcher Chase Silseth (Southern Nevada). Four additional Arizona newcomers from the high school ranks landed among the PBR Top 500 last spring: Outfielder/right-handed pitcher Kyle Casper (No. 211), third baseman/first baseman Jacob Berry (No. 214), first baseman/left-handed pitcher TJ Curd (No. 272), and right-handed pitcher Ryan Kysar (No. 484).
ON THE OFFENSIVE: Through two weeks of play, the Wildcats offense is again showing signs of being one of the most explosive run-scoring threats in the nation. Arizona currently either leads or ranks among the top three teams in the Pac-12 in nearly every statistical category and is averaging 7.6 runs per game. There are numerous carryovers in the Wildcats lineup from the 2019 team that averaged 9.8 runs per game and five returning regular starters from the 2020 squad that all were hitting above .300 before the season was cut short. Branden Boissiere and Ryan Holgate currently lead the team with batting averages of .483 and .452 respectively — those marks rank 1st and T-3rd in the conference heading into this weekend.